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A reliable brand in uncertain times

To succeed in an increasingly competitive market, a worldwide network of supply and support is vital, but equally important is the ability to clearly and effectively communicate with customers, which is something world-leading brand Vesuvius/Foseco has worked tirelessly to perfect.

Whilst operating in an environment demanding the latest in innovation and digital communication techniques, Foseco has built its worldwide reputation on a partnership philosophy, which is why the company is keen to embrace and further develop the latest technology for what they call “old school responses”. This entails using the latest web-based and digital communication technology, in combination with the personal approach, made possible because of the organisation’s long-term close links with foundries throughout the world.

Speaking exclusively to Foundry Trade Journal, Michael Kidd, UK sales manager, said: “Reliability of supply is very important for this industry thus we are conscious of our global customers’ purchasing issues. Consequently, inventory management is critical. We are also in a position of trust and our customers can rely on our discretion – we are privy to confidential information and they can be sure that what happens in the foundry, stays in the foundry as far as we are concerned. ”

A combination of expertise

With the combined expertise of the Vesuvius brand in refractories and the Foseco one in metallurgical solutions, the company has approached its continued growth from a chemical viewpoint. “We are the only supplier that has the whole solution for foundries from end to end. Our strength in being able to work with foundries to manage various parts of their business, for example their refractory needs etc. means we have expanded our vision to look more widely rather than just at specified solutions. By bringing both process and metallurgical expertise together, as we did in 2008, we have been able to offer entire solutions. For many years Vesuvius has been a trusted name in the steel industry and Foseco a trusted name in the foundry sector, the balance has been exceptional.”

This now all-encompassing approach has been welcomed by the industry, in part because of the outstanding pedigree of the brands, but also because of the longevity of the relationships between the company and its customers. Indeed many of those at Foseco are long-term employees who have developed relationships and partnerships with customers over many years, inspiring trust and reliability in the people, the company and the products. Kidd himself was the new boy at the company when he joined in August 1989 – some three decades later he is heading up the UK facility in Tamworth and working with many of the engineers and specialists he has known for years. “The thing about this company is that we offer a quick career path for young people. We have always provided a friendly working environment where people genuinely feel a part of the team. Our people are enthusiastic and the ability to ‘always deliver our best’ is engrained in the culture of the company,” he said. Originally working at a Dutch based company SMC in the 1980s, Kidd was passionate about the business and when Foseco acquired it, the transition into the ‘Foseco mentality’ was an easy one. “I love being a part of Foseco – it feels like family,” he says. “Our social strength gives us a bond, when things are difficult you come together. The company taught me in my early days and beyond that I can operate out of my comfort zone, it keeps you alive. I have learned so much going into foundries and from my international colleagues.”

Operating in individual territories but as part of a highly visible global brand, Foseco encourages its employees to have a rounded, global perspective, something Kidd and his colleagues in the UK treasure. “We have an obligation to our customers and our shareholders so we encourage them to give us suggestions on innovations,” he enthused. The collaborative approach has reaped rewards for the foundry sector, with much of the innovation perfected by Foseco being inspired by its customers. The company is keen that R&D comes from the industry and is not purely driven by R&D departments. Innovative and individual technologies are developed together in close partnership with full service plans, including technical support. To this end the company’s claim to be ‘your partner to build on’ is a valid one.

The benefit of having the Vesuvius experience in the steel sector is also helping to drive improved options for the foundry industry. One such success story is the new HOLLOTEX* Shroud, unveiled at GIFA. This is a new process that can be effectively applied in steel foundries to improve filter possibilities. In the process, a shroud is positioned in the mould, the bottom of the shroud protrudes into a filter box located at the base of the mould. When the ladle is in position, the shroud is mechanically lifted so there is a seal between the nozzle and the shroud. The metal flows from the nozzle, through the shroud into the filter box, and then to the runner. As the metal flows it is protected from exposure to air, eliminating the potential for air aspiration. The resultant casting is exceptionally clean  and able to successfully pass through x-ray and other non-destructive evaluations rapidly. The physical properties of the casting are markedly improved through the elimination of reoxidation particles and films. By offering a solution to the problem of filter blockages, this new technology is poised to revolutionise steel casting. The HOLLOTEX Shroud is just one of 14 new products launched at GIFA, an exceptional number of innovative solutions. This highlights the company’s desire to continue to innovate and expand the industry’s capabilities.

Keeping the world informed

With an extensive worldwide network, encompassing the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East, India, Asia and Oceania, Foseco is committed to keeping customers informed of the latest developments at the company and the breadth of technological support offered. In addition to the more traditional routes, including publishing the Foseco Foundry Practice publications and trade press articles, the company communicates through regular newsletters, webinars and social media activities. They have dedicated personnel working on further development of the various communication channels to ensure that foundry personnel in all parts of the world are kept fully informed of the innovative solutions available to them.

An eye-catching website and visually striking promotional campaigns have further emphasised the company’s commitment to set itself apart from others and highlight how it is in tune with the latest trends. Developing the extensive team is also an important consideration with existing and emerging markets benefitting from increases in people to help support Foseco’s ‘can do’ attitude. The company has an online university with around 30 modules so engineers in all parts of the world can continue to learn every day. So what about the uncertain market? As far as this world-leading entity is concerned uncertainty merely keeps the company on its toes! With a new R&D centre in the Netherlands, a portfolio of new products to support the existing catalogue of metallurgical solutions and an experienced and professional team of engineers and supporting staff it seems that one thing IS certain – the Foseco brand continues to loom large around the world.

Contact: Michael Kidd, Vesuvius UK Limited – Foseco Foundry Division, Tamworth, Staffordshire B78 3TL UK. Tel: +44 (0) 1827 289999, email: michael.kidd@vesuvius.com web: www.foseco.com

* HOLLOTEX is a Trade Mark of the Vesuvius Group, registered in certain countries, used under licence.