yellow   Indian Foundries Focus On Defence, Infra and Construction
    Faced with demand crisis from the automobiles segment, India's foundry industry has increasingly started focusing on other areas like aerospace, defence, infrastructure and construction as reported by Business line. The automobile segment, which includes tractor makers and other auto companies, has the largest share of around 32% in the India's total castings consumption of about 8 million tonnes. Ms Reena Bhagwati, President, The Institute of Indian Foundrymen said, “The foundry industry has been facing demand crisis consequent to reduced production figures of nearly 30% to 40% in the automotive and light commercial vehicle segment.” Ms Bhagwati said, “So, we are shifting focus to sectors like defence, aerospace, construction and infrastructure.”
yellow AFS, Metalcasting to Play Key Roles : President Obama
    The American Foundry Society (AFS) has significant roles in two major manufacturing initiatives announced recently by President Obama. The new programs, led by the U.S. Department of Defense, are backed by more than $280 million of public and private funds and aim to propel American manufacturing forward by bringing together product developers, researchers, manufacturers, universities and training institutions into regional hubs. The hubs will connect private businesses with research institutions to advance high tech manufacturing.
“The impact of these large scale Manufacturing Initiatives on metalcasting will be unprecedented for the industry,” said AFS Vice President Technical Services Tom Prucha. “We will have an immense opportunity to secure the future of the metalcasting industry for generations, and AFS is proud to be part of that milestone.”
One of the two manufacturing hubs Obama announced recently is the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation (LM3) project based in Canton Township, Mich. It will focus on the manufacture of aluminum, titanium and high-strength steel, while working with universities and labs on research and development. AFS is part of a consortium of 34 companies, nine universities and 17 other groups, including Boeing, General Electric and The Ohio State University, who are pledged to work together to pioneer lightweight, high performing metals and alloys while developing the skills and training needed for production.
The Michigan Hub is backed by $140 million of federal and private funds and is expected to create in excess of 10,000 new jobs in metals manufacturing, according to the University of Michigan.
The second hub announced, Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovations Institute, is led by UI Labs, in Chicago. The Digital Lab will bring together manufacturing and software companies, from Boeing to GE, to develop compatible software and hardware for supply chains to reduce manufacturing costs. AFS will work with the other partners at the new Chicago Digital Lab to solve century old manufacturing dilemmas while utilizing the most state of the art technology available with supercomputers and big data.
“AFS is thrilled with its role in the President's new manufacturing initiatives,” said AFS CEO Jerry Call. “By convening titans of industry and academia in each of these hubs, we can keep metalcasting in the conversation about the future of our country.”
yellow   Global Foundries, Fraunhofer IIS to Collaborate on Europe's MPW Wafer Shuttle Program
    Global FoundrieS and Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS said recently that both of the two companies will extend their long-term collaboration, focusing on 40nm and 28m processes. GLOBAL FOUNDRIES will also join the European Multi Product Wafer (MPW) Program EURO PRACTICE.
Throu FOUNDRIES will offer its leading-edge foundry capabilities to Fraunhofer IIS as an aggregator, and Fraunhofer will enable the academic network in Europe to get access to GLOBAL FOUNDRIES' process technologies and Process Design Kits (PDK) via EURO PRACTICE.
“As one of the largest foundries worldwide and the largest wafer manufacturer in Europe we are proud to enter this prestigious program,” said Karl Lange, GLOBAL FOUNDRIES Vice President of Sales for Europe. “With Fraunhofer as channel partner, combined with our broad technology portfolio and process know-how, we will add significant value to EURO PRACTICE.”
“The offer of GLOBALFOUNDRIES technologies down to 28nm to Europe's universities and research institutes is an important step for EUROPRACTICE and will stimulate education and research in IC design,” said Josef Sauerer, Head of the Integrated Circuits and Systems Department at Fraunhofer IIS. “Also, our contract research with industries will benefit from GLOBALFOUNDRIES' advanced technology portfolio”
Fraunhofer IIS and GLOBAL FOUNDRIES started their collaboration in 2004 with the successful launch of 180nm and later 55nm programs. The extended collaboration will introduce technology nodes down to 28nm in the European Wafer Shuttle Program, helping European academia and research institutes to get access and support for CAD tools and ASIC prototyping at reduced costs.
yellow   Shelco Foundries to Expand
    Engine component maker Gnutti Carlo USA has announced plans to expand Shelco Foundries, Jacksonville, Ala., and double its workforce to approximately 200 people by the end of next year. A new 65,000-sq.-ft. machine shop will be built onsite at the iron casting plant.
The company purchased the metalcaster in 2012 and has invested more than one quarter million dollars in equipment and facility improvements since then. The company will close its machine shop in New Jersey at the end of this year in a move to centralize its operations in Alabama.
yellow   Re-desing & Relaunch of J. D. Neuhaus Heavy Duty Engineering Profi Hoists
    The recently re-designed J D Neuhaus Profi 100 TI hoist, incorporating savings in energy requirements as well as reductions in both weight and size.
As a completion of the re-design project for their Profi range of air operated hoists, the J D Neuhaus companies have now launched their new, innovative Profi 75 TI and Profi 100 TI hoists, offering SWL capacities of 75 and 100 tonnes respectively. Existing products in the Profi range cover lift capacities from 250kg up to a full 60 tonnes ideally suited to engineering environments.
The latest introductions, which incorporate savings in energy requirements as well as reductions in both weight and overall size dimensions, cover the demanding requirements of heavy engineering working conditions. The key component of these hoists is a new air motor unit, based on the well-proven J D Neuhaus motor-brake concept and incorporating a patented integrated brake system, with a stepped brake piston and a reliable self-lubricating rotor. In the standard configuration of a 6 bar air pressure supply, the motor provides a 9kW power output, adequate for the operation of either hoist while still providing significant energy reductions.
At full nominal lift capacities (75 or 100 tonnes); the compressed air consumed is 7.6m3/min which represents in excess of 30% saving over the hoists being replaced. On lowering of full loads, the air consumed is 6m3/min, which represents an impressive full 50% saving over the power/energy consumption of the hoists being replaced. The new hoists are designed with machinery group classification according to ISO 4301/FEM 9.5 II is M3/1Bm, which is good for 400 hours full load operation.
Although the overall air consumption has been reduced significantly, the lift and lower speeds with/without loads have been increased compared with the previous models of hoists, which helps to reduce handling and to increase production outputs over a full working day. The lifting speeds at full load have increased from 0.45 to 0.53m/min (Profi 75 TI) and 0.35 to 0.4m/min (Profi 100 TI). Lifting speeds without a load increase from 0.85 to 1.33m/min (Profi 75 TI) and from 0.7 to 1.0m/min (Profi 100 TI). The lowering speeds at full load have also benefited, increasing from 1 to 1.25m/min (Profi 75 TI) and from 0.8 to 0.95m/min (Profi 100 TI). Computer simulations like CFD were utilised throughout the development processes, with all Simulation results validated in various praxis tests to achieve energy savings up to 50%, depending upon the operating conditions.
yellow X-FAB Announces Double-Digit Sales Growth in 2013
    Analog/mixed-signal foundry group X-FAB Silicon Foundries recently announced sales of USD 290 million for fiscal year 2013, an increase of 12 percent compared to the previous year with sales of USD 259 million. NRE revenue as an indicator for future growth has been increasing during the past four years with a compound annual growth rate of 17 percent. In 2013, bookings amounted to USD 320 million, up approximately 27 percent year-over-year. The book to bill ratio for 2013 came in at 1.1. Operating income (EBIT) in 2013 amounted to USD -16 million, which is an increase of USD 36 million compared to the previous year, and earnings before tax (EBT) were at USD 18 million. The current year kicked off with further growth. First quarter sales in 2014 are expected to increase by 18 percent compared to the same quarter last year.
In addition to its financial reporting, X-FAB announced that Rudi De Winter will become sole chief executive officer of X-FAB Group as of June 2014, a move he and Hans-Juergen Straub planned and prepared together for the past three years while they served as co-CEOs. Hans-Juergen Straub, who has served as CEO since X-FAB's inception 22 years ago, will continue to serve on the Board of Directors of X-FAB Silicon Foundries SE.
“I feel strongly now is the best time for a change,” said Hans-Juergen Straub, Co-CEO of X-FAB Group. “X-FAB is in fine shape and the strategic alignment is completed. I will be delighted to see the company grow and am convinced that X-FAB will continue to play a vital role in making the European semiconductor industry a hot spot for sophisticated 'More than Moore' technologies.”
yellow   Nearly 15% SME Foundries Shut Shop Due to Demand Slump
    Several small and medium-sized foundries across the country have been forced to stop production, owing to a demand slump. Industry insiders say that most of these units cater to automotive manufacturers and ancillaries, and that 10-15 per cent of them have either closed down or stopped production temporarily as reported by Business Standard.
About 80 per cent of India's $12 billion foundry industry comprises SMEs, 15 per cent are medium-sized players and only five per cent are large units. Reena Bhagwati, joint managing director of Bhagwati Autocast Ltd and president of the Institute of Indian Foundrymen (IIF), said that while average capacity utilisation in the overall foundry industry is around 70 per cent, for those supplying to automotive players, especially manufacturers of heavy commercial vehicles and passenger cars, average utilisation is down to 50-55%.
The automotive segment consumes 32 per cent of the foundry industry's output - much higher than power (five per cent), railways (6%), industrial machinery (7%), and sanitary ware (9%).
Pawan K Mishra, owner of Shree Ganpati Castings, a 300 tonne-per-month unit at Jaipur, said, "Our factory is running at less than 50% capacity. We supply to passenger car makers like Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki, and commercial vehicle players like Eicher." With lower capacity utilisation the overall cost of production increases and profitability shrinks substantially, he said.
“Everyone is in the red," said S K Jain, owner of Vallabh Auto Cast, which has a unit in Agra (one of about 150 in that belt) with a capacity of 150 tonnes per month. His unit, however, is less impacted, as his main clients are tractor makers. "Demand from the tractor segment is down by 10-15% and hence we are less affected. However, several small units in the area have shut shop, at least temporarily, in the face of sluggish demand from key industries," he explained.
yellow   Morgan Thermal Ceramics Offers Cerox® Fired Refractory Shapes Expertise for
Producing Contaminant-free Metals
    Morgan Thermal Ceramics announces the availability of Cerox® fired refractory shapes, offered in a range of material compositions, including many specifically used for the manufacture of rotating and non-rotating airplane components and automotive turbochargers. Dense, hard, and chemically stable, Cerox fired refractory shapes offer resistance to chemical attack from acids, slags, and gasesto produce the cleaner, contaminant-free metal desired by end users in aerospace and automotive steel foundries. They are manufactured at facilities in Cañon City, CO, and Augusta, GA, where product managers and engineers are centralized to ensure superior customer service.
Fired shapes manufactured from Sillimanite Cerox 200 are composed of 74 percent alumina and fired mullite, which are prized for their chemical attack resistance, good thermal shock, and excellent non-wetting characteristics at temperatures as high as 2850°F. Other materials available include Cerox 700 which has a high alumina content as well as versatile shape capability, making it ideal for products with complex shapes, including Crucibles, tundishes andlaunder systems. For complex shapes, Cerox 720 which also features high alumina content is particularly adapted to developing shapes with thin walls, due to its fine grain and high strength.
Cerox shapes are fired to temperatures that create especially strong molecular bonds, making them superior in applications required to produce clean and contaminant-free Metals. Combined with precisely controlled firing and 100 percent product inspection, these high-quality components are ideal for the most demanding of high-temperature environments.
Morgan Thermal Ceramics offers engineering and design expertise to support customers in the development of Crucibles, tundishes, and launder systems. They will provide expert advice on material composition, pre-heat schedules, custom shapes and part installation, throughout the design and development process.
yellow   Elkem Enters into Joint Venture for Ferrosilicon Production in Paraguay
    In order to obtain a strategic foothold in South America; Elkem has entered into a 50/50 joint venture with the Argentinean investors Grupo Andreani and Grupo Araujo to build a new ferrosilicon plant close to the Paraguayan capitol, Asuncion. The new plant will create around 100 new jobs. Building will start immediately and the plant is scheduled to start production in Q2 2015.
On the evening of 12 February, Senior Vice President in Elkem foundry Jean Villeneuve announced the news at a business event at hotel Guarani in Asuncion, Paraguay. Villeneuve informed government officials and the other participants about the project plans and of why Elkem wants to build in Paraguay together with the Argentinean partners.
“South America is one of the largest and fastest growing markets for ferrosilicon products. By building this plant, we will acquire a local presence in a growing market and obtain an important strategic foothold for further development of our business. With access to local raw materials and sustainable hydropower, Paraguay is for us a perfect place in which to develop our business,” says Villeneuve.
Best available technology and operational excellence as Building of the new plant will start immediately, and production of ferrosilicon is scheduled to start in Q2 2015. The Paraquayan plant will in the first phase consist of one ferrosilicon furnace, but the joint venture has plans to expand in the South American country in the future.
“We have access to the best available technology and we will utilize our organization's knowledge to the full during building and in operations of the Paraguayan plant. We know we will be competitive in the region. Based on the outlook for growth in the global market, we are already now actively evaluating further expansions of the business,” says Villeneuve. The plant will create around 100 direct jobs, but Villeneuve also points out that the ferrosilicon production will create many indirect jobs as well.
“One important reason for choosing to build in Paraguay is local access to raw materials we need in our production process, such as quartz and charcoal. Using local raw materials will create additional jobs for people in this region.”
yellow   Pangborn Group Opens A New Facility in Beijing
    The Pangborn Group is very pleased to announce the opening of an office and production facility in Beijing. The facilities are located in the Shuangbutou Industry Park, Tongzhou district. With the development and building of this new site, the Pangborn Group will offer its customers local presence, stronger support and commitment to the growing Surface treatment industry in the region. Our company has enjoyed a long partnership with RHX in China and out of this relationship, Pangborn Technologies Beijing Ltd. operation - was developed.
With this new office and production facility, we reveal our intent, ambitions and commitment both to Beijing and the region as a whole.
The Pangborn Group provides comprehensive and innovative surface preparation solutions for all methods of blast cleaning and shot peening technologies from engineering and design through installation and aftermarket service and support.
yellow   Fall River Foundry Revamps Molding
    The Fall River Foundry, Fall River, Wis., awarded Equipment Merchants International a contract to build a new automatic molding machine and mold handling system. Along with the new molding line, the foundry has installed a redesigned molding sand system with increased capacities and controls. This is part of a $2.5 million plant expansion.
The new molding process will increase capacity, allowing the company to be more versatile to the nonferrous jobbing markets it currently serves. Fall River Foundry, a division of the Fall River Group, has served the water works industry for more than 60 years.
yellow   Nissan Casting Plant Back in Profit
    Nissan Australia's casting plant is firmly back in profit and there are no plans to close it, a local report said. The development, reported by local auto industry publication GoAutoNews, is a rare gliimer of good news for a country whose remaining three car manufacturing plants, operated by Ford, General Motors' Holden and Toyota, will all have closed by 2017 at the latest.
Ironically, the Nissan Australia car plant in Clayton, for which the foundry in Dandenong South, Victoria, was built in 1982 to supply, closed a decade later.
There were fears back in 2010 the castings plant could close but efficiency gains, including energy savings amounting to A$250,000 a year, have helped secure the long-term viability of what looks likely to become the last remaining Australian factory run by a major global car maker, GoAuto said.
It turns out about 2m aluminium components for Nissan vehicles built in several countries, including Japan, Thailand, Mexico and the United States. A new $1.8m tower furnace installed last year replaces three less efficient furnaces in the plant's aluminium casting operations, helping to stem rising energy costs that had dented the plant's viability, especially with the extra burden of a local carbon tax.
A third of the investment $616,000 was paid by the federal government under the Clean Technology and Food and Foundry Investment Program, Go Auto noted.
The new furnace followed a $21mn overhaul of the casting operations in 2012 a project also partly funded by the federal government by a $3.3m coinvestment grant under the now defunct Green Car Innovation Fund. That and other developments, including local R&D of casting technology, enabled Nissan Casting Australia to win a global contract to make several complex power train castings for the Leaf EV.
yellow   Korea's Dongshin Looks at Vietnam Molding Machine Factory
    South Korean injection machine maker Dongshin Hydraulics Co. Ltd. is seriously considering setting up a manufacturing facility in Vietnam, to cater to Southeast Asia's growing market, the company's top executive said in an interview in the country.
While Vietnam's economy has slowed sharply the last two years, Dongshin sees long-term potential from local growth and the sizable presence of Korean manufacturers in the country, CEO Philip Kim said.
“It's going to be fully assembled, fully manufactured, in the Haiphong area — that is my target,” he said, in an interview at the Plastics & Rubber Vietnam 2014 show, held March 4-6 in Ho Chi Minh City. “I would like to make the machinery here and targeting to Southeast Asian countries, not for the Western countries.”
He said it was “most likely” that the company would move ahead and build the factory, which he said would be a US$10 million investment with, eventually, capacity to make 1,000 presses a year. A decision is likely this year, he said.
The company currently has facilities at its Busan, South Korea, headquarters, and in Ningbo, China. But Kim said China is becoming a more difficult place to operate.
“In China, there is not much advantage any more, with the labor costs growing,” he said. As well, he said Dongshin has had labor stoppages and difficult situations with Chinese unions in its factory.
Any Vietnam plant would initially have to import many of the components because the country does not have a well-developed support infrastructure, but Kim said he hoped to convince some of his suppliers, particularly metal casting firms, to also locate in Vietnam.
“They don't have much infrastructure yet, but that's why I am trying to induce other suppliers,” he said. Nonetheless, he said the company is taking a hard look at Vietnam.
“I already ordered to my people to set up the company here first and try to find a location [for the manufacturing plant],” he said. “If you can make it at a reasonable price here in Vietnam, not competing with the Taiwanese or Chinese machines, with the Korean quality with a Vietnamese price, I think I have a chance to sell it here.”
    This is a compilation of news from Various dailies, magazines, Trade publications and press releases.