I was among the lucky ones to get a chance to take a
technical stroll at the wonderful engineering exhibition held at Expo
center in Karachi recently.
One can find expression of achievements and emotions
for advancement wherever you go. What was interesting was the
willingness to take challenge and risks. The areas under display varied
from Aluminum and Alloys products, Steel products, Stainless steel
surgical instruments, Die and Mould steels, Electrical appliances,
Automotive sector, Business support centers, Machine tools manufacturer,
weighing Scales, textile out fits specially the stitching machines which
were like robots making patterns at a speed unbelievable. Computers and
their cousins and there were stalls calling for hair transplants using
one follicle (but people including me were some what shy in going near
them although there were lot of questions in mind).
Replacing Steel with Aluminum alloy product.
Previously all the locally produced cars wheel rims on which you put
tires were made of steel which has special deep drawing quality so that
it can be formed into sections in cold conditions. This steel was
locally produced at Pakistan Steel and was named after Baluchistan
Wheels as BWL grade, the special property was high elongation values so
that it could be formed, along with strength thickness of steel sheet
from which wheel rims are produced is about four millimeter thick. With
advancement taking place number of car manufacturers are going in for
Aluminum alloys wheel rims shown below, having similar properties and
lesser weight as compares to steel. This will help in lower fuel
Interestingly these wheels were being produced out of
a process called Die casting process in which molten Aluminum is poured
into dies have similar shape to that of wheel rim, although in die
casting there can be more defects as compared to steel but the quality
control during manufacturing was being maintained by local producers. So
cost will be the deciding dimension and the competition would be severe.
Also the Dies or Moulds whatever you may like to call
them is mostly produced out of Steel called H-13, hot working tool steel
made by Peoples Steel Mills a major special steel producer of the
country in Public Sector as per international specifications. It is
learnt that the prospect of exporting Die Steels are bright another
foreign exchange earner. If you look at the profile of this industry
(Peoples Steel) you will find that all Leaf Springs (kamanis) are
produced at this plant through Vacuum Degassing process (Very clean way
of Making steel) and the post Heat treatment is all done by local
manufacturers in Karachi, Lahore etc. In fact our transporters knowing
the good quality of Spring Steel tries to overload heavily. One of the
company manufacturing shock absorbers with a beautiful slogan given
One is amazed to find that automotive parts are being
exported one of the joint doing this is being run by Ex F-16 fighter
pilot (he is showing his take off skills). Then there are parts of
Tractors so wonderfully being produced here through a process called
Forging (not forgery) in Punjab, Sindh etc again all steel made by
Special Steel plant.
There are joints producing parts for Aircraft
industry so that you can have safe journey.
With rapid growth in consumption of Steel, re-rollers
from Punjab are trying to set big Mills in Karachi, with Pakistan Steel
Mills going in for expansion and Saudis planning to set up a Million
tonne capacity plant the field is ripe for such ventures. Go forward my
countrymen, Sky is the limit.
Developing shipping industry: One area that is slow
in moving is the building of Ship Industry in Pakistan, once Karachi
Shipyard & Engineering works was the hub of Ship building but now
the vibrations are missing. There is need for Re-engineering in this
field. One of the limitation is non availability of Wide Steel Plates
i.e. two meters or more in width as this is not produced by Pakistan
Steel or Peoples Steel Mill. Since the cost of investment is high
probably fifty million dollars, investment from private sector is
lacking. What needs to be done is that the end users like shipyard,
Pakistan Navy, Pipe manufacturers, People and Pakistan Steel Mills,
Heavy Mechanical Complex even some Asian company like Hyundai or some
Japanese Mitsubishi or Chinese giants can be invited to join hands
together and put the wide Strip Rolling Mill not only in national
interest but in Commercial interest also. The decision needs to be taken
at President of Pakistan's Level.
Finally: Some bold decisions have to be taken to give
Engineering industry a boost, before godfather WTO walks in a couple of
years time. Giants like Heavy Mechanical Complexes needs to be
revisited, restructured, merged, and survival and development of Special
Steel manufacturers be ensured for better future.
Quality Metallurgical Engineering graduates from
Engineering institutions specially in Sindh, Karachi in particular
should be produced for growth of future and present metallurgical based
industries. Dawood College of Engineering & Technology be handed
over to joint venture of Pakistan and Peoples Steel Mill for better
education and job placement, so far there is no effort in this
To take up all these issues the President needs to
Call a Brain Storming session and take bold decisions make Engineering
industry an Economical arm, also the role of dormant Engineering
Development board needs to be looked into. Why can't it bring American
Giants like General Electric, etc in Pakistan like India is doing? This
needs debriefing also.
Further the engineering goods manufacturers should
read the book "Wealth of nations" by Adam Smith and remember
that the fastest growing religion today is Globalization which is also
called as economic integration of nations. The word restriction will go
in the interest of better market system and survival will mean producing
quality product at most economical price leading to individual
excellence. For this the cost of energy will have to be brought down,
how can it be done by importing gas from Iran or Turkmenistan or
building Kalabaghdam or building Nuclear power plant, it is for
Pakistani Adam Smith (Mr. Shaukat Aziz to decide) and he better do it
fast, lest the Indian with better economic package flood our market and
make us Red Indians.
Also there is need to cut the cost of production
down, operating with Zero defect level and making Customer Satisfaction
as Job # 1.
One of the America's great gun (Eisenhower known as
IKE here) once said "Every gun that is made, every warship
launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from
those who hunger and are not fed" Can this be discussed in the
Indo-Pak talks as unfinished agenda.