World Foundry Congress: An expert snapshot from DISA

Every two years, delegates from all over the globe converge on the World Foundry Congress to absorb the latest thinking from industry experts.

This year, the event was held in Krakow, Poland and spearheading DISA’s presence was Product Portfolio & Innovation Manager, Per Larsen.

As well as speaking to numerous attendees and customers during the three day event, Per delivered two guest seminars himself. DISA interviewed him in Krakow to get a feel for how the event went and a taste of the rich knowledge on offer.

Why was DISA keen to attend the World Foundry Congress? 

World Foundry Congress is one of the biggest events in the biennial calendar and its structure places thought leadership and innovation centre stage. By attracting delegates from foundries, equipment manufacturers and suppliers right through to scientists and universities, the World Foundry Congress brings all of the best and brightest minds together to discuss today’s most critical topics.

I genuinely believe the knowledge shared at these events helps to advance the industry.

How well did you think the event went this year? 

The 2018 event was fantastic. More than 900 delegates from approximately 40 countries attended and there’s no doubt that there were many senior influencers and decision makers visiting. From our perspective, we saw and spoke to a great mix of attendees at both the conference and the exhibition, including customers, industry peers and experts. From professors to CEOs, they are all part of our industry and all are represented here.

Invariably, foundry requirements, challenges and indeed opportunities are ever changing, so it is always rewarding to share best practice and discuss the trends being observed and problems overcome out in the field. This year also saw us deliver two talks as part of the WFC’s technical sessions. Both seemed to resonate with audiences and prompted lots of engagement. 

What is it about the format that makes the World Foundry Congress such a success? 

We most value the fact that we come away knowing more than we did when we arrived. The topics, challenges, discussions and time spent with fellow experts means we leave brimming with ideas. And this is all down to the lectures. With categories spanning materials, technology, digitalization, ecology and management, some talks are scientific and some are very practical.

For the visitors, this provides a full and honest picture of where we are, and where our industry is heading. This year, it was fantastic to see so many presentations addressing different aspects of green sand technology. This is all bolstered by a strong programme of social events, which this year included Krakow city tours which were a fantastic opportunity to meet customers, partners and other business relations.

Tell us a bit about your two guest lectures

The first presentation I delivered was called Modern Green Sand Moulding for Everyone. This lecture was configured specifically to help address the day-to-day pains of smaller and midsized foundries, rather than the larger foundries that see the majority of technical development effort.

I started by running through the main challenges they face, like lack of labour, low funding and inconsistent casting quality along with the need for greater flexibility and a better working environment. Equipment innovation is what’s needed here, with high-tech, lower cost machinery helping these small to medium operators alleviate these pains and become more productive.

Our DISAMATIC C3 vertical moulding line, which we call the Clever Choice, is a great example of this kind of modern equipment, providing the consistency and repeatability that helps small and medium-sized foundries compete with their larger rivals on quality, automation for cost efficiency and the flexibility to switch quickly between different short run castings. Given the number of energy saving and efficiency features, the machine also helps to improve the working environment which is key to attracting more staff – and so their future business prospects.

My second talk was called The Green Sand Foundry of Tomorrow. This was more generalist and covered how to move more quickly from where we are today to the sophisticated and intelligent foundry of the future. The talk covered the key pillars that comprise the foundry of tomorrow, like sustainability, productivity and Industry 4.0. This was an exciting talk to deliver as the outlook is overwhelmingly positive.

Though clay-bound moulding began thousands of years ago, there’s still huge potential to develop further the green sand moulding process we see today. With machine innovation like our Automatic Filter Setting and the data driven foundry, DISA is confident that the industry can realise its ambitions of creating leaner, greener and more profitable foundries. 

What were the other themes people were talking about at the show?

As well as many presentations on Industry 4.0, a major theme was the lack of skilled labour for foundries. This was a recurring topic in many discussions during WFC 2018 and something I discussed in my own presentations too. 

This shortage is a global issue and applies at all levels in the foundry, whether it’s manual workers for the shakeout or experienced foundry engineers. The foundry industry has a shared task in making working in foundries appealing to younger generations.That demands more automation and other technical innovations that free workers to complete more rewarding, less menial tasks in a cleaner, more pleasant working environment.

Moving towards this goal will greatly help foundries in attracting the people they need.

Watch Per's lectures here

(In English only)