All about aluminium – a trio of perspectives on China Diecasting 2018

IT Published

Aluminium experts from Norican Group descended upon Shanghai New International Expo Center for China Diecasting which took place between the 18th and 20th July 2018.

To share some of the industry trends and latest thinking from the fast evolving Chinese market – we interviewed three Norican Group experts at the event. Here’s what they had to say:

Italpresse Gauss – Julen Yang, Sales Director

What’s your assessment of the die casting industry in China?

China has a strong, expanding market that has doubled in size over the last 10 years. Looking at the number of high pressure die casting producers here, I think there is a huge opportunity in China with regards the manufacture of high quality structural parts.

This opportunity is made much more exciting because of shifts in the automotive industry towards lightweight aluminium in order to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. As a consequence, demand has increased exponentially for light alloy castings, particularly for structural parts needed to create the green cars of the future.

Equally importantly, China is shifting from a high quantity to a high quality approach in a move that embraces innovation, automation and more sustainable ways of doing things.

All of this means there is a growing need for the very latest Industry 4.0 techniques and an intelligent data driven approaches.

To this end, Italpresse Gauss is well positioned to assist Chinese die casting customers as they enter the next phase of innovation.

How has the industry reacted to Italpresse Gauss at the show?

Automation is a big subject in China, with generational changes and wage pressures providing added impetus to the constant search for cost efficiencies. As such we’ve had a very positive reaction to our automated cells which integrate peripheral devices, turning individual components into complete cells operating an automatic working cycles and are managed from one integrated control system.

Likewise, sustainability is an issue that is growing in prominence, so our ECO-FIT system has resonated with audiences here. ECO-FIT Mode and ECO-FIT Plus integrate into the machine and regulate hydraulic pumps within the hardware to lower energy consumption, reduce hydraulic fluid temperatures and lower noise levels. This helps to save energy, reduce costs and create a cleaner working environment which is becoming ever more important for Chinese employees.

Perhaps most noticeable though, the desire for a more informed diagnostics, data analysis and energy saving means our user-friendly HMe system for machine control and real-time storage of large amounts of data – as well as our AMe app for live remote maintenance and service assistance – garnered a lot of interest from audiences. 

What was your reaction from customers at the show?

It was fantastic to speak to our customers in China and receive feedback. The overall sentiment from our conversations is that after joining the Norican Group, Italpresse Gauss has become more responsive, which is very positive to hear. We have made huge efforts to listen to our customers and tap into the Norican network to provide local support services, both of which are paying off.

According to customers at the show, our performance has significantly improved with regards speed of response.

Knowledge sharing and product synergies within the Norican Group are also intriguing customers. Expertise in digital and Industry 4.0 is one thing – but actually combining the benefits of Italpresse Gauss die casting equipment with the melting technology of StrikoWestofen is a particularly compelling proposition.

Italpresse Gauss’ large three-platen high-pressure die casting machines in the IP series produce high-end, complex aluminium castings in highly sophisticated production environments. They can be supplied as fully automated, highly-integrated cells. They also happily integrate with StrikoWestofen’s Westomat Classic dosing furnace. Here customers benefit not only from integration possibilities, they unlock servicing and maintenance advantages.

StrikoWestofen – Peter Reuther, Senior Vice President

It’s your first time at China Diecasting, so how have you found the event?

China is one of the biggest, most exciting and fastest growing international markets. If you want to be active in the high pressure aluminium die casting industry – you have to be active in China.

Lots of our customers attend China Diecasting so it’s great for relationship building, but of course we also showcase new technologies and talk to visitors about everything from the general direction of the industry, right through to their specific challenges. It’s great to be surrounded by those in the industry seeking to push boundaries and do things better.

For StrikoWestofen, it was exciting to exhibit with the Norican Group alongside Italpresse Gauss to present the complete aluminium foundry solution. This is an exciting step change and a compelling offer we were delighted to present here at China Diecasting.

Tell us a bit more about the products you displayed…

For the first time we’ve shown BigStruc, Westomat  and Schnorkle together – so we wanted to gauge reaction and discuss the solutions with customers and delegates.

These three products link together directly to create a smooth and seamless process covering melting, transfer and dosing of aluminium. Showing them as a seamless model resonated with attendees to as it visually demonstrates how they work together.

Our new BigStruc melter is very well suited to the market here in China as it enables large returned material to be melted without having to cut it down beforehand. The BigStruc allows extremely large structural components and recycled parts up to 2.5 m² to be melted with very low metal loss and energy consumption.

Westomat’s ability to slash energy costs made it another hit with visitors to the stand. Requiring just a third of the energy consumed by automatic ladle systems using holding furnaces, the system also improves dosing accuracy and reduces the metal loss by about 80 % in comparison with a holding furnace.

However, I think there’s a particular opportunity on the Chinese market for Schnorkle, which is our closed transport system. The innovation makes accidental overflow or unsafe tilting a thing of the past when transferring molten metal to the dosing furnace. When we presented our overview of Schnorkle, a lot of people were very very interested.

Norican Group – Mr. Baohua Wei, Senior Vice President Asia Pacific DISA and Wheelabrator 

What have you found most exciting about Norican Group's participation in this exhibition?

It’s fantastic to see that the Norican Group is gaining more recognition from the market. Until recently in the die casting industry, the name Norican was not well known.

With the industry gaining ever more understanding, 2018 is the first year that our key aluminium equipment brands – Italpresse Gauss and StrikoWestofen have exhibited together at China Diecasting so it marks an important step forwards at one of the most important trade fairs for die casting industry in China.

The completeness of the expertise offered in our Group covers everything from melt to surface preparation. This means visitors to our stand have been able to gain the big picture as well as granular level insight into specific challenges and how they can be solved with cutting-edge machinery and innovative Industry 4.0 systems.

The unification of all of this aluminium die casting knowledge under one roof is truly game-changing so it was very exciting to present it at China Diecasting.

What are the priority focusses of Norican Group looking ahead?

The increasing need for system integration, digital advancement and data insight are the reasons we decided to launch Norican Digital earlier this year.

What we’re seeing within the industry is a growing ability to visualise production data, but foundries are struggling to intelligently action or utilise this data to inform decision making.

Importantly to solve this challenge, you need to have digital and integration expertise, but you also need to understand the process in the foundry which is where Norican Digital is well positioned.

Within the Norican Group, we have knowledge of machinery and customer processes, and we can provide much better support to customers because we can not only visualise and analyse the data – we can also give recommendations on how to improve processes to increase manufacturing productivity.

Looking ahead we’re developing digital data solutions so we can provide the very best consultancy to customers.