Foundries and diecasters constantly assess their global standing, their opportunities and their strategies in the worldwide market. For metalcasting suppliers, these questions are much more than theoretical — they must function as a global enterprise, or not at all. This may have regional or local implications for their customers. ASK Chemicals chief operating officer Scott Hoertz recently delivered some observations about the implications of globalization for the group’s customers in Brazil and the rest of the South American market.
ASK Chemicals, based in Hilden, Germany, supplies chemicals for metalcasting processes. Its portfolio includes broad range of foundry applications, including binders, coatings, feeders, filters, and release agents, as well as metallurgical products, including inoculants, inoculation wires and master alloys for iron casting.
Since the inception of ASK Chemicals how has the company performed? And, what expectations do you have going forward?
Scott Hoertz: ASK Chemicals is the product of two exceptionally successful foundry businesses: Süd Chemie and Ashland Inc. For this reason, expectations were very high for this company. However, after our first year in business I can say comfortably that we have exceeded our expectations and are optimistic about the future.
Specifically, in our first year ASK Chemicals has seen a revenue increase of 18%. This can be attributed to our industry-leading products, our outstanding staff members and a currently positive economic environment. In particular, however, our success draws heavily from our technological expertise – founded on the accumulated knowledge of the companies that formed us. For these reasons, we believe ASK Chemicals is well equipped to make good on our promise: “We advance your casting”.
How does ASK Chemicals foresee its involvement in the South American foundry industry in the near term?
Hoertz: South America, particularly Brazil, is on top of our agenda. The Brazilian market, for instance, is near 2008 levels – a time in which that market experienced huge growth. In fact, ABIFA reports a 6.3% growth in 2012. Furthermore, technological standards are also rising in Brazil, which could be advantageous for our company.
As industry-leading innovators ASK Chemicals thrives on accommodating customers’ growing technology demands. With our technology bases in the U.S. and Europe – particularly in Germany – we can offer the Brazilian foundry industry an extremely enticing and competitive array of products and services. In particular, our R&D capabilities along with our technical services team are unique, value-added services that our customers enjoy.
ASK Chemicals is committed to the Brazilian foundry industry. We expect the Brazilian market to continue upwards and are excited to be there to serve our customers and partners.
What is ASK Chemicals doing to help their customers become more sustainable?
Hoertz: Sustainable production processes and environmentally friendly technologies are today among the most important strategic challenges of the foundry industry – worldwide. Innovative foundry consumables, used from the very start in cast production, serve to fulfill such requirements. ASK Chemicals has already taken up the challenge of developing customized products for the foundry industry through its intensive and continuous research work in order to satisfy these requirements. A comprehensive product portfolio with emission-reducing foundry consumables for every production step is the result of this research work. New developments in all product lines support sustainable and efficient work during the casting process from both an environmental and economic perspective. The need to reduce pollutants while maintaining or improving quality standards has a particular influence on the selection of the core manufacturing methods and their optimization. Inorganic binders, particularly for light-alloy casting, are gradually becoming a viable alternative to the organic cold-box binders currently in use. ASK Chemicals is the global leader in this field and sets the benchmark with the inorganic INOTEC™ technology.
Will ASK Chemicals participate in this year’s ABIFA Metallurgia event in Joinville, Brazil? What will be your focus there?
Hoertz: Of course we plan to participate in this show. The ABIFA Metallurgia is an extremely important event for our company, as well as the foundry industry. Just look at the numbers … last year 23,000 visitors attended the show and nearly 450 exhibitors showcased their offerings. This year ASK Chemicals will host a booth and present two technical papers in the Cintec conference program focusing on the latest developments in filter and coating technology.