Those that did not attend will have to catch up as the industry moves full throttle ahead towards Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, robotics as well as a common language for machines to operate.
Speaking to some foundry owners before GIFA/GMTN 2019 to find out whether they would be attending the exhibition it was astounding to hear them utter that they would not learn anything new by attending, the exhibition and what the exhibitors would showcase would be more or less the same as the previous exhibition four years ago and that they were not prepared to spend as they have no plans to upgrade or expand in the future. The less said about those comments the better because the world will not wait for negative thinkers.
Around 72 500 visitors from 118 countries were welcomed into the halls during the trade fair’s five-day run. 70% of the exhibitors hailed from abroad (65% in 2015) and 66% of the visitors came from foreign countries (up 62% from 2015)
I have been attending the GIFA/GMTN exhibition since 1994 and yes, I do admit that for a number of editions of the exhibition there was not much progress in terms of technology except for perhaps faster and more accurate machines. However, this year, with all the technological developments that are constantly happening around us, the prospects of dramatic changes in the foundry industry were anticipated. Those of us that attended GIFA 2019 were not disappointed and are richer for the experience. Comments from peers in the industry further on reflect this sentiment.
In recent years the manufacturing industry has witnessed the dramatic progress of digitalisation and networking typified by Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things as well as the introduction of artificial intelligence. As a result the manufacturing industry environment is undergoing huge changes.
The push towards the Smart Factory was witnessed by my visits to international exhibitions in late 2018 where there was a big emphasis by exhibitors was placed on digitalisation, artificial intelligence (AI) and Industry 4.0.
One of the other most noticeable aspects was the use of robots in various situations, both with man and machine in attendance. Why, you ask, because robots have been around for some time. The answer is: Full automation with robots is a must going forward if companies want their Smart Factories to operate at maximum performance and productivity. The collaboration between robots and machine has therefore attracted much attention in recent years. As have humans working together with robots in factories. Many tasks on the shop floor can now be automated by using robots, which will help to reduce work-related losses as well as contribute to the bottom line.
Another noticeable change was the announcement of the number of supplier cooperations that have been setup. For example, Loramendi, voxeljet and ASK Chemicals have taken a major step to reinvent the manufacturing landscape by developing the world’s first fully automated 3D printed core production solution
You can rely on robots not only for precision welding, bending and cutting or for transporting and depositing, to name a few and you might say that they are good for repetitive and mundane work and operations. However, they are steadily generating increasing sales figures and productivity for manufacturers and users just as reliably. Along with the Industry 4.0 revolution, additive manufacturing and digitalisation, robots are set to play a bigger role in the manufacturing process. And that is even though their huge, boundary-shifting period begun some time ago. Because, soon enough, robots will use artificial intelligence (AI) to catapult industrial production into spheres that were previously unimaginable to us. The potential of an intelligent and “sensitive” robot is immeasurable.
I did not expect anything less at GIFA/GMTN 2019. Wherever you walked in the exhibition halls the use of robots was evident. Some stands in the educational section had displays that were dedicated to the use of robots.
The driving force behind the ever-increasing demand for robots is the automotive sector, where robot use is gaining even more momentum. This is followed in areas such as electronics, metal processing, plastics and chemical products as well as the food and beverage industry. In other words, this is a development that will electrify numerous industries.
One of the more attention-grabbing statements was: Maturity of conventional technologies – the potential to optimise Die Casting is more or less exhausted
The foundry and steel industries are not immune to these developments. Already robots are in great use at some forward-thinking companies and we have world-class references in South Africa. Yes, in the foundry industry.
However, one aspect of technological progress in metalcasting is the challenge to synchronise the advances in production processes with the pace of development in information technology and data networks. Die-casters, for example, operate at a very high rate of throughput making it difficult to pause to incorporate changes meant to improve productivity.
Maturity of conventional technologies
The first press conference we attended was for Bühler Die Casting where they introduced their vision of the Digital Cell, a solution that they believe aims to deliver 0% scrap, 40% less cycle time, and 24/7 uptime to make the die-casting industry more profitable and efficient.
In his presentation to the media Jonathan Abbis, Managing Director at Bühler Die Casting, put up a slide that included the following statement. It shocked me and all those that I showed the slide to. It read:
Maturity of conventional technologies – the potential to optimise Die Casting is more or less exhausted.
You can’t take the statement in isolation though and I believe it does not just apply to die-casting. Abbis was referring to the challenging market situation that manufacturers in the foundry industry, and I am sure in other industries, are facing. The real point though that Abbis was making is that with all the new technologies now available, and I repeat – Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things, AI, digitalisation, robotics, 3D printing, big data gathering and machine learning that includes AI-enabled visual inspection systems and sensors – it is impossible not to include some or all of these technologies in your future manufacturing processes. By adopting the new information gathering and reporting technologies it offers you the potential for significant increases in productivity and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). Abbis was emphasising this with the launch of Bühler’s Digital Cell that includes Fusion, Bühler’s next-generation, three-platen die-casting platform.
Soon enough, robots will use artificial intelligence (AI) to catapult industrial production into spheres that were previously unimaginable to us. The potential of an intelligent and “sensitive” robot is immeasurable
At the same time Bühler launched their Smart Cell Management System. If we think of a die-casting cell like a human body, with lots of different tasks carried out by different parts, then SmartCMS is the brain, ready to coordinate all of that activity in the most effective way. SmartCMS lays the foundation for the smart management of entire die-casting cells, with the capability to collect information from every component and peripheral in a single control system.
Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture (OPC UA)
Bühler’s concept or vision will be enhanced with the VDMA’s Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture. We attended a presentation given by the VDMA on OPC UA, which is an open interface standard that defines the mechanisms of cooperation in the industrial environment. It enables the industry to integrate its products and its production by information and communications technologies (ICT). In future machines and factories can be redesigned as required by plug and work, irrespective of which manufacturers the machines and components originate from.
One of the most noticeable aspects was the use of robots in various situations, both with man and machine in attendance
The VDMA has been developing with its member companies the OPC UA Companion Specifications over a number of the sector divisions within VDMA, including machine tool and die-casting machines. The VDMA believes that they are close to finalising a standardisation step for a device list within a die-casting cell that includes the HPDC cell controller, the HPDC machine, the metal supply (furnace and dosing system), die lubricant systems, thermoregulation systems, vacuum systems, part separation systems, including trimming, and post processing equipment. Presently most of this equipment and/or systems operate in automation islands – that is until Bühler launched their SmartCMS – and the vision is to change the mindset so as to have a clear role of the devices with standardised smart interfaces. In other words X company’s HPDC machine will be able to talk to Y company’s furnace and dosing equipment, in the same language, as well as all the other devices in the cell, or as they say, allow an interoperable information exchange between manufacturers.
The OPC UA High Pressure Die Casting Initiative, under the umbrella of VDMA Metallurgy and CEMAFON with the OPC Foundation as the custodian, has over 60 experts from over 30 European companies developing the manufacturer-independent information models (Companion Specifications), the interface between components, machines and systems. These describe device and capability information so that a machine can be easily integrated into a plant network by all manufacturers and can, for example, be connected to a software system for planning and controlling production.
Meltec are part of the OPC UA High Pressure Die Casting Initiative
Among other things, the description of the manufacturer’s name, the device type and the process data, such as temperatures or pressure as well as organisational information such as information on productivity and quality, will be standardised.
Included in this working group are companies from all aspects involved in manufacturing die-cast products and components. They include Audi, Buhler, Fondarex, Frech, IDRA, Italpresse, Kuka, Kurtz, MagmaSoft, Meltec, Stotek, StrikoWestofen and Volkswagen.
Another noticeable change was the announcement of the number of supplier cooperations that have been setup.
For example, Loramendi, voxeljet and ASK Chemicals have taken a major step to reinvent the manufacturing landscape by developing the world’s first fully automated 3D printed core production solution.
MagmaSoft and ASK Chemicals are involved in a joint development project on binder decomposition in sand cores and associated gas formation.
MagmaSoft also announced a cooperation with GTP Schäfer, a leading producer of exothermic and insulating risers. Technical riser data of the GTP Schaefer product range is to be made available in MagmaSoft.
A big emphasis by exhibitors was placed on digitalisation, artificial intelligence (AI) and Industry 4.0
MagmaSoft, Hüttenes-Albertus (HA) a supplier of foundry chemicals and the core shooting machine manufacturer Laempe Mössner Sinto presented their unique concept of a virtual core shooting process.
“With approximately 2 360 exhibitors from all over the world, GIFA, METEC, THERMPROCESS and NEWCAST have almost covered the entire international market. Global players, small, innovative newcomers and providers of niche technology alike were all represented.” said Friedrich-Georg Kehrer, the Global Portfolio Director for Metals and Flow Technologies at Messe Düsseldorf GmbH.
Around 72 500 visitors from 118 countries were welcomed into the halls during the trade fair’s five-day run. 70% of the exhibitors hailed from abroad (65% in 2015) and 66% of the visitors came from foreign countries (62% in 2015).
Charles Coetzee and Thomas van der Meulen, both from Allied Mineral Products South Africa
“The demand for European metallurgy and casting technology is particularly strong overseas, especially in Asia. This is also reflected in the international country ranking: China and India edge to the top here, followed by Italy, Turkey, Japan, France and Russia. The mix of nations in our visitor and exhibitor demographics is a crucial factor for the success of the Bright World of Metals. Indeed, that’s what makes this quadruple trade fair so unique. GIFA, METEC, THERMPROCESS and NEWCAST are an absolute must for metallurgy and casting professionals from all over the world,” continued Kehrer.
Dipl.-Ing. Heinz Nelissen, President of GIFA and NEWCAST and CEO of Vesuvius GmbH Foseco Foundry Division, was quick to confirm this: “Right after the trade fair started, any remaining uncertainty caused by the economic slump simply lifted and the rush of visitors was enormous. The huge crowd of high-quality visitors from an incredibly diverse range of international countries was here to see the innovations from our exhibitors. Above all, digitalisation, automation, additive manufacturing and resource efficiency were the focal points of the talks. We undoubtedly proved that GIFA has reinforced this trade fair’s status as a global leader.”
Greg Estman and John Mannion, both from Viking Foundry with Markus Hagedorn of ABP Induction
GIFA/GMTN is always considered a yardstick for trendsetting innovations and underlines the importance of efficient production for foundry operations. Foundry owners and operators looking for productivity and advanced manufacturing technologies for their operations had a multitude of solutions to choose from amongst the various exhibitors. These included improved energy efficiencies, process monitoring, integrated automation and environmental considerations. The technological advances in equipment and processes showcased at GIFA/GMTN 2019 leaves no excuses for inefficient foundries in the future.
The next Bright World of Metals exhibition – GIFA/GMTN 2023 – will be held in June 2023. The exact dates will be set over the next few months.
Below are a selection of pictures from the exhibition and observations and opinions made by South African visitors and exhibitors.
Clinton Pretorius from Allied Mineral Products South Africa
Clinton Pretorius – Allied Mineral Products South Africa
“Allied Mineral Products, since its founding nearly 60 years ago, has grown into a global company and leading producer of monolithic refractory products. We serve multiple industries with a commitment to providing exceptional service and top-quality refractories and precast shapes.”
“Our presence at GIFA 2019 was aimed at drawing industry’s attention to, “What comes next”. It is undeniable that the future of refractories has evolved and will continue to challenge and take us to new unknown possibilities.”
“GIFA 2019, without a doubt, proved again that by bringing key OEMs and strategic partners together it created a solution driven platform for end-users to overcome and stretch all aspects of their unique business challenges and aspirations .The opportunity at GIFA allowed industries like foundries to explore more innovation ideas and solutions to help them become more competitive and of a world class standard in the face of tough local economic constraints and macro factors.”
“Allied Mineral Products was excited to engage with multiple end users on a daily bases. With the support of our global team, we could share success stories and tailor-made solutions unique to each potential customer.”
“I would like to thank all our South African visitors, both new and existing for visiting our booth and spending time with us. We are excited and ready for what comes next. We value your trust in Allied Mineral products to make us part of the journey.”
Joubert and Maurie Groenewald from Thos Begbie
Michael Saillard of MagmaSoft with Andrew McFarlane of Ametex
Andrew McFarlane – Ametex
“The 2019 GIFA exhibition was a well-coordinated event as it has been in the past. The perception on the Magma booths was that business was positive, which is reflected in the global castings consumption increase.”
“A high interest was experienced from the Asian and other developing economy regions, for both shape casting and continuous casting. Friends from the South African foundries seemed to conclude the exhibition had enough to offer to make a positive difference back home.”
“A good visit was from the University of Johannesburg. Benefits of what the virtual foundry process has to enrich the courses provided by the University were discussed.”
“There is much work to do back home. This includes informing the industry that local foundries can compete on a global scale, casting buyers and foundries can strengthen technical ties through the latest technical tools to optimise the entire casting supply chain and our industry can start growing again.”
Paul Mitchell from Sidermet
Ash Roopchand, Gary Coull and Fred Cooper, all from Pressure Die Castings
Trevor Zuma from Metso Minerals
Richard Conradie and Kevin van Niekerk of Lauds Foundry Equipment
Kevin van Niekerk – Lauds Foundry Equipment GmbH
“WOW what a show! This was a fantastic experience to exhibit among the best of the best.
Lauds Foundry Equipment GmbH was able to showcase our capability of supplying a superior German engineered and built product, to the world of foundry experts at GIFA 2019.”
“We had a compact stand for our first exhibition under our German wholly owned company. Our response from all who knew us and from those who did not was remarkable. We have attracted a variety of new international contacts, as well as local European contacts for the many systems we have to offer.”
“Our ability to supply a turnkey solution, custom-packaged as per clients’ requirements, made for many interesting enquiries. We have a solid future ahead of us here in Germany and we look forward to continuing our current growth path and in solidifying prospects, which came about during the GIFA.”
“Lauds will continue to grow our brand globally. Lauds Foundry Equipment GmbH offers a wonderful alternative with German designed foundry equipment. Our ability to respond and adapt gives us the advantage.”
“We have recently signed up three new partnering representatives and we are looking forward in the new opportunities in these countries. We believe we will be attending many more exhibitions and I believe we will showcase our strength and ability as we grow into a global preferred supplier year on year. Nothing happens overnight, but a huge amount happens with patience, perseverance and unfaltering dedication of the Lauds team. The utmost priority is our valued clients whom we view as partners, investing in their future.”
Cam Vorrath and Richard Seymour-Wright, both from Alliance Connect with Peter Dimopoulos of Wes Omega Sinto
Klaus Tille of Silca Refractory Solutions with Alex Saam of Silca South Africa
Warren Zandberg and Enno Krueger, both of Foseco South Africa with Genevieve Richez of Foseco in Europe
Colleen Singh, Samantha Le Roux, Helen Fernandes and Dudley de Beer, all of Insimbi Alloys
Dudley de Beer – Insimbi Alloy Supplies
“This was my fourth consecutive visit to GIFA, and clearly I still have not perfected the correct recipe to gain maximum benefit from this highly rated event.”
“As a trading/supply company, the purpose of our (Insimbi’s) attendance is twofold. Primarily to see as many of our suppliers and principals at one venue, and also to see if any new products or processes are worth investigating for the benefit of our customers.”
“Unlike previous trips where a somewhat flexible plan was envisaged, a concerted attempt was made this time, prior to the show, to confirm as many appointments as possible. Essentially this resulted in virtually having a meeting every hour from early AM to late PM on both of the first two days of the exhibition, with some overflow meetings on the Thursday.”
“The trick here is to attempt at clustering these meetings to specific and or adjoining halls. Something that we were woefully unsuccessful in doing, resulting in several long hot walks between Hall 5 and the rest of the Halls. Sadly this also resulted in me running out of time to stroll through and browse for prospects.”
“As a general overview, the exhibition was superb and spectacular as usual, but I did notice that several repeat exhibitors had booked smaller stands this year. Maybe this was a cost saving exercise?”
“I chatted to many delegates from various countries, and the most positive comments of how the various local metal industries are faring came from the Americans. I guess President Trump’s domestic policies may have merit after all.”
“In summation, once again a very valuable and worthwhile trip, notwithstanding the fact that our accommodation was too far from the Altstadt to partake in meaningful networking.”
Volker Hofmann of CeraNovis, Thomas Wiese of Ceramic & Alloy Specialists and Dr Frank Meyer of CeraNovis
Nadine Bloxsome of Aluminium International Today with Martin Reeves of Fontec Global
Dave Parsad and Raymond Keman, both from Inkunzi Foundry
Dave Parsad and Raymond Keman – Inkunzi Foundry
“We had heard of GIFA at many of our internal meetings but we never discussed attending GIFA 2019. It was a sudden agreement that Raymond Keman and I, Dave Parsad attend GIFA 2019. We were encouraged to do so for good reasons and for the benefit of our company by our third director Vishnu Partab.”
“Besides the ‘heat waves’ and no air-conditioning in our hotel we were very impressed with Düsseldorf. We also utilised the local transportation system with relative ease. The exhibition was phenomenal. We could not do justice in visiting every exhibition stand but nonetheless we have made many business contacts and will be in touch with them shortly.”
“Inkunzi Foundry prides itself with the products we cast and will certainly try our best to keep up with the latest technology and with the world markets. The acquisition of our own machine shop – Spare Parts Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd – earlier this year, has allowed us to offer our valued clients a ‘one stop shop’ service whereby they are able to deal with one supplier from cast product to final machined component ready for use.”
“As for GIFA 2023 we will certainly be looking forward to that trip.”
Donald Osmond of IMP
Pieter du Plessis of GEMCO South Africa
Rui and Victor Dias of Endeco Omega Sinto
Rui Dias – Endeco Omega Sinto
“I have attended numerous GIFA exhibitions and have been privileged enough to be able to be both a visitor as well as an exhibitor. Unlike previous years GIFA 2019 was very different.”
“I noticed that many exhibitors have totally embraced the concepts of the future age of doing work, by embracing and developing products that incorporate concepts like AI, Industry 4.0 and IoT.”
“What was very noticeable during my walk around the exhibition was that the corporations and businesses that have not invested in the ‘new’ concepts seemed to attract less interest and these stands looked unattractive and boring.”
“Disappointing was the reducing number of South African foundries supporting these events and whilst for many years technology remained stagnant with little or no development, this year seemed to reflect a quantum leap by the large groups, in development of new products and technologies.”
“We as a global company have invested largely in digitalisation and concepts for the ‘future’ foundry as it is anticipated to become, including all processes and protocols to be controlled by artificial intelligence and the use of technology to better perform the skill and art of foundry practice.”
“Endeco Omega Sinto, as part of the Sintokogio Group all subscribe to the “One Sinto” motto and that is to assist industry in embracing future technologies whilst always taking account of the effect on people and the environment.”
“At GIFA 2019, we launched a new product, the Robotic Sand Mill. This product is the start of technology for the future of the ‘patternless’ foundry, especially for foundries that have patterns made and don’t use these patterns regularly.”
“Sinto also launched technology called “Sinto Smart Foundry” where the complete moulding process is controlled by technology. This technology assists in ensuring an ideal casting production process.”
“Noticeable and a feature and culture of this exhibition that has never changed, is the networking that happens at the famous Altstadt after a long day at the Messe. Whether it is visitors, exhibitors, customers, suppliers or stakeholders in the industry, you are sure to meet a familiar face in the Altstadt.”
“In conclusion, I believe that this GIFA was the start of the process of the ‘future of the modern casting’ process. The continuity will be reflected in the future editions of the exhibition all be it at the cost of huge investment by leading groups in the melting, moulding, consumables and other down-stream industries. Exciting times ahead. See you at GIFA 2023.”
Bruce Hansmeyer of Keegor Meltech with Tarik Gonen and Bernd Sieberhagen, both from Morgan Advanced Materials and Eddie Short of Keegor Meltech
Andre Brisley and Quentin Taylor, both from Intocast South Africa
Michael Grant, Vanesse Machill and Frans Cronje, all from DataProphet
Vanesse Machill – DataProphet
“As a first-time exhibitor at GIFA, the DataProphet team was very impressed by the event overall. With over 70 000 visitors and some very impressive exhibitions, the opportunities to network with potential customers and partners were even better than anticipated.”
“We were invited by our European partner, pour-tech AB, to showcase our AI-enabled visual inspection system on their booth. pour-tech did a great job at designing a welcoming, attractive booth, and our demo station added even more excitement throughout each day.”
“The team was overwhelmed by the interest from visitors and were barely keeping up with the demand for more information and further explanation on what they were seeing.”
“The live demo consisted of four DataProphet Inspect stations, each with a surface that displayed various types of defective parts (from small grey iron parts through to brake disks). A structure looking down on the parts consisted of a camera (with our AI software running in the backend), a projector to highlight where the AI model has found a defect and a TV screen for confirmation.”
“The visitors were amazed by the accuracy of the model, especially considering that it was in a live and uncontrolled environment. As our model was already trained on thousands of defect types, we were also able to demonstrate the defect detection on photos of parts that visitors had on their mobile phones, simply by holding their phones up at the camera. This really got the crowd excited!”
“Overall, it has been one of the best events that we have done so far. The overall interest and feedback, from prospective customers and partners, and even industry peers, has been phenomenal. We hope that all who attended/exhibited at GIFA had the same success and inspiration, and we look forward to the next one.”
Eddie and Andrew Ryan, both from Sigma Wear Parts
Adrian Pearson, Brendan Homann and Claude du Toit, all from Mineral Zone
Brendan Homann – Mineral Zone
“GIFA is a ‘must do’ event for Mineral Zone. It offers us the unique platform to see our suppliers and customers from around the globe in one place over the exhibition week. Mineral Zone is successful because of our relationships on both sides of the sales spectrum and GIFA allows us to revisit old and new friends, and cement our relationships. In an ever-changing world of instant messaging and technology subscribing to instant gratification, it’s so important to bring a human touch and to be present.”
“Exhibitions such as GIFA encourage innovation and cooperation between customers, suppliers and competitors alike. It was a technical eye-opener for us to see the new developments being made around the world, new ideas in products and machinery. Not only did this add fuel to thought about the South African industry, but we found new ideas to tackle markets and encourage growth in a slow economy.”
“As a supplier to the industry we should be constantly re-inventing the way we do business, working together to encourage growth. A stand out theme for us at GIFA is the cooperative approach the industry is taking internationally. Together the industry grows stronger and bigger and more successful. These are the very roots of the Mineral Zone foundation.”
“It’s reassuring to see South Africa’s significance in the global foundry and metallurgical industry. I was surprised to see how much interest there is in South Africa as a producer and as a supplier beyond our borders. The South African industry is extremely well respected and we were encouraged to find a global eagerness to work with us.”
Tshiamo Molele from Prima Industrial
Graham Evans and Ernest Mberi, both from Independent Mineral Distributors with Conrad Els of Ore & Metal Company
Graham Evans – Independent Mineral Distributors
“This was our fifth consecutive stand at GIFA and again we were very happy with the turnout and response. We had a steady flow of people from all corners of the globe through our stand well into the Friday and were impressed by the broad coverage from customers, friends, associates and new interested potential customers.”
“As was to be expected due to the strong growth in the Indian foundry industry there was a huge number of Indian visitors and they seemed to be enjoying the range of suppliers and technology on offer at GIFA. I was amazed at the strong showing from China, around 600 companies exhibiting and over 4 000 personnel attending GIFA. Such a pity that South Africa’s dti chose not to attend or support a South African delegation.”
“We survived the heat wave, entertained customers and made new or renewed contacts. We will be back for sure in 2023.”
Scott Melville of Cerefco in the centre with Martin Volkwyn and Dennis Marx, both of Grinding Media South Africa
Scott Melville – Cerefco
“The Inductotherm Group has been attending the GIFA and Thermprocess shows for decades and it’s always been a great opportunity for us to meet with our customers from around the world. No matter how much the world digitises, there’s nothing more important than establishing and maintaining personal relationships with our customers and partners,” said Gary Doyon, CEO of Inductotherm Group.
“At the show we had 70 project managers from 21 countries, speaking over 30 languages to support our international visitors at GIFA 2019 and Thermprocess. Our team met with over
1 000 customers. All day long there were handshakes and smiles, discussions about technology advances, conversations about future projects, and even business deals,” noted Satyen Prabhu, Group Vice President of Inductotherm Group.
“The Inductotherm Group displayed 11 pieces of equipment, including the Inductotherm 175kW VIP power supply with iSense data visualisation system demonstration, a 750 kW VIP power supply with IoT capabilities and a Tilt-Pour Furnace. Also on display was a Thermatool HCT (HazControl Technology) welder, a Consarc 20kg Clamshell vacuum induction melting (VIM) furnace, an inductoscan platinum induction scanner, an inductoforge modular billet heater, a Merlin field joint heating and coating system and a Statipower IFP (Independent Frequency and Power) induction power supply,” explained Scott Melville.
“Our customers love to ‘kick the tyres’ so to speak, so it’s always important to them to see our equipment ‘live’, open the doors and talk through our advanced technologies. But we also provided 22 touchscreens loaded with over 500 pieces of content so we could do a deeper dive into the technologies and advancements we provide, and discuss how we align with our customers’ industry advancements,” continued Gary Doyon.
“We want our customers to experience our equipment in a whole new light, so we created a ton of really advanced digital experiences. There was a queue for our virtual reality experience of welding technologies, as well as our extended reality ‘virtual tours’ of a bar line, vacuum atomiser and forge shop. Our customers loved our digital representations of welding lines, bar heaters, strip heaters, forging lines and melt shops,” said Bernard Raffner, Group Vice President and President of the Long Products Division.
“We love greeting and meeting our customers and potential customers from around the world and can’t wait for 2023!” concluded Gary Doyon.
Sibusiso Zwane and Jacques Swanepoel, both of ChemSystems with Frank Coenen and Harry Schunk, both of ASK Chemicals
Marinda de Villiers and Eugene Rossouw, both of Thos Begbie
Eugene Rossouw – Thos Begbie
“With the lack of funding for a national South African pavilion, Thos Begbie decided to exhibit in the METEC portion of the exhibition. From my perspective the type of visitor to our stand was very different to those who previously visited our stand when we were located in the GIFA halls.”
“Thos Begbie were exhibiting something technologically new and different to sell as opposed to exhibiting the capacity of our foundry. I hope this subtle distinction is understood. In the past I think we were demonstrating our ability to make sophisticated castings, this time we exhibited the technology that enables us to make the sophisticated cast components in our South African foundry.”
“The application of the use of a composite type cooling approach with the engineered graphite attached to our cast copper components generated a substantial amount of interest.”
“In addition to the meeting up with several existing customers we also met with prospective new customers and will see a few non-disclosure agreements being concluded in the next few weeks as we have follow-up meetings and discussions with them.”
“One of the potentially exciting opportunities was a meeting facilitated by one of our large international customers operating out of Germany. They are one of the leading European furnace and metal engineering groups. Prior to the meeting with them outside of the GMTN exhibition they initiated that personnel from the research institution Aachen University (with more than 42 000 students enrolled in 144 study programmes, it is the largest technical University in Germany) visit our stand and discuss the copper/graphite application for possible installation of a panel in their development furnace for performance evaluation.”
“I believe that we will see business being generated in future as a result of our presence at the exhibition. Given the nature of the exhibition we do not conclude orders directly at the exhibition but our presence and presentation kept us in the forefront of recognition as a global manufacturer when the developers and engineers of the furnaces consider new or upgrading of existing equipment in the smelters and plants.”
“With regard to the development of our employees and their enthusiasm to the embracing of new technologies and approaches within our business itself, we had a sizeable number of employees visit the exhibition. There has been much discussion around the Fourth Industrial Revolution and to my mind by having a diverse group of people from our foundry see what new developments there are available in a single exhibition, allows them to understand what the concept is and to what extent we will be able to introduce these developments in our business.”
“The employee groups were tasked with specific areas to investigate. The foundry team looked at melting equipment, furnace equipment, lining material, crucibles, moulding equipment, sleeves, blasting media (environmentally friendly), 3D printing and artificial intelligence, fettling equipment, riser cutting equipment, cutting equipment and user-friendly planning programmes.”
“The machining team looked at machining tools, machine measurement equipment, cutting machines, automated bending machine for both coil manufacturing and bus tube fabrications, robotic welding for butt welding, artificial intelligence and quality control measuring equipment.”
“Given the diversity of technologies most of these objectives were identified. The technology that made a massive impression was the robotic machining of the cope and drag moulds, thus replacing the need for pattern equipment. Given the nature of the bespoke production of castings we produce, we could have use for this type of technology in our business.”
“The 3D printing of cores, previously identified with an application in our foundry, was again reinforced. What was noted was the lack of non-European exhibitors embracing this technology. We expected to see Chinese exhibitors promoting their versions of 3D printing equipment and the associated technology. However, the significant presence of Chinese exhibitors in the various halls was noted. In the main most of these Chinese foundry exhibitors were showcasing their ability to make castings rather than innovative technological advancements.”
Mark Hughes, Peter Willers and Carlos Palinhos, all of RelyIntracast
Terence Stopforth and Marc Hindle, both of McWade Productions
Terence Stopforth – McWade Productions
“With McWade Productions operating as a non-ferrous sand and gravity die-cast foundry we found many exhibitors at this year’s GIFA that were of interest to us.”
“No doubt one of the most interesting exhibits was that of the MagmaSoft stand. We met with Andrew McFarlane from Ametex and were shown in detail the capabilities of Magma, which were very impressive. We were also invited by Andrew to join the Magma boat cruise down the Rhine with some other South African colleagues, which was most enjoyable.”
“On the equipment side it was interesting to see that Endeco Omega Sinto have joined the Sinto Group. Their stand was very interesting and a vast array of products was on display. The virtual reality foundry display was good fun as well.”
“Lauds Foundry Equipment also had a stand and we spent some time with Kevin van Niekerk discussing a few projects that we may have coming up in the near future.”
“On the foundry chemical side we met with Dipanker Raychaudhuri from FP Speciality, our current chemical supplier, and touched bases on the new developments Forace are making and how they will benefit us as a sand foundry going forward. We also learned that Forace will be bringing in some products of interest for our aluminium die cast foundry in 2019.”
“Foseco once again had a fantastic stand with some really interesting displays. Warren Zandberg and Enno Krueger took us around and we were most impressed with their new rotary degasser.”
“All in all the show was quite impressive. There were plenty of new innovations in automation and some impressive equipment on display, to say the least, especially on the furnace side. We found the sales and technical personnel manning the stands to be very willing to assist and technically very knowledgeable regarding their products and processes.”
“From a social point, getting around Düsseldorf is an absolute pleasure, everything works. Evenings spent in the Aldstadt were also most memorable.”
Kulani Mageza of UJ Metal Casting Technology Station
Kulani Mageza – UJ Metal Casting Technology Station
“Attending a prestigious event such as GIFA always brings a learning experience on how far the metal casting industry has gone in terms of development. GIFA 2019 was characterised by the reality of the 4IR where exhibitors and technical presentations showcased advancement on how well they have incorporated and embraced the 4IR. To get into this level where machine and human work very closely together to achieve efficiency in production is an indication of the amount of research and development that has gone through to develop the technology.”
“In my view the digital age has arrived and is here to stay. As a country we need to partake in this digital age through technology transfer, digital skills development and foundry support programmes in order to be responsive to the global competition.”
“Again the GIFA organisers had outdone themselves by organising such an amazing exhibition where time is always a constraint to go through all the halls.”
Zelda du Preez of Rand York Minerals
Hans Joubert of Mineral-Loy
Cliff van Eeden and Mike Robinson, both from the Durrans RMS Group with Chris Durrans of James Durrans & Sons