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  • Writer's pictureBjörn Koslowski

A Guide to Metal Casting in Vietnam



Overview


Casting is a process of shaping molten metal into desired forms by pouring it into molds and letting it solidify. The casting industry in Vietnam can be seen as a dynamic industry that is well-positioned for future growth.


According to a 2022 report by the Vietnam Foundry and Metallurgy Science and Technology Association (VFMSTA), there are currently over 400 foundries operating in Vietnam – mostly SMEs. These foundries produce a wide range of castings, including cast iron, steel, and aluminum. The foundry industry in Vietnam is growing rapidly, driven by the increasing demand for castings from the automotive, construction, and machinery industries.


The size of foundries in Vietnam varies widely. There are a number of small foundries that employ fewer than 10 people, as well as many large foundries having over 100 people. The size of a foundry is typically determined by the type of casting that it produces and the size of its customers.



The VFMSTA also reports that the total output of castings in Vietnam is expected to reach 2 million tons in 2023. This represents a significant increase from the 1.5 million tons produced in 2022. The industry is also a major exporter of castings, with key markets in Asia, Europe, and North America.



Casting – Thomasnet


Due to the favorable geographical location of North Vietnam which allows access to the South China Sea and major trading partners such as China, Japan and South Korea, the majority of foundries are found in the northern region of the country, especially in the cities of Hai Phong and Hanoi. Northern Vietnam also has a long history of metalworking and crafts. For example, My Dong casting town, which is well-known as the hub of metal casting foundries in Vietnam, is located in Thuy Nguyen district, Hai Phong city.


Vietnam Map from Worldometer


My Dong is considered the origin of Vietnamese casting industry. It is renowned for its centuries-old tradition of metal casting which has been passed down through generations. My Dong's artisans have mastered the art of creating exquisite and durable cast iron products, ranging from decorative items like statues and lanterns to functional pieces like cookware, machinery parts, and construction materials.


The town's casting heritage dates back to the 17th century, when artisans began utilizing the abundant iron ore deposits in the surrounding hills to craft tools and utensils. Vietnam's terrain is suitable for agricultural development. Originally, people manufactured agricultural implements such as plows and hoes to meet the needs of household farming. During the Second World War, production was expanded to include weapons manufacturing. Over time, My Dong became a hub for producing high-quality cast iron products that were in demand throughout Vietnam.


Today, My Dong remains a center for traditional casting, with over 200 enterprises and workshops employing thousands of skilled artisans. The town's casting techniques have been modernized and adapted to meet contemporary demands, while still preserving the traditional craftsmanship that has made My Dong renowned.


Viet Mui workshop specializes in casting iron pans in My Dong – Vietnam Pictorial


Types of Casting


The most popular types of metal casting in Vietnam are green sand casting and furan resin sand casting. These types of casting are widely used in metal foundries to produce various products from cast iron, ductile iron, steel, and other alloys.


Green sand casting is the most traditional and cost-effective method, using wet sand mixed with clay and water as the mold material. Furan resin sand casting uses furan resin as a bonding agent to form molds, producing high-quality and smooth surface castings.


Pump housing casting by green sand - Vietnam Cast Iron


Casting lamp post pole by furan casting - Vietnam Cast Iron


Vietnam also witness a growing number of foundries specializing in investment casting and die casting. Since these processes require know-hows and advanced techniques, most foundries in these segments are Japanese or Taiwanese invested companies.

Investment Casting – Jinlogic


Die casting – Xometry Europe



Notes for Sourcing Casting Parts in Vietnam


There are several reasons why foreign companies may choose to work with Vietnamese subcontractors in the casting industry. Vietnam's labor costs are relatively low compared to other countries in the region. According to a 2022 report by World Bank, the average monthly manufacturing wage in Vietnam is US$273, compared to US$650 in China, and US$445 in Thailand. Parallelly valuable is the large pool of skilled workers in the casting industry thanks to the country's long history of casting production.


Having said that, foreign companies face a few difficulties when working with Vietnamese partners in the casting industry:


  • Manufacturing: The Vietnamese foundry industry produces mostly simple products. Complex, particularly high-quality products have so far been rarely manufactured. Final processing is often carried out by customers. On top of that, certification according to ISO or JIS is so far available by the local companies. European standards such as DIN are not yet so popular. Small parts with demanding tolerances are major challenges for local manufacturers.


  • Quality Control: Vietnamese subcontractors may not have the same quality control standards as Western companies. The equipment for quality inspection at many foundries is insufficient or lacks automation. This can lead to defects in casting and delays in production.


  • Materials: Most of the semi-finished goods have to be imported, especially high-quality and special materials. This can have a significant impact on the final product price. Moreover, materials from different countries may come in different names and components. For example, when customers look for materials EN-GJL and EN-GJS, they’ll be offered the equivalent grades of iron called FC from Japan or HT from China/Taiwan.


The industry is facing several challenges, but it is also benefiting from numerous factors that are driving its growth. It is therefore likely to continue to play an important role in the Vietnamese manufacturing economy for many years to come.



Relevant Resources:

Foundry Planet – The Status of Vietnam Foundry Industry & Market Opportunity accessible here

Vietnam Cast Iron - 6 Different types of casting process used in metal foundries accessible here

Vietnam Pictorial - Crafty destinations My Dong casting village accessible here


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