China’s metalcasting industry celebrated a coming-of-age recently with a successful staging of the CIFEX 2010 exhibition, with nearly 48,000 visitors to Beijing’s China International Exhibition Center over three days in May. CIFEX is the China International Foundry Expo, comprising the 10th Metalchina trade event for foundry equipment and raw materials suppliers; and China Casting International (CCI), an exhibition of finished foundry products.
The Beijing site was a new venue for the event, and the area occupied —100,000 m2 — nearly doubled the space covered by the previous presentation of CIFEX, in Shanghai in 2008.
CIFEX was organized by the China Foundry Association, together with CIEC Exhibition Co. Ltd. and CIEC Group. It drew 1.326 exhibitors, of which 256 were from 30 nations other than China. Among the many foreign exhibitors were national pavilions representing suppliers from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.S. In addition, the show’s International Pavilion housed a series of globally recognized foundry equipment suppliers, including ABB, DISA, Eirich, IMF, Loramendi, Tokyu, and Sinto.
”… very satisfied with the outcome …”
“According to the feedback from U.S. exhibitors, we're very satisfied with the outcome,” reported Casting Industry Suppliers Assn. executive director Roger A. Hayes, who organized the U.S. Pavilion. “The quality of Chinese castings has improved dramatically in recent years. We look at China as the most important emerging market with great potentials to explore. In the future, it is anticipated that more and more U.S. companies will come to China for partnership, establishing their sales network and after-sales service centers. We expect more participating companies of the U.S. pavilion for next edition.”
Even more impressive, CIFEX attracted 47,693 attendees from 55 countries. Among the global industrial associations that supported the event were AMAFOND, the Italian Association for Foundry Machinery Producers; CECOF, the European Committee of Industrial Furnace and Heating Equipment Associations; CEMAFON, the European Committee for Materials and Products for Foundries; FUNDIGEX, the Castings Exporter’s Association of Spain; and VDMA, the German Engineering Federation.
The First Asia Foundry Forum, a concurrent technical conference, drew metalcasters from participating countries in the region, including India, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, Thailand, and Vietnam, among others. That event had as its theme, “Asian Foundry: Strengthening Cooperation and Seeking Common development.”
The goal for the Asia Foundry Forum was to strengthening the communication and cooperation among Asian foundry industries, seeking common development, and enhancing the cooperation among different countries, regions, and members. The one-day program allowed metalcasting experts from participating countries to engage in a detailed analysis of several topics, such as how to meet challenges and gather opportunities presented by the global economy; or, how to realize sustainable environmental development.
The next installment of the Asia Foundry Forum in 2012 will be sponsored by The Institute of Indian Foundrymen.
China’s foundry advances
The CIFEX event also functioned as a demonstration of the advances in China’s foundry and diecasting sectors. Last year the State Council of China decreed a program for “Restructuring and Resuscitation of Equipment Manufacturing Industry,” which according to the China Foundry Assn. raised cast parts to the same level of strategic importance as finished systems or equipment. A fiscal and monetary stimulus program valued at nearly $600 billion was implemented, too, providing a foundation for infrastructure projects and further development of China’s domestic automotive sector.
“Castings, as the foundation for all industries, surely will see the signs of robust recovery,” according to CFA. In recent years, China’s foundries and diecasters have made notable technical progress in terms of casting size, weight, function, and precision. There are now about 100 Chinese foundries capable of producing castings of over 30 metric tons, and more sophisticated production processes have made it possible for domestic producers to supply castings of international quality to demanding markets like automotive engines and turbines.
The four-day event became the occasion for a number of important industrial develpments, including the unveiling of the world’s largest single-piece ductile iron machine tool casting, 135-mt, by Beiyi Heavy Machinery Cast Co. Ltd.; the latest developments in castings for China’s wind-power projects; cast housings for a 1,000-MW “ultra-supercritical unit” by Shanghai Honggang & Liaoning Fu-An Foundry Co. Ltd.; and a mill roll produced via bimetal centrifugal casting by Sinosteel Xingtai Machinery & Mill Roll Co. Ltd.
In light of their progress toward producing more technically advanced and higher-value castings, Chinese foundries need more reliable and sophisticated process technology. As such, the CIFEX event was a timely and notable occasion for the domestic metalcasting market.