There is a lot of certainty about metalcasting, based on the facts about metals and alloys, the laws of thermodynamics and other principles of science and engineering that define what will happen in various circumstances. From this certainty comes the confidence of metalcasting professionals, not swagger or pretentiousness, of course, but assurance that matures into experience, and frequently guides fresh insights and promotes innovation.
But this is all rather novel in today’s world, which is overflowing with uncertainty. The modern society that constantly congratulates itself on the availability of information can rarely agree on what is true, whose reports are reliable, or which (if any) institutions or authorities can be trusted. A decisionmaker in a metalcasting operations may draw confidence in the work he or she does but data and ideas flowing in the wider world is the source of some significant questions. What to expect in the day/month/year ahead? How should we prepare to meet the demands of customers and regulators? And what can we do next, to be ready for the challenges we find?
Each year, Foundry Management & Technology surveys readers to learn the current understanding, concerns, and expectations of men and women working in North America’s foundries and diecasting plants. It’s an effort to go beyond the facts, to understand not only the present circumstances of these operations, but also the underlying conditions shaping those businesses. More than this, we’re seeking to understand how these facts are received and understood by metalcasting decision-makers. We want their assessments of current conditions and we want to record the issues that concern them, in their own operations, in their supply chains and markets, and in the economy.
We want to learn what decisions they face in the business cycle just ahead, and to understand better their expectations for the future of their enterprises.
We surveyed readers by email over a period of four weeks during Q4 2021. We are confident that the 2022 Outlook respondents reflect the metalcasting industry we cover, and reliably represent the range and variety of operations included in it.
For the purposes of this report, the 2022 Outlook survey respondents represent the overall metalcasting industry, namely: aluminum foundries and die casters (21.9%), gray iron foundries (20.8%), ductile iron foundries (17.7%), brass/bronze casting operations (12.5%), steel foundries (15.6%), and producers of multiple and/or other metals and materials (11.5%). Other metals cast by survey respondents include stainless steels, magnesium, high-chrome iron, and nickel-based super-alloys.
Similarly, and as in the past, the 2022 Outlook survey draws on the responses of individuals working in metalcasting operations of all sizes. Among these, 15.7% of respondents are affiliated with operations employing more than 250 people; and 21.3% represent operations with 100 to 249 employees. Another 21.3% of respondents are employed by metalcasting operations with 50-99 employees; and 12.9% are with businesses that have 20 to 49 workers. The remaining 28.7% of respondents represent metalcasting businesses that have 20 or fewer employees.
By their products and the scale of their organizations, it is realistic to see our respondents as representative of the metalcasting industry during 2022.
This is an excerpt of the full 2022 Metalcasting Outlook report. Download the full report here.