Foundry on Wheels addresses a weak Economy, Trade Crises, Climate Protection and general Consumer Uncertainty

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Thomas Fritsch, Chief Editor

Despite difficult signs, experts from several countries met for the second edition of Foundry on Wheels in Agueda / Portugal, very close to the state-of-the-art Sakthi foundry SP 21 to exchange views and meet the challenges.

Program Highlights included:

  • Keynote Speaker - Pedro Lazarino, Commercial Director at Open/Vauxhall Europe
  • "Advanced Materials and Technology" - DISA Industries, IHS Markit, Maquard Consulting
  • "Product Development" - CEiiA, Clariant, Continental
  • "Body in White" - Kirchhoff, INEGI Institute, CaetanoBus
  • Porto Foundry Plant Tour

We need e-mobility AND combustion
The economy has weakened and the leading car manufacturers are under great pressure also said Opel / Vauxhall Commercial Director Europe Pedro Lazarino.
Opel, which has been in partnership with PSA for two years, is already describing major changes in the group. After 18 years, one is now profitable again at Opel and one got "green light" for the internationalization of the Opel brand to stay competitive.

Fewer types, more electric drives, pure design, less visible IT and fewer internal combustion engines.

"We need both," calls Lazarino to the representatives of the foundry industry, "And the politicians must take away the uncertainty of consumers, because we will continue to be mobile and driving with very different drives, both electrical and combustion."

By 2030, at least 80% of new vehicles will be hybrid or with combustion engines
This is also confirmed by Paolo Martino from IHS Markit (European Manager and Analyst Auto Supply Chain & Tech), who presents the numbers in which by 2030 still at least 50% of vehicles use combustion enginges and another 30% have hybrid drives. The analyst from Milan states very clearly that the key lies in the further weight reduction of the vehicle parts. Anyone who is successful in the mix of material and lightweight construction technology is in the lead, Martino is certain.

The German consultant Dr. Ralf Marquard, who developed engines for MAN as well as well-known carmakers, now speaks for LHP about networked technology and new mobility concepts. He states that battery technology will not develop as fast as some would like - in addition, it must be taken into consideration that drives for ships, tractors and trucks cannot feasibly operate purely on battery power. Rather, it is important to improve and modernize the infrastructure, to further develop the fuel cell and sustainble synthetic fuels.

The disposal of raw materials is increasingly causing problems
The panels on the various topics are also particularly interesting: it quickly becomes clear that most experts clearly state that e-mobility was opted for much too soon, because the problems on the raw material side, as well as the disposal, such as recycling issues in composites, are altogether not satisfactorily resolved.

What do the foundries have to do in order to not get steamrolled by these challenges?
The experts agree that it is about fast adaptation, high flexibility and ultimately creativity in the co-development of solutions in lightweight construction as well as in powertrain. All efforts must be very close to the customer interest and therefore affect all known casting processes, as it is about limits in wall thickness, in weight and in design. It may be possible to break into disciplines that are still being formed, welded or pressed today, and this underlines the opportunities for the foundry industry in spite of all uncertainty.

As part of the event’s program, startup companies from Portugal were also able to introduce themselves to topics such as AI, networking and new transport concepts, giving the entire event the size and networking it deserved. Ultimately, the foundry industry has a hand in almost everything to do with day-to-day life as we know it, and we are well advised to take a holistic approach to future development.

Next Foundry on Wheels 2021
With his impressive closing speech, Sakthi CEO Jorge Fesch once again cast a spell over all participants and appealed not to deal with the problems of yesterday, but to focus on the future in a focused and serious and sustainable way.

With the company Sakthi, which runs foundries in Portugal, India and America, he goes exactly this way with success, discipline, a good team and networked technology.

“High caliber participants and diverse presentations made this event very useful. The range from rather specific industry related topics to more academic ones was refreshing”, said Dr. Andreas Werner from Clariant GmbH and is already looking forward to 2021 for the next Foundry on Wheels in Portugal.

Company Info

Center for Innovation and Technology N. Mahalingam

Rua António da Silva Brinco, 265
3750-122 Águeda

Telephone: +351 234 249 983