22 Aug Castings Industry Contributes to Circular Economy: Resource Efficiency Evident in UK Foundry Sector

The contribution foundries make to the circular economy is even greater than originally thought, thanks to efficient production methods and recycling of a host of materials, confirms the latest census of the UK castings industry.

Cast metals companies already contribute to the circular economy, taking scrap metal and re-using it to make new highly engineered components through liquid metal engineering. “We know that the UK is a net exporter of steel scrap for instance, but this is a valuable and permanent resource (since metals are infinitely recyclable and retain their inherent value) that we can take advantage of and should not squander. The fact that scrap metal, both ferrous and non-ferrous, is derived from so many sources, including cars at the end of their life, as well as reinforced steel from demolished buildings and waste from other metals processing operations such as pressing and machining, confirms the vital role that our foundries are playing in taking this ‘scrap’ and re-processing it – otherwise it would have to be exported or disposed of in some other way,” said Pam Murrell, CEO of the Cast Metals Federation (CMF) at the recent launch of the UK Casting Industry Census, published by CMF.

“With internal scrap levels of less than 5% and customer returns of 1.14%, our census has confirmed that UK foundries are running efficient companies, with close control of their operations.”

The census also reports that it is not just metal that is re-used – internal sand reclamation by sand foundries is also almost 48%. “Whist this is a good figure, it also represents an opportunity,” states Mike Naylor, MD of Durham Foundry Ltd and CMF Chairman. “We know that more sand could be re-used both internally in foundries but also as a raw material for other industries, such as in construction or for other building and infrastructure projects.

“In the investment casting sector too there are opportunities for greater re-use of waxes and ceramics such as silica, alumina and zircon and this is something we are keen to explore with our members as well as with partners from other industry sectors through planned projects. The UK Government’s clean growth strategy and a greater emphasis on resource efficiency and the circular economy will provide an impetus to this work.

“It is often an area that is overlooked when thinking about foundries, but the contribution that the casting sector makes to the circular economy is something that we can celebrate and use to improve our public image.”

The 2017 Casting Industry Census was commissioned by the Cast Metals Federation and compiled by the Enterprise Research Centre, ERC, University of Warwick Business School from data supplied by 159 CMF Member foundries. The data was collected during late 2017 and the census was published in July 2018.

CMF Member foundries represent every part of the sector and manufacture around 85% of all castings produced in the UK. Ranging from global foundry groups to small jobbing foundries, CMF Member foundries supply precision finished parts and assemblies in a range of sizes, metals and process to the UK and global markets and generate sales revenues of at least £1.89billion.

For more information on the 2017 Casting Industry Census or on CMF contact: Dr Pam Murrell FICME, Cast Metals Federation, National Metalforming Centre, 47 Birmingham Road, West Bromwich, West Midlands B70 6PY, United Kingdom, Tel: +44 (0) 121 601 6396, Fax: +44 (0) 121 601 6391, Email: admin@cmfed.co.uk Web: www.castmetalsfederation.com

Angela Mason
Angela Mason