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Taking On Foundries’ Challenges

Aug. 12, 2022
Casting Industry Suppliers Assn. members share the work and difficulties of their customers, along with the determination to overcome problems like skills shortages, supply chains, and global market disturbances.

For metalcasters and their suppliers 2022 has started with a bang, with a series of important events during the spring:
-  CastExpo – Columbus, OH (April 23-26)
-  World Foundry Congress, New York City (May 9-10)
-  CISAs Spring Meeting, Nashville, TN (May 24-25)
-  AFS Government Affairs Fly-in, Washington DC (June 7-8)

It made for a busy schedule, but these events also presented opportunities to address the many topics that are crucial to the metalcasting business.

One topic everyone’s short list of challenges is the persistent labor shortage. This scarcity of skilled workers is not limited to the foundry industry – as you will see demonstrated by the signs on every store front or manufacturing site – but addressing this lack of human capital it is certainly more difficult for foundries that must entice employees to work in a heavy industrial application.

Foundries and manufacturing businesses are thinking “outside the box” on how to attract people. Starting in the early stages of education with organizations like Foundry Educational Foundation, or bringing high and middle school students through your facilities, piquing their interests, and showing them what we do and how we support our U.S. economy.

A more recent challenge have been the supply-chain shortages. This widespread problem has driven up prices for raw materials, electronics, and steel to levels never seen before. Speaking as an equipment supplier to the foundry industry, it has been interesting to see the changes in customers’ perspectives, from shock at the material prices to a position that these materials are necessary and planning accordingly for pricing and lead-times. Thankfully, now we are now to see some softening in the materials market.

These are challenging times for many reasons – and just as we started to see some stabilization the unrest started in Eastern Europe, unsettling the international community and markets once again. As the saying goes, “The only thing constant is change.”

We must learn to adapt and to embrace these changes. The most successful companies and people are the ones that learn early to adapt.

It has been an honor to work with the Casting Industry Suppliers Association Board of Directors over the past two years, and to have all their support.
  Mark Ziegler – CISA Executive Director
  Bryon Barber – Canfield & Joseph Inc., First Vice President
  Nathan Wollenburg – Prince Minerals LLC, Second Vice President
  Dale Welsh – Hill & Griffith Co., Director
  Mike Feehan – HA International, Director
  Michael Nutt – Inductotherm, Director
  Nick Gerrits – Carpenter Brothers, Director
  Sam Erkonen – Howe & Hutton, Legal Counsel

I especially want to thank Mark Ziegler, Executive Director, for his dedication to CISA and developing our programming.

Speaking for the Association, we thank Foundry Management & Technology for its long-time support of CISA and this sponsored issue. This yearly August issue allows CISA Member Companies to present their company, contributions, and insights into our Industry.

Claude Hutchens is Market Director - Foundry, International, with General Kinematics Corp., Crystal Lake, IL. Contact him at [email protected]