As we all know, non-ferrous metals sector and foundry are very vital in the growth of various industries and the same is true for India too. Also, it is a fact that aluminium has emerged as the single most important metal due to its non-corrossive nature, weight to strength ratio and aesthetic look.
Automobile, construction, transport and engineering are the prominent user sectors worldwide and as far as India is concerned, automobile and construction are very important ones. Conventionally, most of the automobile parts and components were made of steel (rather special steels) but in last few years, the auto industry is going through a big transition. Huge importance is being attached to fuel efficiency, aerodynamic shape and aesthetic looks. Also, there is ever growing price pressure from the buyer. In line with this thought process, many steel components are being replaced by aluminium and off late by composites also. Further, in aerospace industry, the properties mentioned above become far more important and a lot of aluminum alloys are being consumed there. Now a day, even magnesium alloys are being employed for weight consideration.
In other sectors like construction, transport and engineering, a lot of new applications are being developed to suit the requirements and expectations of the consumer.
I do agree that in intial stages, society needs steel to build the infrastructure but it is seen that as the society gets developed, it consumes more and more of non-ferrous metals. While enhancing the purchasing power of the consumer is the function of overall economic growth, our industry should concentrate on developing new materials and applications for today and tomorrow. For this to happen, a very strong linkage has to be developed between the industry and academic / research institutes. In developed world we see that a lot of such institutes and projects are being funded by the industry. In fact, most of the research projects are guided by the industry needs and the expectations. Also, there is a definite timeline for every research project.
Such timebound and application directed research can surely help the non-ferrous metals industry to aquire more space into its user sectors and help them to meet the ever growing demands of the end customer !