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Interventions in Foundry Sector
 
Foundry Sector
 
Background
Pouring molten metal into a mould
Tapping metal from a DBC


Foundry industry is an important segment of the small and micro enterprises in the country. It is important from many points of views: employment, exports, linkages with the infrastructure sector, and energy and environmental issues. Of the 4500 foundry units in the country, nearly 95% are in the small-scale sector. The sector provides employment to an estimated half a million people. Exports of iron castings during 2003/04 was Rs 1925 crore (USD 442 million). The ‘Energy Sector Study’ undertaken by TERI during 1994/95 observed low resource efficiencies, lack of modern technologies and associated pollution in foundry sector. The foundry sector, thus, was marked as an area of intervention by TERI, with support from SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) to address energy and environmental issues. The overall objectives of the intervention at that time were enhancement of energy efficiency and reduction of stack emissions.

Diagnostic studies and project strategy

Pouring molten metal into a mould
Manual charging is still prevalent in some clusters

The genesis of these interventions, however, lay in an earlier effort in the form of a diagnostic study to shortlist some sectors of intervention. Initial surveys included many other sectors besides foundry. After the study was completed, a screening workshop was held with the stakeholders for the purpose of short-listing sector.

The action plan was developed with the stakeholder participation. It was decided to intervene in the foundry sector at the melting furnace stage, where the maximum energy is generally consumed. The initial surveys of energy usage in Agra foundries had revealed that low energy efficiency mainly in the iron melting furnaces or the cupolas. The low energy efficiency was mainly due to the older technology, improper design, and wrong selection of combustion air blower. It was decided that an energy-efficient DBC (divided blast cupola) would be demonstrated as a possible solution for foundries to both cut costs and reduce energy (coke) consumption.

 

 
Knowledge exchange: Rajkot entrepreneurs visit Coimbatore engineering cluster
Rajkot delegates at Techno4 2010 exhibition

TERI strives to build upon and upscale the benefits of its ongoing work in the MSME sector under CoSMiLE, by synergizing these benefits with other initiatives aimed at development of the sector through technology improvement, knowledge sharing, and capacity building. One such initiative is the Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) project being implemented by TERI in the Coimbatore foundry cluster, which focuses on promoting energy efficient melting technologies such as the TERI-designed DBC through technology demonstration and the building of cluster-level capacities. Another is the World Bank-led multi- agency/multiactivity project to improve the access of small and medium enterprises (SME) to finance and business development services (BDS), being implemented jointly by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and TERI in two SME clusters—the Rajkot engineering cluster and the Chandigarh– Mohali–Panchkula ‘tricity’ engineering cluster.

As an example of this synergetic approach, a team of seven delegates from the Rajkot engineering cluster, comprising entrepreneurs and BDS providers associated with foundries and pump manufacturing industries, visited Coimbatore – a hub of engineering industries including foundries and pump manufacturing units – from 9 to 11 April 2010. The visit was organized by the SIDBI–Rajkot project. During their tour, the delegates visited prominent pump manufacturing industries in the industrial estate at Coimbatore. They were deeply impressed by the high levels of quality maintained in the plants, and by the exemplary work culture.

Rajkot delegates at Coindia centre

The delegates also interacted with the office bearers of Coimbatore Industrial Infrastructure Association (COINDIA), a very dynamic and successful association of MSME entrepreneurs of Coimbatore, who shared their experiences with the visiting delegates and also inspired the office bearers of the Rajkot Engineering Association (REA) to replicate their own successful strategies.

The delegates were particularly fascinated by the development and manufacturing related services provided by COINDIA to the local industry such as training, testing, sand reclamation facilities for small foundries, rapid prototyping, and tool room facilities. The delegates also visited Small Industries’ Testing and Research Centre (Si’Tarc), an NABL-accredited testing and calibration laboratory having facilities for testing and development of pump designs.

The highlight of the tour was a visit to a technology exhibition – ‘Techno4 2010’– that showcased the products, technologies, and services related to four engineering sectors: pumps and ancillary equipments, motor and rotating machines, foundry, and the light engineering industry. The event was organized by Orbitz Exhibitions in association with SIEMA (Southern India Engineering Manufacturers’ Association). Visitors at the exhibition included CEOs, senior executives from industry, engineering companies, consultants, R&D professionals, manufacturers, technocrats, advisors, and policy makers. There were around 200 exhibitors, 50 overseas participants, and more than 100 000 global visitors at the exhibition. The event provided the Rajkot delegates
with a great opportunity to learn about new technologies, products and services, share knowledge, and network with entrepreneurs and BDS providers from elsewhere in India and abroad.