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MetalCasting Design & Purchasing

Are You Reaching An Equilibrium?

At a recent supply chain conference, a speaker posed the following question:  What is the future of the steel supply chain in the U.S.?  Due to a down economy and global supply pressures, this market is facing significant business turmoil and is at a crossroads to determine what and where its future will be.

The next speaker up (me) was expected to provide a similar message to this audience when discussing the current state of the metalcasting industry. But my message wasn’t filled with the gloom and doom of the previous presentation. While I referenced the crossroads metalcasting faced in 2008-10 when the general consensus was that the U.S. market was in a steep decline, my message was to look at U.S. metalcasting today, as it may be the envy of all other metalcasting markets across the globe.

Sure, U.S. production in several non-automotive markets is down significantly right now. Some segments of metalcasting production are operating at 50-60% capacity while others are operating at 85-90%. But the reality is that an equilibrium is beginning to be achieved in the casting supply chain. Everything is not looking to be offshored (as it seemed 10 years ago) nor is everything being sourced domestically—a proper balance is being reached to ensure business success.

Look at some of the recent headlines:

  • Sahkti Breaks Ground on a $31.8 Million Casting Expansion in Michigan
  • Georg Fischer and Linamar Agree to Build a Metalcasting Facility in Southeast U.S.
  • Kamtek to Invest $80 million in New Diecasting Facility in Alabama
  • Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Purchases Precision Castparts for $37 Billion

 

These headlines show investment and renewed global interest in the U.S metalcasting supply chain. Yes, some of your firms still have corporate decrees to source globally. These probably will continue no matter the level of information and education you receive about the merits of regionalized sourcing or the capabilities of North American metalcasters.

The key is for you to just keep considering all potential sources for your engineered metal components and realize that the North American metalcasting market is one of the strongest in the world with the greatest diversity of capabilities.  It is the market most capable of supplying every size, shape and material of casting desired.

The future growth opportunities for engineered metal castings is limitless as new materials and manufacturing technologies are introduced all the time. Search out a partner who can offer you that optimal supply chain relationship.

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