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Metal Casting Technologies : March 2008
www.metals.rala.com.au 6 LETTERS The Editor. RE: THE FOUNDRY ENVIRONMENT. CHINA - INDIA - THAILAND I commend M T C for the articles in December 2007 issue of MTC on pollution in foundries in China, India and Thailand. With respect to the Authors I feel some constructive comments of discussion could be of interest. I have had a few years involvement in the countries discussed and am also of the vintage able to vividly remember when just about all the iron foundries in Australia used Cupolas, which are now almost, but not entirely, replaced with electric induction melting PATTERNMAKING POLLUTION - Not an issue Professor, Dr. Maity commenting on Indian foundries lists that pollution in pattern shops as harmless wood dust, except for being a fire hazard in certain concentrations. In effect wood dust from some timbers, which have been traditionally used for patterns, such as Cedar and mahogany can be seriously harmful causing lung disease from long exposure. Also model board used extensively for models and master patterns creates dust rated as castenogenic, because it is compressed UF resin and wood dust. Work cover regulations in Australia is particularly strict on pollution and requires all machinery to have guards and dust extraction ducted to a baghoise. Dust and fume pollution in Australian pattern shops is virtually negligible. Some pattern shops have totally eliminated the use of wood by using computer generated 3D modeling and direct machining of metal patterns from aluminium block, or plastic tooling board with computerized 4 axis CNC machine centers. Direct prototype modeling is now also well established and expanding its applications, which totally eliminates traditional patternmaking altogether. FOUNDRY GONE - POLUTION GONE Interestingly Dr. Maity also highlighted a case where the Supreme Court of India directed 53 iron foundries to close down because of degradation of the TAJ MAHAL due to contaminants from airborne emissions from nearby CUPOLAS. What were the social and economic consequences of closing 53 foundries? Was it not at all possible to introduce pollution control measures at these foundries? It is interesting that the Supreme Court of India ruled on this issue. Is there no Government legislation in place in India, such as the Australian National Pollution Authority, which strictly enforces pollution for Australian manufacturing industry including foundries? In Australia the National legislation is administered through each State of Australia by the respective state EPA's (Environmental Planning Authorities) and then to various state divisions (Councils). The regulations are clearly defined and strictly enforced, usually at significant cost to the individual companies. PREVENTION IS BETER THAN CURE - Dr. Maity Of course it is !! - Prevention IS the cure. Unless Government legislates and enforces regulations, industry will not volunteer to spend valuable capital on pollution control unless it contributes to profit or substantially reduces costs. Australia, NZ, USA, Canada, Britain and Europe have all gone down this track and now have specific legislation controlling pollution in and from foundries. Compulsory compliance has imposed a substantial cost penalty to manufacturing, but the alternative is going to jail. THAILAND - Dr. John Pearce This follow up article from John's previous well documented account on Thai foundries clearly indicates that nothing much has changed, and more Government intervention, education and lots and lots of Baht will be needed to clean up the mess. This report, giving a good account of the Thai foundry pollution problem, curiously shows that even with; "Pollution Control Department Ministry of National Resources", and the "Thailand State of Pollution Report" and the "Environmental Impact Assessment" and the "Environmental Evaluation Bureau" and the "Expert Review Committee" and the "Department of Industrial Works" and the "Environmental Management Systems" and the "Thailand Environmental Institute" and the "Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment" and the "Environmental Engineering Association of Thailand", the environmental pollution situation is almost out of control, and even the Thai Ministry of Industry has concerns Thailand will not be able to meet KYOTO 2012 expectations. Surprisingly enough business growth is expected to increase probably like China at about 15%. CHINA - INDIA - THAILAND the future WHAT NOW?? The reports from Paula Wallace on CHINA, Dr.Maity on INDIA and Dr. John Pearce on Thailand clearly shows serious internal communication problems in these countries with an undesirable willingness or ability of individual companies and governments to spend money on environmental improvements for their foundry industry. Is it interesting to note that joint venture projects with cashed up overseas partners are better equipped and cleaner? WELL DONE The CHINA, INDIAN and THAI organizations are to be commended for such HONEST and informative overviews which we should be sure will eventually develop to CLEANER although more EXPENSIVE production. RESPONSE INVITATION I would like to pose a question to the authors; To what degree do you think there is any incentive for private enterprise foundry operators to affect environmental improvements and pollution control without any government legislation force? Nev Murray Foundry Consultant Environment and Production Read Johns Response on page 8 One of our readers has offered some serious comments on the environmental conditions in Asia Pacific foundries, published in the December 2007 edition of Metals. We encourage other's to comment on this extremely active issue as it is the major concern for all foundries in the growing consciousness of global warming. (Ed)