Business opportunities exist with metalcasting facilities from "low-cost" countries.
I'm the president of a small iron and steel jobbing metalcasting facility (350 tons/mo.) in Colombia, South America, founded by my grandfather back in 1934.
The last editorial, "Sleeping With the Enemy?" reminds me of some not-so-good experiences I've had while attending seminars, metalcasting shows and industrial expositions in the U.S. and Europe. In more than one occasion when the guy next to me learns that I run a jobbing foundry in a "low-cost-country," his attitude changes and some kind of aggressive "feeling" charges the air.
It was our fault at the beginning when our metalcasting facilities used to employ workers under terrible conditions, both in terms of safety and pollution control, when communication was almost impossible for the lack of English-speaking personnel and poor engineering and production practices.
But those times are part of the past for a group of metalcasting facilities all over the world, and I believe ours is among them. We are ready for the type of partnering that you describe in February's issue of MODERN CASTING.
As a matter of fact, when I was promoted to president of our company nine years ago, we were exporting to only one customer in the U.S. and the rest of our exports were to South and Central American countries.
At the present time, our company has customers in Canada, U.S. and England and 10 other countries, and our exports account for about 40% of our sales.
First of all, a metalcasting facility like ours understands what it takes for a customer in the U.S. to "fall in love."
* We have everything "in-house," from pattern-making, machining, heat treating, painting, packing, etc.
* We have excellent engineers. (A small metalcasting firm like ours has three metallurgical, two mechanical and a good number of technicians).
* We love small orders.
* We love to learn.
* We are always ready to produce prototypes at almost no cost.
* We don't make money on patterns, and when needed, because of market conditions, we don't make money on machining.
* Our procedures and quality certifications are well documented.
* We understand drawings and from time to time even suggest changes in the casting.
* We are running casting simulation software.
* We travel to visit you whenever is needed.
The future is brighter for those metalcasting facilities in developed countries that complement their economical production with the reinforcement of their engineering, designing and R&D capabilities.
SANTIAGO CHAVARRO G.
FUNDICIONES UNIVERSO S.A.