The machinery industry is expected to see exponential growth in the country and thus provide immense opportunities, according to Kevin R. Thieneman, Managing Director and Country Manager – India and ASEAN Region of Cater Pillar.

At the inaugural of the two-day Foundry Conclave, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here on Friday on the theme “Coming of Age: 4 to 3”, he said that however, one of the concerns was the need for environmental certainty. Further, energy shortage was resulting in several foundries operating at lesser capacities. The logistics cost in India was also high. There was a need to accelerate road connections and complete the new rail connections. The industries would have to adopt world-class technology.

Mr. Thieneman urged the foundries to improve shop floor management to increase productivity and to look at investment in technology to reduce costs.

C.R. Swaminathan, Chairman of the National Foundry Conclave, said that in Coimbatore, the industry had developed to tap the export potential too. Foundries here were looking at modern technology and offered a variety of castings. Many of them were looking at vertical integration.

There were about 50,000 foundries globally, producing nearly 80 million tonnes of castings a year. India was now part of the global casting suppliers and hence the foundries should be aware of the global trends. Cost of castings in India was higher by 30 per cent compared to China and Brazil, he said.

N. Krishna Samaraj, Co-Chairman of the conclave, said India was now the fourth largest casting producer globally and by 2012, it was expected to overtake Russia and become the third, after China and the U.S. The Indian foundry industry was growing in size and skills and along with it came responsibilities and sustainability too. India was quickly becoming a high cost country and that was a major challenge. The Indian foundries were facing deficiency in infrastructure, high power, infrastructure and transaction costs. Labour and skill costs were going up consistently, he said.

J. Balamurugan, Chairman of CII, Coimbatore Zone, said the foundry conclave series was started in 2002 as the sector was significant to this region and was growing fast. The event had over 280 registrations this year. S. C. Sarkar, Vice-Chairman of the CII, Coimbatore Zone, gave the closing remarks.

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