The Portuguese Foundry Association (APF), officially created on February 25 , 1964, is a private, nationwide organization that brings together the most representative Portuguese foundries and, in terms of production, it covers about 90% of all castings manufactured in Portugal. Presently, the Portuguese Foundry Association gathers companies, managers and workers in the field of foundry and related industries and regularly organizes Congresses (the 18th was held on May 17, 2018), some of which at the international level.
The APF is a technical and cultural association whose purpose is to foster the development of technology, improve working conditions in foundries, promote the improvement of manufacturing processes, from both the economic and human points of view, making companies more competitive, as well as to represent and defend the overall interests of the foundry industry, both at the national level, together with public entities and educational/training institutions, and at the international level, namely in the CAEF – Committee of Associations of European Foundries, which brings together associations from 22 European countries.
The APF’s intervention includes providing support to Members in different areas, with a particular emphasis on the environmental area. The APF, in partnership with companies, Technological Centres, and other Knowledge Centres, has promoted several applications to programmes aimed at supporting technological development and innovation with a view to increasing the competitiveness of companies in this sector.
Currently, the Portuguese foundry industry comprises high-tech companies engaged in the supply of many industries: automotive; metalworking; civil construction; ceramics; mining and earthworks; electrical and electronics; shipbuilding; agricultural and industrial machinery; railway; wind power; aeronautics, and aerospace.
It is prominently an export-oriented industry, with a share of over 80% of its production; the German market is the most representative one, followed by the French market, the Italian market and other countries in Europe and in other continents.
Created in April 1981, CINFU – Centre for Professional Training in the Foundry Industry is responsible, in addition to providing training in the technological area of foundry and related and cross-cutting areas, for providing assistance to companies that request it, including local technical advice, laboratory support, environmental characterizations, prototype manufacturing, and other activities covered by the available human and material resources.
The sector employs more than 6,000 people and has a turnover of approximately 602 million euros. As a major supplier of the entire industrial sector, it plays a key role in the development and modernization of the Portuguese industry.
Between 2015 and 2017, the industry grew from 183 to 199 thousand tonnes.
Between 2015 and 2017, the industry grew from 544 to 602 million euros.
The automotive industry, especially the European market, is the sector’s largest customer.
The cast components are used in combustion and electric engines, transmissions, platforms (chassis), or vehicle bodywork. The number of castings in vehicles is more and more significant considering the capacity of obtaining resistant castings with thin and therefore lighter walls.
Most of machines and industrial equipment incorporate castings, in many cases of large weight and size, cast in ferrous alloys (cast iron or steel), or even light alloys.
Steel, cast iron or light metals parts such as wheels, hubs, hydraulic components or motors can be found in almost every agricultural equipment.
Cast parts are used in power generation equipment, such as transformers and generators, as well as electric motors. They are also massively used in a wide number of household appliances.
From computed tomography equipment to hospital support equipment and orthopaedic prostheses.
From metallic beams used in building structures, to household appliances such as radiators, boilers or stoves, as well as all types of accessories for water circulation and taps (in copper alloys).
Shipbuilding is inextricably linked to foundries. Present in large engines, enormous hulls or decorative items.
You can find a wide range of parts in jet-powered turbines, aircraft structures, rolling stock and interior aircraft accessories.
Cast parts, particularly made of nodular iron, as used in the energy industry, in wind power turbines and blades, pumps and valves for the oil and gas sector, as well as in castings for offshore and onshore structures.
Castings for the railway industry include electric and diesel engine blocks, as well as rolling stock components and train brakes with high safety requirements, as well as the structure of the seats found inside the carriages.
Abrasion-resistant parts, parts for excavators, or parts for the mining industry, such as those used in crushing machines, are also very commonly manufactured.
From public lighting to garden benches, manhole covers and grilles, there is a wide variety of items that rely on the use of cast metal parts. Art, from statues to medals and metallic sculptures, also relies on this sector.
The APF represents the Portuguese foundry industry in the top foundry-related organizations worldwide and integrates several national bodies engaged with the sector.