The foundry industry is a pioneer in decarbonisation and digitalisation
Foundry-Planet: Dr. Ioannidis, the tension is rising because there are just two months left until GIFA in Düsseldorf. What are your expectations as president for the GIFA and NEWCAST trade fair?
Dr. Ioannidis: Despite the great challenges in the last four years, many innovative ideas had been developed and will be presented on this international world stage. I'm convinced that my expectations will be satisfied. What we will see is that the exhibiting companies have been working on solutions for the future.
Foundry-Planet: The entire foundry industry is facing great challenges and changes. The keywords are decarbonisation, digitalisation and a shortage of qualified staff. In addition, there is a transformation in drives. The foundry industry companies as well as the suppliers worldwide are currently making a great effort to cope with these new requirements. In your opinion, what is the current state of the foundry industry?
Dr Ioannidis: This industry is a pioneer in both, decarbonisation and digitalisation. Further developments to utilise existing potential are constantly being pushed forward. The lack of qualified staff is one of the major challenges. What we need to recruit employees is an attractive work environment and assistance systems as well as automation. The transformation in drive technology offers opportunities which are accompanied by a high level of functional integration, and that is exactly the strength of this industry.
Foundry-Planet: Among the multitude of tasks: How do you assess the global differences? And where do you see the greatest demand for development?
Dr Ioannidis: We have to deal with huge global differences such as cost frameworks and regulations. Furthermore, the interdependencies in commodities are enormous. The access to water and food for all people are considered very differently worldwide, along with climate and security. In the latter, we need to harmonise, and this is where I see the greatest demand for development.
Foundry-Planet: The sum of the challenges is so diverse that Europe as industrial location could be in danger. What kind of support do you expect from associations and politics?
Dr. Ioannidis: Right now, Europe is seeking its future place in our world. Party politics can‘t help in this matter. Only if leaders in Europe, both from industry and politics, develop common solutions that are practice-oriented and have a realistic time horizon, can we successfully lead Europe into the future. In addition, the European people need some motivational impulses.
Foundry-Planet: Dr Ioannidis, at that time so many things are in process. Of what importance are GIFA and NEWCAST right now?
Dr. Ioannidis: Right now, where so many things are changing, lighthouses like the world's leading trade fairs GIFA and NEWCAST are needed for orientation.
Foundry-Planet: At GIFA, the largest foundry exhibition in the world, visitors await a wide range of events, special exhibitions, and symposiums. What is your advice for visitors to make optimal use of the trade fair?
Dr. Ioannidis: In order to benefit from this exceptional trade fair, time should be planned well in advance. I recommend a mix of selective visits at exhibitors as well as attending interesting symposiums. Even insights into other business sectors can lead to new inspiration and ideas.
Foundry-Planet: Your company, Oskar Frech GmbH & Co. KG, is one of the major players in the field of die casting. We are very pleased to meet you and your team at GIFA and NEWCAST.
This interview was conducted by Thomas Fritsch and Diana Engelmann (Foundry-Planet GmbH).