"Cast products are a vital part of our modern life. It is impossible to imagine either traffic or machine engineering, energy supply or building construction without foundry products."
-Dr. Carsten Kuhlgatz, CEO of HA
The figures of the industry demonstrate the strong representation of foundries all over the world. In 2016, there were 46,300 foundries worldwide with an estimated 4 million employees who produce 104,4 million tons of castings per year. But due to its key role as a supplier to many industrial sectors, the importance of the foundry industry is even greater than the raw figures suggest. Almost the entire capital‐goods producing industry uses cast components.
For more than 100 years, the HA Group – as a family owned business ‐ has been a proud and passionate member of this impressive community. Their expertise is what their customers can rely on. Innovation and development is what they thrive on. HA is always looking for new ideas and solutions to meet the challenges which arise in the production of castings.
HA's Research and Development Department employs more than 130 highly skilled chemists and specialists. At the end of 2017, a new research and development laboratory, as well as a unique technical service center, the HA Center of Competence, where we can test all core‐making and mould‐making processes on a pilot scale, were opened in Germany.
With its head office in Germany, HA Group operates in all regions of the world and aims to be close to the customer, to know their markets, and to provide them with intensive support from regional teams.
“Think global, act local” as a guiding principle
"We are where our customers are – all over the world. We work hand in hand to strengthen and further expand our foundry family."
This applies in particular to the host country of this event: China. Within the past 20 years the cast production in China has grown from 13 to 47 million tons and has thus increased more than threefold, and HA's competent local team supplies the permanently and rapidly growing Chinese foundry industry with the complete product range for the entire casting process and provides customers with superior technical advice and support.
With the company HA China, the HA Group has now been present in the region for exactly 20 years.
In that time, some impressive milestones have been met:
- 1998 HA entered the Chinese market and set up 3 joint ventures in Shanghai, Changzhou and Yixing to produce coatings, resins and release agents.
- In 2001 Shanghai HA International Trading Co., Ltd. was founded. It acts as the sales, technical service and administration center of HA China. Besides the sales center the Chinese sale network includes six sales offices and covers the whole country.
- In 2004 HA acquired the Sibelco foundry materials plant in Sognjiang which focused on the production of resin coated sand and coatings.
- Another very important milestone was the building of the HA Foundry Materials Co. Ltd. in Nantong with a total investment of 30 million dollars. The top modern production plant was completed and put into operation in July 2014. Its annual output capacity is 20,000 tons of resin and additive, 20,000 tons of coating, and 6 million sleves.
With these modern facilities and a highly qualified team, HA China is fit for the future.
A future, in which many major challenges are going to have to be met. One of these challenges is definitely to reduce the environmental impact of casting processes. Emission‐free casting is indeed possible with the help of innovative inorganic binders such as our Cordis binder system.
HA's product manager, Dirk Peppinghaus, reported on the successful cooperation project with KPSNC in Kunshan: "The advantages of completely inorganic systems are well‐known to our foundry community. The general task for us is to extend the fields of application to iron castings and to find solutions for reclaimable systems. Meanwhile we open doors to next‐generation castings, be it for combustion engines, electric motors or fuel cell cars."
Advanced solutions for the casting of wind power stations
Foundry chemicals play an important role for efficient production processes of castings in any dimension. HA das developed low‐emission, No‐Bake systems with a minimum content of Sulphur for large‐scale castings like rotor hubs.
Will 3D‐printing change our way to do business on a large scale?
3D printing is more and more used and requires optimized binder systems. For the best results, HA's chemical and technical experts work hand in hand with the printer manufacturers. Meanwhile, they have developed solutions for no‐bake, inorganic and organic binder systems.
How we can support foundries to improve the availability and skills of new Foundrymen and – women?
As education and recruiting is an ongoing topic in the foundry industry worldwide, HA promotes some successful educational programs:
- The HA Academy is an internal form of training for employees, dedicated to engineers and chemists from the whole world, but also to technicians from own laboratories or technical service.
- The new HA Center of Competence is a pilot foundry plant with core shooters, different moulding processes and a melting area, where new developments can be tested.
- By working together with foundries, machine manufacturers, and other partners at an early stage in product and process development, HA aims to reduce the time‐to‐market.
- In cooperation with the HA Academy, the Center of Competence is open also for training programs dedicated both to employees and external partners, for example customers. These forms of training are connected with the WFO, in order to share knowledge and expertise with the member associations of the WFO.
- Additionally, HA Germany is supporting technical education with a very successful practical foundry project. For more than 10 years, HA has installed small and simple foundries in schools, universities, job centers of the local governments, at recruiting events, fairs for young people and last but not least at the GIFA. The main focus is on installations at schools in the neighborhood of a foundry. The name of this initiative is GET‐IN‐FORM. Today more than 60 school foundries are running in Germany. Besides the equipment, a dedicated teacher and a foundryperson with good skills in foundry technology and experience in working with young people is necessary. HA offers training for them, creates and maintains a network between all participants and offers best practice conferences.
More information can be found at: www.get‐inform.de.