Amidst all the political uncertainties in Europe and US, the overall scenario of global cast iron market is growing in the positive direction. The US GDP growth rate is over 2% and that has increased consumption and demand of raw materials for infrastructure.
Grey cast iron is one of the most widely used castings and typically contains between 2.5% and 4% carbon, and between 1% and 3% silicon. The market potential of heavy grey iron castings is good and expected to be bright in future. These castings are required by sugar mills, general engineering works and mini-steel plants. The demand for such castings is increasing continuously due to rapid industrialization. Increased urbanization too is fueling the requirement for construction castings such as manhole covers, pipes and pipe fittings. Amidst all the political uncertainties in Europe and US, the overall scenario of global cast iron market is growing in the positive direction.
Export Quantity Value of Grey Iron is slowly growing after the Recession in 2008
Wide use of grey cast iron:
The versatile nature of cast iron makes it an excellent material for various companies to employ various moulding techniques and come up with a new range of products. The fluidity of liquid grey iron and its expansion during solidification is due to the presence of graphite. This property makes it ideal for the production of intricate castings. Shrinkage rate of grey cast iron is lesser as compared to ductile iron due to the percent of carbon content. With proper control of the carbon and silicon contents and the cooling rate, the formation of iron carbide during solidification is suppressed entirely, and graphite precipitates directly from the melt as irregular, generally elongated and curved flakes in an iron matrix saturated with carbon.
Quality attributes of grey cast iron in global cast iron market:
The presence of graphite flakes in the microstructure is responsible for its superior characteristics. It has more carbon content than the steel and therefore it has more than one microstructure. The higher carbon content of cast iron means that it solidifies as a heterogeneous alloy.
The iron & steel casting market is expanding steadily due to robust growth in construction and mining industries, especially in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. Increasing demand for iron & steel casting in automobile and electrical industries is anticipated to propel the growth of the market.
The development of state-of-the-art foundries was necessary to provide consistent, high quality castings. Castings from a highly automated Chinese foundry are 20% more expensive
than a hand foundry but are necessary for applications requiring repeatability and quality.
However, the recent changes in the labour and environmental laws in China accompanied with economic slowdown in US has compelled many small and medium scale businesses in US and Europe to import more from India. Poor air quality has forced the government to take a harder look at the industry as a contributor to pollution. This has led to an accelerating rate of iron ore mine closures in China. This has helped to improve the competitive edge of Indian foundries.
Having said that, Chinese manufacturers have the ability to respond to changes in demand with moderate‐to‐large changes in the quantity of shipments of cast iron fittings to the U.S. and Europe market. The main contributing factors to this degree of responsiveness of supply are the availability of unused capacity and inventories.
Traditionally, US and Europe markets are the largest importers of iron ore as well as cast iron and steel. However, there is a strong economic signal from the Middle East as well as from the ASEAN countries that has diversified the import market.
Germany, which is presently the 4th largest economy in the world, has a huge demand as their economy are growing at a good pace. They are considered to be the market leaders in high-end engineering goods so their OEM always look out for precision products with super-build quality.