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Resource optimisation and energy efficiency

GIFA – the 13th International Foundry Trade Fair will be presenting innovative solutions for the foundry industry from 16th to 21st June 2015.
visit the Foundry Trade Journal stand at GIFA - hall 15, stand H16-01
The foundry industry is a vital link in the value chain of the most important industrial sectors and is therefore a high-tech industry with a sound future. It is estimated that total global production of castings in 2015 will reach a volume of approximately 100 million tonnes. Analyses made by CAEF - the European Foundry Association - indicates that there are more than 4,000 foundries in Europe alone, with over 200,000 employees overall (2012 figures).
Reducing operating costs whilst improving manufacturing capabilities is a top priority for foundries. Computer-based processes have, for example, become indispensable, for rapid production of castings. Electronic systems are being used to monitor and analyse the vast range of processes carried out in a foundry. Optimisation is in full swing in all these areas as well as in the production and operating materials sector. Traditional casting processes are being modified and new production methods are being developed by combining processes.
GIFA 2015 will be reviewing these diverse developments and will provide visitors and exhibitors with an insight into the future of foundry technology.

Innovative future
The foundry industry’s biggest customers are car and machine manufacturers, plant engineering companies, the railway industry, the aerospace industry, the power generation industry, shipbuilding and marine engineering. Manufacturers of data processing equipment, musical instruments and medical products such as implants also source materials from the foundry industry. In view of the increasingly exacting demands made on industrial companies, these industries - particularly the automotive industry - act as ‘innovation drivers’ for the foundry industry. Indeed, the progress made in engine manufacturing is attributable to a major extent to the developments made by the foundry industry.

Competition and competitiveness
As in other industrial sectors, foundries and foundry supply companies have to face growing international competitive pressure and are forced to make economical use of resources and energy to be able to continue operating profitably.
There is no doubt that those foundries which increase efficiency in this area place themselves in a position to reap tremendous future benefits. Other ways to improve a company’s competitive position are: ensuring the machinery used is always state-of-the-art; optimising production processes; remaining up-to-date with on-going developments in the areas of casting materials, moulds, cores and casting processes and; finally, to be capable of supplying clients with castings that have customised properties. In spite of all the advances that impact the casting process directly or indirectly, whether a foundry is competitive or not depends to a crucial extent on the skills of the company’s employees and, whatever part of the world we are operating in, it is now an enormous challenge to recruit well-qualified young staff.

Technical trends
As is the case with companies in other industrial sectors, foundries need to reduce operating costs, whilst continuing to supply sophisticated products with shorter and shorter development lead times. Economical use of energy and raw materials for castings, cores and moulds is an absolute necessity to cut costs and to reduce the impact of casting production on the environment. Since many other processes - such as production of moulds and cores, cleaning and testing of castings, recovery or recycling of mould and core sands - are taking place simultaneously to the casting process, electronic process control systems have become essential to be able to monitor and control all the production operations. Electronics are just as vital in the development of castings and the production of prototypes, moulds and cores. With computer-based processes, operations in the casting process and the impact on casting quality can be simulated in detail, with the result that castings can be designed rapidly which are an optimum fit for the assignment in question. Computer-based 3D printing processes, with which synthetic resin-bonded sand moulds and cores can be manufactured relatively quickly, are replacing what used to be the very time-consuming and laborious production of moulds for sand casting. Developments are continuing in the areas of casting materials and casting processes too. Material manufacturers are, for example, working on the optimisation of existing casting alloys and the development of new ones, while research institutes are trying out new processes in liaison with machine manufacturers and foundries - such as composite casting processes, with which different metals like steel and copper can be combined with each other. 

GIFA 2015
Foundries need innovative machines, equipment, software systems and much more to be able to operate efficiently. The international foundry trade fair GIFA will be providing information about this and the innovative developments that are being made.

The Bright World of Metals
The four international technology trade fairs GIFA (International Foundry Trade Fair), METEC (International Metallurgical Trade Fair), THERMPROCESS (International Trade Fair for Thermo Process Technology) and NEWCAST (International Trade Fair for Precision Castings) are being held in Düsseldorf from 16th to 20th June 2015. Visitors from all over the world will be coming to the city on the River Rhine for five days at this time to focus on castings, foundry technology, metallurgy and thermo process technology. A programme of high-quality additional events such as the World Foundry Organization Technical Forum will again be taking place alongside the trade fairs. All four trade fairs and the programmes co-ordinated with them will be concentrating on the issue of resource optimisation and energy efficiency. A total of 79,000 experts from 83 different countries visited the stands of the 1,958 exhibitors at the previous events in 2011. 
For more information, including a full list of exhibiting companies visit: www.gifa.de www.metec.de www.thermprocess.de and www.newcast.de