"Peru and Chile are the largest copper producers in the world and this commodity is performing extremely well at the moment, which represents a significant opportunity for FUCSA, being a local player."
Can you describe how FUCSA has adapted to deal with the challenge of Covid-19?
FUCSA, like all companies considered “non-essential”, was shut down for nearly three months in 2020, during which time we created a crisis management committee to achieve two purposes – to get a license to operate during the pandemic from the government, and to increase the safety and hygiene standards in the plant. We also identified clustering spaces in our operations and plant and there were three main areas. The first one was public transportation, so we doubled our number of busses, tried to pick up and drop off our employees as close to their homes as possible, gave them bicycles or money to take a taxi. The second clustering space was our dining area, and we built a new dining area outside and implemented single seating measures with a two-meter radius to the next table. The third area of clustering was the changing rooms; unfortunately we had temporarily eliminate showering possibilities. On the way in and out, we placed 7x14 meter tents with individual areas for each person for changing.
Despite the difficulties, we are glad to say that we are again stable in 2021.
How have bottlenecks such as the rising costs of logistics impacted demand for FUCSA’s products?
Due to the rise in the cost of logistics, some foreign products became more expensive, which might lead to the market looking more towards local production. However, there is still fierce competition coming from Asia, as they have managed to keep prices low. At the start of the pandemic, shipping and exporting was still easy if you could get to the port. Today, it has become more difficult as the price of containers has escalated five-fold and it is tough to find one. With regards to FUCSA’s exports, we are still consistently delivering on time as we put in the extra planning.
The pandemic lead to the closing of some mines, which affected the demand for our products. However, mining companies were busy with maintenance operations while they could not produce, which resulted in FUCSA having a backlog of orders when we restarted operations.
Can you provide an overview of the products FUCSA offers to the mining industry?
FUCSA has four furnaces, six smelting kettles, three molding lines, boring machines and vertical lathes, as well a fully equipped laboratory, which means that we can make various products at the same time. The products we engineer for the mining industry include components for earth moving equipment such as crawler shoes and idler rollers; mill liners and crusher cones and mantles; pump parts and an array of other castings. Although our business is mainly directed to OEMs and large mining companies, we can adapt to the needs of any client. We have invested in equipment which can make a full range of high-quality products to meet specified requirements. The software we use allows for maximum production process control and design optimization. By means of this software, we shape quality and increase efficiency, which defines filling parameters, solidification, residual stress and the metallographic structure.
What is FUCSA’s approach to minimizing its environmental impact?
In all of our kettles and furnaces we use a method which relates to lower emissions, for instance. In the production process we use the best quality supplies and also sort out junk to ensure metals are free of impurity. Thereby we help minimizing the industry’s impact on the environment.
Where are you currently seeing the largest demand for your products coming from, and where do you see good potential for future growth?
The biggest opportunities in 2021 are likely to be regional. Peru and Chile are the largest copper producers in the world and this commodity is performing extremely well at the moment, which represents a significant opportunity for FUCSA, being a local player. The pandemic has changed the way in which we communicate and interact and has accelerated the move towards digitization and electrification, again increasing the demand for copper. We have invested in increasing our capacity due to the high demand for copper as well as our vision to become the preferred supplier of mill liners and crusher parts in the region.