The Cast Metals Federation (CMF) has members from every part of the industry, who produce around 85% of all castings produced in the UK. “From global foundry groups to small jobbing foundries, our members supply the precision finished parts and assemblies that go into all parts of the modern manufacturing supply chain,” explained Pam Murrell, CEO.
“We also recognise our role in promoting the services of our members to the wider manufacturing and engineering supply chains, and showcasing casting as a near net shape, flexible and cost effective route to manufacture. For those seeking the ‘Best of British Casting’ the CMF can provide a single point of contact, whether for sourcing castings for every application and market sector or general information on the activities of the UK foundry industry.”
Currently, the CMF is actively working with its members on a University led project aimed at reducing the amount of waste sand and other materials that can end up in landfill. “The industry already recycles the majority of the sand that is used to make casting moulds but we have this project underway to try to increase this further and at the same time to explore new uses for this waste sand, such as construction,” Pam explained.
“With the drive to net-zero we shall also be working closely with the Government to ensure that our sector is part of the solution to this and has a clear roadmap to remain competitive and resource efficient so the UK avoids carbon leakage.”
As well as this, the CMF is focusing on skills development to help secure the future of the industry. The CMF already has a programme of leadership and management development but is now also offering some technical training in diecasting via a blended learning platform, as this is an area where training provision is unfortunately lacking.
This includes a suite of courses for technicians, apprentices, designers and casters to help improve their knowledge and understanding of the die casting process. These courses feature the fundamentals of the HPDC process, as well as more in depth and detailed topics such as die and process design, die casting defects and how to avoid them, setting process parameters for optimum quality and die layout, and much more.
Indeed, for an industry that is valued at over £2.2 billion, this drive to continue its legacy is essential. The CMF is also planning on doing more to encourage apprenticeships in the industry using the National Foundry Training Centre to support this. “We can collectively, as an industry, do more to improve the often somewhat old fashioned image of the industry as dirty and uninteresting, building on some work we have done on promoting ‘Casting the Future’ through some kits that our foundries can use in schools.
“The industry has changed markedly in recent years, becoming cleaner and greener, more automated and with greater use made of simulation modelling and additive manufacturing techniques, and there are some great careers to be had for those who like making things and solving problems.”
This is all in addition to the CMF’s work in supporting the Government’s innovation strategy and levelling up agenda to improve the competitiveness and resilience of UK manufacturing businesses. “This is through projects or incentives to encourage greater use of local supply chains for public and private procurement. These supply chains are often complex and are largely unseen, plus they are dominated by SMEs which can make it difficult to engage with.
“The value of local UK sourcing right down supply chains has a wider economic value in local jobs and skills that should be recognised in procurement for national infrastructure and strategically significant projects. This is where trade associations like the CMF can play an active role in supporting reshoring and local sourcing.”
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