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Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry
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Metalcasters at work together at ladle pouring.

Social Networks are Foundries’ Future

May 16, 2022
Metalcasters have a wide open opportunity on social media, to make connections that will bring the industry new contacts, new talent, and new coworkers.

We are social creatures. The company, collaboration, and validation we get from others encourages us to improve and grow. The most important news in our lives is almost always shared on our favorite social media platforms. And increasingly these mini super-computers that we carry are being relied on to validate what we do. If something isn’t confirmed on social media, did it even happen?

Everyone has a smartphone that we use for banking, shopping, appointment booking, video calling, and running our businesses. When I was growing up, I had all my friends’ house phone numbers memorized. At least 20 of them, maybe 30. Now, embarrassingly, I know seven or eight numbers in total. Smartphones make the connections for me.

As a society we depend on these powerful little machines to make the connections that solve our problems. Could it be they’ll help metalcasters solve their greatest problem – locating and recruiting new employees?

In 2021 the average person spent 145 minutes per day on social media. Despite all that scrolling, hardly anyone knows what a foundry is. I suspect the vast majority of people have no clue where metal parts for cars, trucks, planes – even smartphone cases – are formed. I speak from experience too.

I demonstrated the “foundry-in-a-box” at our local job fair, where I spoke to almost 3,000 high school students over the course of a couple days. The foundry-in-a-box is a portable kit for casting metal: You make a sand mold and pour tin, and pretty little pendants. Unfortunately, I didn’t draw any serious interest from the job-seekers. Only one person knew what a foundry is, because his father, a welder, mentioned it.

The average young person has never heard of foundries or metalcasting, and the rest associate metalcasting with Dad. Or worse, with “boomers.” The way the metalcasting industry is presented to young people is antiquated. Among my eight nieces and nephews, none would consider a career in metalcasting unless we can present it to them and their peers in a positive light. The work we do must become “cool” to draw their attention and gain their interest. So, I created www.Metalcasters.net.

Foundries and diecasters must establish a presence on social media, not to increase sales but to increase numbers – the number of connections, of colleagues… and specifically of applicants for open positions.  At a minimum, every major metalcaster should have a social media “splash page” to engage the over 3 billion users of Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok. That’s half the planet. At some point the most attractive candidates for your organization’s openings may stumble across your page and recognize their opportunity.

The days of radio ads, pamphlets, and billboards are in the past. Young people stream everything through their iPhones and Androids. Why listen to a commercial on the radio when I can plug in the aux and become an instant DJ?

In 2022 the most effective way to reach anyone is through phones and/or tablets. If you know any young people you realize the influence of Snapchat and TikTok. Simply placing your foundry on these platforms will gain the attention of your target audience, and help you fill openings from entry-level to the management office. 

This isn’t about choreographing a dance or using an animal face filter. It’s about gaining awareness for your company so that people connecting through these apps can connect with you.

Short videos, interesting content, music. That’s the recipe for gaining attention. Metalcasters.net presents free social media videos for any foundry interested in trying something different. My plan is to create a page full of videos that will engage people, showcasing the different metalcasting jobs that will demonstrate how important cast parts are to our daily work and activity. I know the foundry industry is cool and rewarding; It’s time to bring these operations into the spotlight so that others will know it, too. More than that, metalcasters have important stories to tell.

From my perspective as a distributor to foundries, it is imperative for metalcasters to locate talented people with high potential, who will dig in and work hard to keep our industry thriving. People are the solution.

Automation, for now at least, is not the answer. Automation can perform the hardest jobs – grinding castings – as long as the castings fit the work envelope: larger parts require manual grinding.  Robots are always at work and never complain, as long as they are properly maintained. And we still need techs to look after the robots and program the metalcasting work we expect from them. It’s not all dirty work.

People are also responsible for improving foundry and diecasting work. Our environmental concerns are turning these plants into better places to work.

People are driving improvements in raw materials too, along with more eco-friendly processes than were standard in the old blue-haze days. Plus, our industry plays a leading role in recycling, a fact that fact should be consistently emphasized to draw in people who care about the planet’s future as well as their own. These are the revealing details we want prospective metalcasters to know about us and the work we do.

Let’s make the connection.

Braden Pyper is a sales representative and social media developer. Contact him at [email protected] or visit www.metalcasters.net