Most people are not familiar with that term FOUNDRY I have had some people asking me in the past on what I meant by the word foundry.
Foundry in a very short term explanation means METAL MELTING, it is the process of melting metals either for commercial purpose or for personal use, and foundry also has to do with the molding of those metals into different shapes.
A standard foundry workshop is the place where activity of melting and molding the metals do take place, though many may contain more activities like sand blasting tools, pattern making tools, sand selectors, & molding box making tools, etc. this type of workshop is mainly used for training purposes and for individuals with hubby to have activity of molding metals just at their compound. Meanwhile we have foundry industries, this is completely different from foundry workshop because the activities in the foundry industries in 100% over 20% to that of workshop.
The foundry industries involves in a lot of services which is not limited to the melting of metals alone. Their services includes;
MAKING OF PATTERNS FOR THE METALS
Foundry industries use their hands to make the patterns they use in the forming of molds for any shape of metal. This is a very delicate aspect of foundry since any fault in the pattern will affect the mold as well as the metal that will be the final product. Therefore in other to avoid the risk of waste of their resources many foundry industries employ some pattern making specialists to take care of such job, and this makes the industries to be on safer side since any costly mistake could be taken from the worker salary.
MOLDING SANDS SELECTIONS AND ITS TREATMENT
The activity of selecting the uniform size of sands use in forming a mold and the treatment of the sands through the use of additives like binding chemicals are strictly carried out by the company by employing a specialist in such area, since any defect in the sand treatment and its selection will definitely affect the mold and the final product through defects like porosity, undercut, sagging, and rough surfaces, etc.
MAKING OF METAL MOLDS
The mold is the final stage of the process that leads to the casting operations in foundry because once the mold is ready and confirmed to be according to specifications then the casting can be carried out.
Therefore the foundry industries do ensure that their mold is in line with exactly what they want to cast with all the allowances and tolerances in place. So to achieve this they have to use their own hands and make the molds and inspect it for accuracy.
Special casting jobs
Foundry industries make huge income through the special services they offer to either individual or another industry, they are the only option for an alternative means of replacing any damaged part of an engine or industrial machines beside importation. Therefore they charge those type of job as a contract work thereby realizing huge profit since the option of importation may be more higher to their clients.
CASTING BROKEN ENGINE PARTS
Most foundry industries in Nigeria make their income by checking the Machine dealers in the market to know the parts of machines which is always scarce in the market for replacement and immediately cast and fabricate those parts and supply to the dealers who now becomes their client in the event of another part demand from anyone. This style is a top secret in the foundry industry, some of their clients may even convince you that the parts are imported due to the way it is furnished.
CASTING OF HOUSEHOLD METALLIC MATERIAL
Many foundry industries whose just want a steady flow of income and be able to pay their workers and have a steady and reliable turnover each year do overlook the contract aspect and focus in circular markets by applying good finishing process to their works such as the use of iron or other metal molds to obtain good surfaces for their products which includes, spoons, cups, cooking pots, gas cooker burners, flower pots, and plates, etc.
CASTING OF INDUSTRIAL TOOLS
This is a pattern employed by any foundry industry that has gained recognition in quality and standards they tends to seek international and national accreditation for industrial tools fabrication and manufacturing, once this is obtained it simply means they would be producing industrial tools such as hammer wrench, spanners, screw drivers, torque range, chain blocks, hydraulic jacks, etc. this is not just a better way of making huge money it is also a way of expanding to a bigger industry such as manufacturing as the more the tools are found to be reliable the more trust will be on their products and issuing licenses to them wouldn’t be a problem.
METAL FORGING AND DEFORMATION
Forging and deformation of metals simply means changing the shape of the metal without actually melting the metal. The is done by heating the metal up above its crystallization temperature such that its molecules becomes weak and easy to move around, at that moment the metal easily be hammered to a different shape while at the red hot temperature. Most foundry industries offer this service in other to have products that are not actually casted but were just forged into shapes, example of such products are, holes head, hammers head, local cutlass, and diggers, etc.
While for the advance type of it, the process of rolling an already molded metal which are usually in block shapes and are called billets, through two or three rollers to obtain a metal sheet after the billet had be heated to a high temperature is also forging and deformation since the metal billet is not melted.
HEAT TREATMENT OF METALS
Some foundry industries due embark on heat treatment of metals to other industries in order to change or increase the properties of those metals, the companies that due request for this service is mostly digging , dredging, and crude oil exploration companies, etc. they need the service to frequently re-enforce the strength of their drilling tools to avoid breaking and damage.
MACHINING AND SURFACE TREATMENTS
Some of the foundry industries undertake the contract to be doing surface finishing work for other foundry industries as well as machining the parts they have already casted. This method is rare and makes the industry to depend on its counterparts, and the income flow may be low.
ALLOYING OF METALS
Not all the foundry industries can cast iron and steels, some of the industries have equipment and foundry furnace that is mainly meant for low temperature metals such as aluminum, copper, and zinc, etc. such foundry industry do focus more on the alloying these low temperature metals for the production of various types of alloyed metals which may be of special purpose and of high demand in the market. Some alloyed metals like brass and bronze is of high demand in the market for ornamental jobs.
To start this industry a lot of things must be considered by the investor such are the services it should focus more to be able to create huge income flow and the tools and machines required to operate such industry successfully.
For any successful foundry industry to operate in Nigeria you need the following;
FIND STRUCTURAL FABRICATORS AND EMPLOY THEM
There are many structural fabricators who knows how to fabricate several machines and shape of any design. The reason you to employ them is because many equipment and machines use in the foundry industries can be made locally, example of them is the sand mixers, molds, crucible furnace, burners, and even some engineers can make the furnace blowers for you, and many other things which fabrication is needed hence, you will need some experienced machine fabricators in Nigeria and employ them so their works can be extended to other activities thereby reducing the need for more workers.
IMPROVE THROUGH EXPERIENCE
Some investors use to do mistake of employing a highly qualified academic personnel in the field of metallurgical as the staff for the industry and due to their qualification they are to be paid nothing less than N300, 000 per month and that is a bad move for a newly and locally established foundry industry, except the investor have another means of sustaining the payment of such personnel. The best way to employ under such small industry is to seek cheap and experienced foundry workers, and allow them to work and count their errors and success with you, in some cases you may place penalty for a particular error which could help them to be more carefully but remember to compensate them by increase in salary the moment the investment start yielding profit.
PREPARE FOR ANY CHALLENGES
Foundry industry is just like any other industry, therefore competition in the market may be there to challenge the industry, community interference by the owners of the land in the area the industry is located, government bodies interference, malfunctioning of any of the equipment and tool, emergency situation of sudden damaged machine, etc. All these are there to challenge you as a beginner so prepare for them and see ways to overcome such interferences and emergencies since they are part of the ladder the industry must climb to become a successful one.
BUILD YOUR INDUSTRY LOCALLY
Another thing to consider is to have 80% of the equipment in your foundry industry made locally either by your fabricators or from the other machine builders in the country the reason is to ensure your production and industrial activities are not interrupted as a result of damage parts of these equipment since they can be maintained easily than the imported types.
CAST AND FABRICATE BROKEN ENGINE PARTS, AND HOUSEHOLD MATERIALS
The current situation of the country economy would encourage and investor in the foundry industry to start the manufacturing of engine parts especially vehicles parts that can be made through foundry and the manufacturing of house hold materials. The reason is because there are few big companies now to offer contracts to foundry industries but the two areas mentioned above can be of better & reliable source of income.
BUY STANDARD FOREIGN MACHINES FOR MACHINING OF CAST WORK
For the foundry industry that would be involved in a lot machining jobs such as shaping, milling, surface finishing, threading and filings, etc. which makes use of lathe machines, milling machines, shaping machines, etc. there will be need to have those machines imported since they can offer higher accuracy and there are no manufacturers of such machines in the country but the engineers that can take care of their maintenance are available. In order to have reliable production you need reliable machines.
VENTURE INTO THE MARKET COMPETITION WITH A SPECIFIED QUALITY OF YOUR PRODUCTS
If the foundry industry wants to be unique among its competitors then the need to make your quality unique is very important. One way to do this is by either focusing on making high tensile strength metallic materials, stainless steels materials, materials with low ductility and malleability, or galvanized metallic materials, etc. these types of product could make the industry unique especially when their quality is of good standard.
ADVERTISE TO THE RELEVANT AUDIENCE
Advertisement is one area that should not be ignored, seek the areas your audiences are mostly found and advertise to them about the foundry product and what made it unique from other foundry industries. This is the techniques mainly used by the foundry industries that produces household materials and industrial machines parts. Their relevant audience could be in household markets and manufacturing companies.
TARGET OTHER AFRICAN COUNTRIES WITHIN
This is the method that most foundry industries do not apply, the fact is that there are many African countries that do not have foundry industries in them or they have just very few such that the demand for their product is higher there. The best thing to do is to establish contact with the dealers in these countries and have your products exported to them and get the products advertised locally in each of those countries.
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