In the Gulf, wheel alloys are made by Alba, Dubal, Emal and Qatalum. "Our customer base is someone who takes 20 to 100 tonnes a month whereas a smelter customer base has parties taking 200 to 1,000 tonnes," said Bamco general manager
Wheel alloys constitute a major portion of Bamco's sales value but in recent years the company has been paying more attention to making cylinder-head alloys "so we don't compete as much with the smelters," said Banister. "The net returns are about the same for cylinder head products. In the early years of Bamco, wheel alloys made up 90 per cent of our sales value. Now it makes up 25 per cent."
Banister: manufacturing focus has veered towards cylinder-head alloys
Wheel alloys are a part of Bamco's foundry alloy output of 25,000 tonnes per year produced with the use of two furnaces of capacity 15 tonnes each. Sixty per cent of the foundry alloy output is earmarked for the automotive industry, of which 40 per cent is cylinder-head alloys for cars and wheel alloys. The remainder of the foundry alloy production is used for die casting operations by people who make pumps, pistons and cables.
As well as foundry alloys, Bamco makes master alloys with annual capacity of 5,000 tonnes to give the company a total production capacity of 30,000 tonnes per year.
Bamco purchases from Alba 20,000 tonnes of aluminium as liquid and 5,000 tonnes as solid metal.
NEARLY ALL OUTPUT EXPORTED
Nearly all of Bamco's production is exported. It exports foundry alloys in 7 kg ingots to 26 countries. Its biggest markets are
A stage in the alloy-making process
Master alloys are made with the use of two induction furnaces, each of two-tonne capacity, Bamco is the largest producer in the world of a product called aluminium silicon 50 per cent primary grade. It accounts for about 80 per cent of the master alloys it makes, roughly 350 tonnes per month. Markets order the product for remelting and buyers include
Bamco commenced production in 1996 and more than a decade later it faced a major challenge during the global economic downturn for a period after 2008. "The financial crisis changed the whole landscape," recalled Banister. "We had to change focus in our markets, change our products, our destinations, and our payment terms – all within a period of one to two months to survive, although our business to
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