• Light Engineering

    Sri Lanka's Apex Organisation for Export Promotion

  • The Foundry Industry in Sri Lanka

    A found in Sri Lanka

    The roots of Sri Lanka’s foundry industry can be traced back to the second century BC. Even after such a long passage of time, it’s still found in a developing stage. The modern ferrous foundry industry based on the cupola furnace was developed in Great Britain during the 18th century and was imported into Sri Lanka during the latter part of the 19th century. However, most of the foundries in operation in Sri Lanka are aluminium & brass foundries; just a handful of cast iron and bronze foundries remain in operation too.

    A Major Feeder Industry for the Light Engineering Product Sector

    The foundry industry occupies an important industrial niche in Sri Lanka in that it’s a major feeder industry for the light engineering product sector. It supplies parts and spares for machinery, equipment and tools and specialises in tea, rubber, oil, and fibre machinery parts. In addition to supplying vital components of marine engineering and turbine bearings, it also supplies a wide range of directly exportable metal products. 

    The geographical footprint of the foundry in Sri Lanka

    Most of the foundries in operation in Sri Lanka are scattered in the districts of Kandy, Colombo, Gampaha, Kurunegala, Matara & Hambantota. In the Colombo district, foundries are scattered in Malambe, Kaduwela, Athurugiriya and Ranala areas and they are mainly into the manufacture of aluminium products such as pans, jugs, and spare parts for gas cookers, kettles, and string hopper machines etc. In the Gampaha district, foundries are found mainly in Kadawatha, Kelaniya, and Kiribathgoda and most of these are aluminium foundries. 

    Cast-iron Foundries in Sri Lanka

    Ceylon Heavy Industries & Construction Company Ltd (CHICO) & Industrial Development Board (IDB) are the principal large-scale cast-iron item manufacturers in Sri Lanka. They manufacture brake shoes, rubbing blocks, rollers, bearing blocks and different types of machinery parts. 

    Brass Foundries in Sri Lanka

    Brass foundries are mainly spread across the Central Province and in some isolated villages in the rest of the island. Pilimathalawa in the Kandy district is renowned for the craft of metal trays, spouted vessels known as kendies, vases and oil lamps etc. Besides this, in 1965, the government set up another village near Kandy called Kalapuraya for traditional handicrafts men at that time.

    Today, Kalapuraya has about 100 families and a significant number of them are involved in the brass industry. Apart from that, there are several brass product manufacturers scattered in a few other areas of the island. The brass foundry industry is a traditional craft that’s handed down from generation to generation in such areas as Pilimathalawa and Kalapuraya so that the tradition is preserved despite the passage of time.

    Availability of Moulding Sands 

    The foundry industry is hand in glove with moulding. As a result, foundries are concentrated in certain regions where special types of soils, sands and clays required to prepare moulding sand are found in abundant supply as natural resources. For instance, granite powder is used as the moulding sand especially in Kiribathgoda, Malambe, Athurugiriya and Kaduwela where it abounds.

    60% of all Foundries are in Colombo and Gampaha

    Around 60% of foundries are concentrated in the districts of Colombo and Gampaha in the Western Province. One reason for this is that owing to the high population in these districts, there’s a massive market for their products; the other reason is that most of the foundries that manufacture light engineering products for international markets are located in the industrial zones that fall in these two districts.

    Assuring the Quality of the Cast Products

    There’s an onus on Sri Lankan foundry operators to collectively take prompt measures to enhance the quality of cast if they are to compete in the international markets. The quality of a product is closely related to the customer requirements and the quality parameters vary according to the type of product. For instance, the most significant quality parameter of the ornament castings is the surface finish. In contrast, in automobile parts and machinery parts, strength & hardness are the key quality parameters.

    Scarcity of Raw Material 

    The scarcity of raw materials and the escalating prices pose a major problem to the foundry operators which leaves a very slim margin of profit or none at all for them. Today, the production of brassware is done only by a few foundries as the price of the pure Copper (Cu) and Zinc (Zn) ingots is too high for the local foundrymen. Other foundries tend to use brass scraps, which are relatively more economical but contain other metals such as Aluminium (Al), Iron (Fe) & Tin (Sn) etc and yield a lower quality product. The government must intervene here to procure the required raw materials in sufficient quantities at a regulated price. 

    Plant & Machinery 

    Sri Lanka’s foundry industry is years behind in terms of plant and machinery and manufacturing technologies. Technologies such as CNC (Computer Numerical Control) and 3D modelling have already arrived on the scene, but only a handful of foundry operators take a serious interest in deploying these technologies and upgrading their plant and machinery to boost the volume and quality and drive innovation. The brass industry is still over-reliant on obsolete technologies, which makes them much less efficient and much less competitive.

    It’s essential that our foundry operators be provided with adequate training on mould fabrication using CNC machining with SOLIDWORKS and Solid CAM software for 3D modelling. Further, local brass foundries need an efficient furnace that can effectively manage the emission factor and health hazards as well.

    The Local and International market for cast products 

    The local demand for foundry products is predominantly in ornaments and machinery parts. But the foundry products such as kitchen equipment, door & window fittings too enjoy a satisfactory demand in the local market. Sri Lankan foundries manufacture products such as high-quality water pumps and agriculture machinery for the local market. Our major export products are Precision tools, Moulds, Steel bars and sheets for the construction Industry, Steel furniture, Automobile parts, Ornaments and Cutlery. Those are mainly exported to India, Germany, Maldives, Singapore, and the United States.

    Foundry Development & Services Institute (FDSI) in Sri Lanka

    The Foundry Development & Services Institute (FDSI) has been set up and is managed by the private sector foundry industry in Sri Lanka. The FDSI efforts are directed at enhancing productivity and quality and developing the market share of the foundry sub-sector and upgrading the castings to international specifications.

    Core Functions of FDSI 

    • Train people in the foundry process on safety and environmental requirements
    • Assist industries on the selection of machinery and identification of metals
    • Conduct seminars for industries
    • Organize visits to foundry exhibitions and industry familiarization
    • Coordinate with government institutes universities on foundry industry requirements.
    • Assist members to market their products locally and globally
    • Protect local raw materials and monitor global and local raw material prices
    • Publish foundry information and Study papers

Light Engineering Products

Sri Lankan light engineering products are manufactured both for consumer use and industrial use. As such, the variety of exports are quite high and can fulfil a wide range of requirements.

Product Varieties & Suppliers

  • Light Engineering Products




  • Structures of Iron & Aluminum



  • Standard Wire of Aluminum, Copper & Iron



  • Nails, Screws, Bolts & Nuts of Metal



  • Refined Copper & Lead Alloys



  • Tools, Implements, Cutlery & Parts



  • Other Light Engineering Products