The Portuguese Foundry Association - APF - brings together the most representative foundries in Portugal, responsible for a production of over 80% of the sector's total, with a sales volume of around 535 million euros in 2020, after exceeding 600 million in 2019.
The foundry sector includes, in its activity, a much-diversified production of parts, produced in ferrous alloys, grey and nodular cast iron and steel, and non-ferrous alloys, mostly aluminium. Supply a wide range of sectors ranging from automotive, industrial machinery, agricultural machinery, energy production equipment, medicine, civil construction, shipbuilding, aerospace, railways, wear materials, urban furniture, household items, etc.
The automotive industry keeps being the main customer market, which demands roughly 65% of the global Portuguese production of foundry goods, being the others more representative:
Construction and domestic equipment;
Construction of machinery;
Valves and accessories.
The Portuguese foundry sector exports 90% of the total production (in weight) mainly to the European market.
Technological advances in the foundry sector and innovation that offer competitive advantages to customers are aspects that determine the positioning of companies in different markets, their competitiveness in the global market and, therefore, their sustainability.
For decades, the Portuguese foundry has positioned itself in product development, in partnership with the customer, and in added value operations, such as the machining of parts and assembly of components, which allows it to grow in the value chain.
Digitalisation, whether in the external relationship with customers and suppliers, or internally in the processes, is a key factor for competitiveness. Thus, as a result of partnerships with various higher education and R&D institutions, the implementation of digitalisation processes and, more broadly, of Industry 4.0, has become an imperative for companies, which is already a reality, specifically in automotive industry suppliers.
Current environmental challenges, such as the circular economy, and the industrial symbiosis necessary to achieve it, and the orientation towards the efficient use of resources, are opportunities for reducing production costs and energy efficiency.
The Portuguese Foundry Industry has its own Vocational and Training Centre, CINFU, a partnership between APF and the Portuguese Institute of Employment and Vocational Training, which promotes training for foundry men - those in active jobs and those being prepared for future employments.
There is also a long partnership with the University of Porto - Faculty of Engineering, for the training of future foundry engineers.