April 2003
  The newsletter for buyers and suppliers of castings and forgings
     
  In a hostile economic environment, belgium foundry sector is striving to stay competitive.
 
     
  In the Belgium economy, the foundry sector plays an important role: the 100-odd craft or industrial enterprises provide work for 6000 people and turn out 180,000 tonnes of foundrywork.

Economic situation.

With few natural resources, Belgium most important substantial quantities of raw materials and export a large volume of manufactured products, making its economy usually dependent on the state of the world markets. This situation has been problematic over the past two years with the global world-wide recession and the war in Iraq is not helping the demand to increase now.

Inflationist pressures, particularly strong in 2000, at a level of 2,7%, shown a downward trend to 2,4% in 2001 and was down to 1,7% in 2002.

Employment whose development is following the economic activity, still increased with 1,1% in 2001. The structural unemployment rate in Belgium was 6.8% in 2002 (OCDE).

In a period of declining production, companies are confronted with increasing salary costs. Wage costs in Belgium increased during the last five years with 6,7% compared to 4% in the major Belgian trade partners. Beside the negative influence on employment, it is a hindering factor for the competitiveness of the Belgian companies.

To maintain their competitive position, companies rely on technological development and close collaboration with their customers. With increased specialisation and investment in research and development, Belgian foundries are able differentiate them from outside competition and offer high value added services to their customers.

Key data

Number of foundries in Belgium
- 21 foundries registered with the European Foundry Association (CAEF°
- 66 in the Subcontract Solutions database

Costs of development

Metallic addictives

 
cost in Euro (December 2001)
broken castings
93.25
cast iron scrap
98.26
pig iron (hematite)
250.37

Personnel cost

Based on the inquiry towards 35 foundries the average gross wage per hour amounts to 12.99€ together with high social charges of 89.5%. The total hourly labour cost in 2001 at 23.86% and increased with 1.8% compared to 2000.

Energy cost

Production costs:
- electric current: 2001= 58.9€ per mWh
- natural gas: 2001= 4.88 WURO/GJ

Problems in the field of environment protection:

Increased attention from the government is being given to emissions of the dioxin problem. Measures are taken in order to reduce the CO2 emissions. In the context of the Kyoto protocol, Belgium has to reduce its emissions with 7.5% by 2010 to the level of 1990.

Production, deliveries and orders received overall

Total tonnage
2000
2001
+/- % 01/00
Steel castings
12 964
11 826
-8.87
Iron castings
137 437
137 661
+1.64
Non ferrous castings
27 180
26 358
-3.02
Total
177 581
175 845
-0.97

The situation in the material sector

Steel castings

Total tonnage
2000
2001
+/- % 01/00
carbon steel
4 693
4 539
-3.27
manganese steel wear resistant steel
1 763
1 528
-13.32
low alloy steel
976
758
-22.30
high alloy steel
5 532
5 000
-9.61
Total
12 964
11 826
-8.78

The total production of steel castings declined quite strongly (-8.78%) compared to the previous year. All subcategories are undergoing a decline.

Iron castings

total tonnage
2000
2001
+/- % 01/00
iron
80 828
79 557
-1.57

The total volume of 2001 slightly declined (-1.57%) compared to 2000. The most important market of iron castings is the mechanical engineering that grew with 5.3%.

Ductile iron castings (nodular and malleable iron castings)

total tonnage 2000 2001 +/- % 01/00
nodular iron castings 18 485 19 450 +5.22
other iron castings 38 495 38 654 +0.14
total ductile iron castings 56 980 68 104 +1.97

The volume nodular iron castings increased with 5.22% compared to 2000. The increase is due to the increased production of engineering machinery.

Non ferrous castings

total tonnage
2000
2001
+/1 % 01/00
copper alloy castings
555
514
-7.34
light and ultralight castings
25 411
24 640
-3.03
sandcast and gravity die castings
21 168
20 023
-5.41
pressure die casting
4 243
4 555
+7.35
zinc
1 179
1 169
-0.85
other alloy castings
34
34
+/- 0
Total
27 180
26 358
-30.2

The non ferrous segment is slightly decreasing on yearly basis (3.02%) mostly due to declining production of aluminium castings which represents with 93% the main part of the total volume non-ferrous castings. The pressure die casting segment increases in volume and compensates the decrease of gravity die casting.

Location of the main consumer areas for the foundry products in Belgium

Mechanical engineering (machine manufacturing)

The increasing activity of the mechanical engineering is mainly due to the increased activity in the railway sector. Deliveries towards other application sectors declined and are thus following the general economic evolution.

Construction sector

The Belgian construction sector is likely to experience a less favourable situation. In 2001 activity declined with 4.6%.

House building

The situation in the house building is likely to be difficult and is expected to decrease further in 2002 with 3.2%. Segments such as a central heating and stove parts and accessories remain stable.

Civil engineering projects

There are perspectives for major rail infrastructures investments.

Source
AGORIA, Foundry
The multisector federation for the technology industry, Belgium

Contact: Hilde Vermeulen
TEL. +32 2 706 79 59 - FAX. +32 2 706 79 66
E-MAIL: hilde.vermeulen@agoria.be
www.agoria.be

 

 

 
     
     
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