In this edition of our #DigitalDialogue interview series, we had the opportunity to speak to the Engineer René Morales Hildago, Partner - Operations Manager at Fundición Metalnorte Ingeniería Ltda.
Metalnorte is a metal-mechanical company with over 20 years dedicated to the supply of ferrous alloy castings serving the mining and Chilean industry. It is located strategically located in the Atacama region, in the mining heart of Chile, and offers its customers cast and machined steel parts, being its most important qualification in abrasion wear parts for the mining industry.
Metalshub: Why did you choose the foundry sector?
Since I was a child, my father used to take me to the foundry where he worked. I was fascinated by the color of the metal in its liquid state, the smell generated by the evacuation of humidity in the sand molds, the crane bridges, and the foundry machinery, and even more, by the workers' clothing.
Now I am an engineer in Metallurgy. I worked for more than 20 years in a large military foundry in Chile and in 1999 we formed, with two other people, the foundry where I am now a shareholder.
Metalshub: What does Metalnorte do?
Metalnorte is dedicated to manufacturing steel castings for the mining, railway, and industrial sectors in Chile. We manufacture parts in carbon and alloy steels. Also, all the range of cast iron, nodular, and special. We are a foundry located in the aridest desert in the world. The Atacama. More precisely, in Chañaral, 1,000 km north of Santiago, and our market niche is focused on those parts or spare parts that require differentiation features or small production scales. We have great flexibility for this.
Metalshub: What challenges and opportunities do you foresee in the next 6 months for the foundry industry in general?
In Chile, the foundry industry moves in proportion to the way the mining sector moves. They are directly and strongly related. Chilean mining is always growing and therefore the foundry industry is growing as well. All foundries in Chile are unable to fully supply the local market and for this reason, Chile must import castings from abroad.
Metalshub: What does the digital transformation mean for Metalnorte and how is the company adapting to this new stage?
It has been difficult, but it is currently a great goal for us. The biggest challenge so far is that we have many unit operations that are isolated and not digitally connected to each other. Despite this, we are daily working on improving this aspect.
Metalshub: What opportunities do you see for Metalnorte in using Metalshub?
We are buyers of HC FeCr, FeMo, FeSi, and FeMn, and since we got to know Metalshub it has been a great help to buy safely, reliably, with time and price savings and with many worldwide suppliers offering their products. Metalshub is a great platform, with people who are very close and always willing to help you.
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