GIFA 2015 provides an ideal platform to network and learn

This issue of Castings SA has some very interesting articles on current issues that our industry faces, and South African businesses as a whole. The first of these is on Wahl Industries which has taken the major challenge of the cost of gas and electricity and an unstable supply of power head on and installed a 300kwp Roof Top Grid-Tied Photovoltaic Solar System. The company has reported that the solar power installation will supply 39% of the company’s current electricity requirements. The bottom line is that Wahl Industries will in future be contributing to saving the environment and making savings of more than R1 million per annum. The payback period is about five to six years.

The installation might not be solving the company’s unstable power supply but is contributing significantly. Currently the company runs on an ‘idle’ situation over the weekend, so does not ‘harvest’ any solar power in this period. This could change though in the future when and if Government allows industry to supply into the grid. Wahl Industries and other progressive companies like them could then realise even more savings.

This is particularly pertinent if you read the story from a disgruntled reader who spells it out as he sees the imminent Eskom and municipal tariff increases, as well as an increase in the so called “environmental levy”, which in essence is another form of tax on those that actually work and pay for their services.

Another story is on Cape Town based Simple Active Tactics, a company that has achieved a breakthrough and has found a way to take waste material from foundries, recycle it and then return it to the value stream. The company is processing the shot blast waste stream to be sold into diverse markets including re-use as blasting abrasives, metal refining (as a source of iron), the ferro alloy industries, ballast for offshore drilling rigs, water treatment chemicals, brake pads and welding rods for example.

Further on there is the report where a USA engineering firm is putting foundry sands to work as low-permeability landfill lining, again to reduce landfill costs and reuse foundry byproducts. In this case the company says that properly hydrated and compacted bentonite-laden sands can be used safely and effectively as a low water permeability barrier product.

On the eve of the most important international exhibition for the foundry industry – GIFA (GMTN) 2015 – which takes place in Düsseldorf, Germany in June, it’s encouraging to note that the exhibition will again be well attended by South Africans. To date I have compiled a list of 177 names that I know of who have committed to attend. In comparison to the exhibition four years ago, this is 50 more. There will also be a number of names that will surface in the next month and there will be others that you will bump into while at the exhibition, that are not on the list.

GIFA is a must exhibition to visit, as it is the platform to view all the developments in our industry and network with your peers, but more importantly down the line maybe I will have further success stories to report on that have emanated from someone’s visit to GIFA.