The Institute of Indian Foundrymen (IIF) was set up in 1950 to promote education, research, training and development to Indian foundrymen and to serve as a nodal point of reference between the customers and suppliers of the Indian foundry industry on a global scale. With its Headquarter in Kolkata, IIF presently services the entire country through its 26 Chapters under four Regional Offices located at Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai & Chennai. The Institute is a member of the World Foundrymen Organisation (WFO) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Vikas Garg, President – IIF told Sandeep Menezes that more & more foundries are switching not only to induction furnaces but also to gas fired furnaces.
Excerpts from the interview:
What is the currently evolving scenario across the foundry industry nationwide?
The industry at present is operating at various levels of operational efficiencies. Few units are world class but a large number of units need to make paradigm shift in their business operations .The market needs and trends are changing very fast, now the customers not only demand competitive cost but also look forward for value addition in reference to faster response time for development of new products.
As the customers currently have started questioning on the cost of rejections and wastages, the industry needs to deploy latest manufacturing and design tools which are capital intensive and out of reach of SMEs. Therefore more & more industries need to partner to create common facilities in foundry clusters to enable access such facilities to sustain and grow.
With “Make in India” several global manufacturing will shift to India which will demand excellence in all operational areas & the Institute of Indian Foundrymen is playing the role of facilitator in improving the competitiveness of the sector through various initiatives.
What are the main challenges facing the Indian foundry industry? How can these challenges be mitigated, reduced?
The Indian Foundry Sector is undergoing through various challenges like:
- Access to capital at competitive terms for upgradation
- Availability of quality & continuous power
- Availability of Sand due to mining issues
- Increasing environmental costs
- Lack of organized modern training facilities
- Lack of awareness of efficient energy & resource management
While the first two are common to all industry sectors, other issues are specific to foundry sector. IIF is trying to disseminate information on new technologies, best practices and is promoting lean manufacturing, efficient resource & energy management in clusters. IIF is also promoting cluster formation & creation of common facilities for recycling of sand & waste recycling, modern manufacturing & testing facilities and promoting skill development in those clusters.
IIF also disseminates knowledge on various support schemes for the benefit of the members which can be used for improving their competitiveness. IIF actively engages with the various stakeholders for policy advocacy to help promote the foundry sector which is vital to support manufacturing sector as a whole
How difficult is technology adoption since around 95% of units across the foundry industry belong to MSME segment?
The MSMEs lack the financial strength for investments in latest technologies; therefore the role of partnerships by forming clusters is important. The clusters help create synergies & common facilities which otherwise will be difficult to access due to high capital cost of such equipment / technologies and low profit margins of SMEs
Several Govt’s support schemes are available which can be used by forming clusters which are legal entities & the common facilities so created can be used by cluster members at nominal fees which go back to furthering the cluster activities
There is growing awareness about environment & many foundries are switching over to induction furnaces. Comment
The foundries are fully aware of the environmental issues therefore more & more foundries are switching not only to induction furnaces but also to gas fired furnaces
It is not only the type of furnace or equipment you use but also how efficiently you use it makes the impact on environment
Even the product design makes the difference. If you design a product which needs less metal, less energy required for melting and therefore less carbon footprint. Recycling, waste reduction and reuse can bring a drastic change.
There is growing awareness for use of energy, efficient lights and other equipment which enable the industry to be still more environment friendly
Are there any initiatives to increase skill levels of workers employed in the foundry industry?
IIF has dedicated Centre of Education & training at Kolkata which conducts various skill development programmes on regular basis. A modular training programme is also conducted leading to graduation in foundry technology recognised by the Ministry of HRD
IIF is also in discussion with the Ministry of MSME for various initiatives in this area. IIF regularly conducts various technical seminars through its 27 chapters across the country to give exposure to the best practices & latest development in foundry technology.
Kolhapur chapter has also initiated various skill development programmes supported by local government in association with the polytechnic institute. Such exemplary initiative needs to be replicated and up scaled.
What have been IIF’s main achievements in recent years? Going forward, tell us about IIFs proposed plans or initiatives for the foundry industry?
IIF has been pursuing policy advocacy with the government effectively. As a result the government has recently notified constitution of Foundry Development Council Chaired by Secretary DIPP which will further help in policy formulation to enable sustainable growth of the sector and to support manufacturing
IIF has recently been accredited as BMO (Business Member Organization) under Gold Category based on assessment of internal procedures & the services rendered to the members and the foundry fraternity
Lean Manufacturing programmes are being pursued in various clusters to help them improve their competitiveness. Besides this, IIF has been regularly coming out with several useful technical publications on various topics of interest to the shop floor managers, supervisors & workers. Skill development, Efficient energy & resource management, recycling, waste reduction are other important focus areas
IIF is also planning to take a business delegation in June 2015 to the largest international foundry event GIFA at Dusseldorf Germany to give platform to the Indian Foundry fraternity to explore new international partnerships & business opportunities
We estimate that the demand for castings will become three fold in next 10 years .Therefore there is great opportunity IIF will continue to act as key enabler for the foundry sector to make it even stronger & globally competitive & to enable it to contribute significantly to Manufacturing in India