These anti-slips treads are used extensively in the rail industry – you may have seen them when using the underground in London or on rail networks around the world. These casting treads are made here in the UK by AATI Ltd.
Global Casting Industry News
There has been an 11% increase in sales revenue in UK castings industry over the last two years, together with a continuing rise in productivity and high levels of capacity utilisation. Improvements in efficiency and value added services have taken place, with more than half the firms reporting recent investments in capital equipment and over 70% providing value added services such as rapid prototyping, innovative design and simulation and near net shape component manufacture. The UK casting industry employs over 20,000 people directly and in the supply chain and generates sales revenues of at least £1.89billion. Globally over 100M tonnes of castings are produced globally for a huge range of applications.
Welcoming the publication of the 2017 Casting Industry Census, Dr Pam Murrell, CEO of the Cast Metals Federation, said: “The census clearly shows that the UK casting sector has really begun to recover after the global recession and confirms the information we have been hearing from our members, many of whom are now extremely busy. All the markets that are served by the industry, and that is all sectors of our modern technologically enabled lives, seem to be doing well (with the exception of industrial gas turbines), and this is very encouraging.”
Mike Naylor, Durham Foundry Ltd agreed, saying: “We make highly engineered components that provide technical solutions to our customers, through liquid metal engineering and the application of complex science. The industry is diverse and services all sectors of manufacturing – and I do not see this changing – indeed the industry will continue to evolve, embracing change. Our focus needs to be on high value added, complex and technically challenging parts, near to market through close cooperation with designers and our customers. I am pleased to see that the optimism seen around the industry presently has been confirmed by this census.”
The industry in the UK has a significant skills shortage and is seeking new recruits and apprentices to become the industry technicians, engineers and technical managers. Employers in the industry have come together to develop a new apprentice standard which is to be delivered by industry experts working for Foundry Training Services Ltd at the new National Foundry Training Centre which is one part of the new Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills.
The contribution foundries make to the circular economy is even greater than originally thought, thanks to efficient production methods and recycling of a host of materials, confirms the latest census of the UK castings industry.
Cast metals companies already contribute to the circular economy, taking scrap metal and re-using it to make new highly engineered components through liquid metal engineering. “We know that the UK is a net exporter of steel scrap for instance, but this is a valuable and permanent resource (since metals are infinitely recyclable and retain their inherent value) that we can take advantage of and should not squander. The fact that scrap metal, both ferrous and non-ferrous, is derived from so many sources, including cars at the end of their life, as well as reinforced steel from demolished buildings and waste from other metals processing operations such as pressing and machining, confirms the vital role that our foundries are playing in taking this ‘scrap’ and re-processing it – otherwise it would have to be exported or disposed of in some other way,” said Pam Murrell, CEO of the Cast Metals Federation (CMF) at the recent launch of the UK Casting Industry Census, published by CMF. “With internal scrap levels of less than 5% and customer returns of 1.14%, our census has confirmed that UK foundries are running efficient companies, with close control of their operations.”
It is not just metal that is re-used – internal sand reclamation by sand foundries is also almost 48%. “Whist this is a good figure, it also represents an opportunity,” states Mike Naylor, MD of Durham Foundry Ltd. “We know that more sand could be re-used both internally in foundries but also as a raw material for other industries, such as in construction or for other building and infrastructure projects. It is often an area that is overlooked when thinking about foundries, but the contribution that the casting sector makes to the circular economy is something that we can celebrate.”