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, to improve working conditions in foundries, to promote the improvement of manufacturing processes, from both economic and human perspectives, making companies more competitive. It also seeks to represent and defend the overall interests of the foundry industry, both at national level, together with public entities and educational/training institutions, and at 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, partnering with companies, Technological Centres, and other Knowledge Centres, has promoted several applications to programmes aimed at supporting technological development and innovation with the goal of increasing the competitiveness of companies within the sector.
Currently, the Portuguese foundry industry comprises high-tech companies operating as suppliers for 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, worth 80% of its production; the German market is the most representative one, followed by the French and the Italian markets among other countries in Europe and in other continents.
Created in April 1981, CINFU – Centre for Professional Training in the Foundry Industry is not only responsible, for providing training in foundry technologies and cross-cutting areas, but also for providing assistance to companies upon request. This including local technical advice, laboratory support, environmental characterisations, prototype manufacturing, and other activities covered within the scope of 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 modernisation 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 machines and industrial equipment incorporate castings, frequently of large weight and size, as well as cast in ferrous alloys (cast iron or steel), or even light alloys.
Steel, cast iron or light metal 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 water circulation acessories and taps (in copper alloys).
Shipbuilding is inextricably linked to foundries. Foundries are 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, such as those used in the energy industry, namely 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, rolling stock components, train brakes with high safety requirements, and also the seats structure 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 organisations worldwide and is part of several national bodies related to the sector.