Can you explain the technical and commercial opportunities of the new global alliance with Ashland?


Shareholder, name withheld

There are many benefits associated with our new alliance with Ashland. The first of these is the recognition that Ashland, one of the world’s largest suppliers to the foundry industry, has acknowledged that CGI is an important material for the future and that they have chosen SinterCast as their CGI partner.

Technically, there are always opportunities for progress and improvement. While the SinterCast technology for controlling the CGI production process has proven itself in high volume series production during 2004, SinterCast and Ashland are aware of other technical opportunities associated with CGI production. The first of these is that a thin skin of flake-type graphite often forms at the surface of the casting that is in contact with the sand mould. As a specialist in sand binding materials, resins and mould coatings, Ashland plans to be the first company to develop CGI-specific systems that minimise or eliminate the flake skin. This can improve the surface strength, particularly in the internal passages of a casting, and thus allow designers to further reduce wall thicknesses and weight, or to increase loading. The development work on the new sand systems is already underway at Ashland’s advanced R&D facilities in the United States. Another technical opportunity is associated with the formation of micro-shrinkage in CGI, especially in complex castings where thick and thin walls are connected together. We are currently developing novel moulding technologies to eliminate this shrinkage sensitivity, however, no public comment can be made regarding the technical details.

Commercially, SinterCast will primarily benefit from Ashland’s global market presence and respect and, as a result of this, the increased awareness of SinterCast and CGI. The Ashland market presence will provide new customer introductions for SinterCast and new representations in geographical sectors where SinterCast is not yet active. SinterCast will also benefit as the new moulding technologies increase the potential application and growth of CGI. In turn, Ashland will benefit by having a market leadership in CGI-specific moulding materials and technologies.

The alliance with Ashland is an important step forward for SinterCast. In addition to our joint technical development activities and our direct customer activities, we will display our technologies together at foundry exhibitions. SinterCast will work together with Ashland at the China Foundry Association “Top Grade Forum” on foundry technology in Beijing 29-31 March 2005 and at the American Foundry Society CastExpo in St. Louis 16-19 April 2005.