MAGMA’s shareholder, Dr. Erwin Flender, commented on the continuation of the conference series in his welcome speech. “We are happy and honored that all of you once more made this conference possible, especially since everyone’s schedule is tight. Your presence mirrors the fact that steel casting plays a vital role in manufacturing industries around the world.”
In his keynote presentation, Reinhold Hanus of voestalpine Linz GmbH, Austria, spoke about the specific challenges for European steel foundries and how they can successfully be taken on, even for the biggest steel castings. Following this central subject from the power generation industry, the President of the German Foundrymen’s Association (VDG) and Managing Director of GussStahl Lienen GmbH, Germany, Dr. Jens Wiesenmüller added valuable insight from the field of smaller castings for the rail and automotive industries. The challenges posed by the market’s growing demand for better quality, which is produced on shorter notice and for a better price, can only be met by conscious, smart and sophisticated means of development, production, processes and leadership. This requires a clear focus on critical competence factors in all these fields of business. According to Dr. Wiesenmüller, the brightness of the steel casting future depends on the awareness and utilization of both internal and external market potential. This is mainly driven by the health of the worldwide power generation, milling, mining, construction and automotive industries.
As another defining factor for success, the development and implementation of new methods were presented. Automatically and patternless molded steel castings were discussed, as well as castings for special chemical applications and loads. As a recurring insight, presentations and discussions repeatedly emphasized the effectiveness of simulation to improve processes and profitability, allowing a shift in the knowledge gained from cost intensive late process phases to the more flexible and significantly less costly early process definition phase. These “frontloading” strategies were further supported by numerous examples based on skilled software application for all sizes and variants of steel castings.
New chances and challenges that the future holds for the industry was offered by Raymond Monroe, Executive Vice President of the Steel Founders’ Society of America. Based on current predictions, the production of steel mills and steel foundries will rise by 20% to 30% until 2020. The realization of this potential will require the industries’ willingness to invest in its personnel and technical resources. The business will be made by the companies with sufficient capability to fulfill the demand at the moment it arises. Therefore, according to Raymond Monroe, investments must be made in time.
In addition to the presentations, the opportunity for exchanging knowledge and experience during the breaks and social events was highly appreciated by the attendees. Mastering common business and process challenges were top priority topics among the experts, who agreed that, while internal competition remains strong, the industry must also act on shared interests in competition with other production processes.
The conference‘s closing presentation addressed new and upcoming simulation solutions for the optimization of steel castings of all kinds and sizes in more detail.