After China and Turkey, hundreds of metal casting units (also called foundries) in and around Kolkata, the country’s oldest, are looking now at Japan to source cutting-edge technology and learn eco-friendly techniques.
Aikawa Iron Works, Chuo Malleable Iron, Handa Casting, Hoshino Casting, Itochuko, Niake Seiki, Nishioka Malleable Iron, Niwa Chuzo, Sintokogio and Toyota Motors are some such companies they are eying.
The old foundry belt of Howrah, once called the ‘Sheffield of India’, has 320-odd mostly small-scale units. There are also a few medium-scale ones. Together, they have more than 6.8 lakh million tones of installed capacity. Their combined annual production of six lakh million tonnes includes sanitary fittings, railway components/spares and other transport components. Apart from meeting domestic demands, the castings also have overseas markets in the US, Germany, the UK, New Zealand and West Asia.
Altogether 25 foundry owners from this area would be leaving soon for Japan to see at first hand what green foundries were all about and ink possible deals to borrow eco-friendly technology, Raj Kejriwal leader of the delegation and MD, KISWOK Industries, told Financial Chronicle. Foundry owners from Jharkhand and Gujrat would be joining them, he said. “We hope the visit will prove to be a giant leap towards making a marked development in the foundry industries in Bengal, Jharkhand and Gujrat, especially the medium and large scale one. We hope to imbibe what’s best for our industry and contribute to the eastern region’s success story.”
Sunil Sharma, director, Sintokogio, said that during the weeklong visit, the Indian foundries would look to source modern, energy-saving technology and material resource-saving techniques that would facilitate mass productivity and offer an improved working environment.
“The members also hope to get a first-hand experience of the ‘vacuum process’ casting, developed and patented in Japan in the late 1970s. The process involves very low operating costs, unlimited pattern life cost, zero degree draft with excellent dimensional tolerances and defect-free casting with smooth surface finish,” he said.