x

Use Your Platform

Manufacturers, are you feeling popular these days? As political candidates drum up funds for the big push for votes this fall, much of their attention is turned on the manufacturing industry and its job-making prospects. President Obama and presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney, as well as candidates running for Congress, have been making the rounds through major manufacturing hubs to spread their message. They want to convince you their platform will best meet your needs, but they want to listen to your thoughts, too. Following are five ideas to use this election season as a chance to spread your own platform.
1. Write your Congress candidates, no matter whether you plan to vote for them, and explain what policies would enable your company to create more jobs. Invite them to tour your plant.
2. Write or email your newspaper.
3. Produce a short, simple video of your business operations with commentary on how the health of your company affects the health of the economy.
4. Attend fundraising events.
5. Get tweeting. Many candidates are on twitter. A smart tweet from you on a pertinent election topic could be retweeted to thousands of followers.

What Do You Think?

Seven short months ago, I accepted my position as assistant editor for Metal Casting Design & Purchasing Magazine and was introduced to the world of metalcasting.
 
I have my degree in journalism to thank, but I could not hide that I was coming from the field of cosmetics to one of molding, coring, designing, gating, melting and pouring. And, I was overwhelmed.
 
As it turns out, I have family ties to metalcasting. While the majority of my family work is in manufacturing, hands-on-type jobs, I was surprised to learn that my uncle is a metalcaster. So, as I prepared to dive in to a new field and culture, I knew I was well supported and had a tiny bit of background to work with.
 
During these seven months I have made every attempt to pay close attention and learn when opportunities are presented—visiting metalcasting facilities, doing research, taking a stab at feature articles and being the voice of our various social media outlets.
 
Most recently, I had the opportunity to re-design our digital and print newsletters and assist in fine tuning our new website. The old newsletters represented a copy and paste, regurgitation of the news and information already posted in various areas of our website. With the new designs, our staff wondered: “What do our readers want to see and what is interesting to include?”
 
Sure, we can tally website visitors, total clicked-on items and track visit lengths, but at the end of the day, those results are just numbers. And, the questions still exist. What do you, our readers, visitors and members want to see and read? What catches your interest? What do you think?

The new website represents many months of work, staring at computer screens, clicking on links and redirecting them. The newsletters follow suit, requiring representation of our new, comprehensive site in one tiny email. But our objective remains the same—we are the metalcasting trade publication committed to supporting the designers and buyers of castings with all of the news, information and stuff that interests you.


Dear Metalcasting Industry

Dear Metalcasting Industry,
I’ve had a nice time getting to know you over the past six and a half years.

When I first walked into the offices of the American Foundry Society in February 2006, I didn’t know slag from silica or cores from copes. What a long way we’ve come, you and I.

Today is my last day as managing editor of Metal Casting Design & Purchasing magazine. While my work with you feels anything but done, my wife was offered a great job in Virginia, and she had to take it.

This isn’t goodbye, metalcasting industry. After all this time exploring your ins and outs, I know one thing is certain—you’re everywhere. When my family climbs into our car for the drive away from Illinois, you’ll be there. When I cook the first meal in my new home, you’ll be there. And when I walk down the streets of my new city, you’ll be there too.

And oh the memories you’ve provided me. You took me all across this nation, metalcasting industry, from the Amish country in Pennsylvania to the deserts of Arizona. In addition to sending me to nearly half our great states, you allowed me to stamp my passport in Canada, Mexico and Brazil. I know more about manufacturing today than I ever thought I would, and I am a better person for it.

Please, metalcasting industry, don’t make this harder than it has to be. I’ll miss you too, but you know as well as I do that life is cyclical. I’ve seen you through the roaring times of the mid-2000s, to the Great Recession, to your burgeoning recovery. Certainly you’ll have no problem seeing me through a simple change of location.

My only regret is I won’t have the chance to see what you become in the future. With economic conditions improving and research and development investments on the rise, I see nothing but clean, defect-free castings on the horizon.

Best of luck to you, metalcasting industry, not to mention all the wonderful people you’ve introduced me to over the years. With their help, I know you’ll succeed.

Sincerely,
Shea Gibbs


A Tale of Two Economies

When the subject of the economy comes up these days, it seems to me I’m living in two worlds. In the world reported by the popular press, the economy is still struggling, with job creation minimal and international financial crises creating uncertainty among investors worldwide.

But in the manufacturing world, many anecdotal reports indicate the economy is recovering.

In the latest sign this is the case, rapid casting producer Clinkenbeard was featured on a local news channel as a company that has been able to grow despite the flagging economy.

“We have a strategy that should work in any economy,” company Vice President Reg Gustafson told the Rockford, Ill., CBS affiliate. “We’re investing in people. People are the hardest thing to get.”

Gustafson said Clinkenbeard has added four full-time employees since October, and it isn’t the only company in the metalcasting world that has reported similar growth. We can only hope the trend will continue and our two economic worlds will realign in the near future.


Welcome to Our New Website

Magazines and Multimedia Screenshot

In the last couple of years, Metal Casting Design & Purchasing (MCDP)—like most publications these days—has made a strong push to better serve and interact with our audience on the web.

Last week, we unveiled an upgraded website that meshes everything we want to be, with opportunity for further growth down the road.

On the new site, you’ll find a more visually appealing home page, a better blog-reading experience, and quicker access to the items we add to the website frequently, such as photo galleries, audiocasts, online-only articles and breaking industry news.

 

If you are looking for a job or a new employee, take advantage of our Metalcasting Career Center, which is now integrated with the rest of the MCDP and American Foundry Society websites for single log-in across all sites (including the AFS Library, bookstore and Community Sharepoint).  

Check back frequently to our new Castingpedia—an ever growing library of casting process, alloy, design and purchasing articles, columns and case studies.

And stay tuned…we have more in store over the course of the next few months.

If you haven’t yet, poke around our new website to see all our new features. And let us know what types of content you’d like to see here in the future.


On the Hunt for Zamak Treasure

In April, clever Seattle puzzle enthusiasts went on a clue-led hunt for treasure in the Emerald City Search. Their object of desire: a medallion cast in ZAMAK by Seattle-based metal casting company

Morel Industries, owned by Steve and Mark Morel. First person to find the medallion in the week-long search won a year’s worth of cultural experiences in the city, totaling nearly $9,000.
 

The theme for this year’s Emerald City Search was the 1962 World’s Fair held in Seattle, and the organizers of the puzzle hunt were tickled to discover Morel Industries had ties to the fair. The owner’s grandfather Leon Morel had cast several large bronze pieces for it, including a well-known fountain sculpture in front of the Intiman Theatre.
 
You can read more about the Emerald City Search hunt–which sounds like a blast for the Robert Langdon in you–here.
 
According to emeraldcitysearch.org, an engraver etched the art into machined blanks, which were used to create the molds. The end result is impressive.


Hollow Steering Knuckle Earns People’s Choice Votes

Metal Casting Design & Purchasing readers have cast their votes, and the first winner of the People’s Choice Casting Award goes to Compass Automotive Group, Fruitport, Mich., for its front steering knuckle.
 
The aluminum knuckle for the Tesla Model S sedan earned more than 2,300 votes in the inaugural contest. The part, produced in the vacuum riserless casting/pressure riserless casting process, is fully hollow and represents a 25% weight savings over a solid aluminum arm.
 
Congrats to Compass Automotive for producing our visitor’s favorite casting. The metalcaster also earned Best-In-Class recognition by our judges in the Metal Casting Design & Purchasing 2012 Casting Competition.
 
If you haven’t had a chance yet, mosey over to our gallery of all the great castings submitted in this year’s contest.


Metalcasting Industry Ready to Lead Again

At last week’s annual North American Metalcasting Congress, the mood was more than just optimistic. Folks were ready to become involved again or for the first time. For the last few years, metalcasters, like many of its end-users, have been keeping their heads down, casting to the grinding wheel, striving to make it past the last recession in one, solvent piece.

Last year, everyone caught their breath. This year, they are ready to start thinking long-term again.

Most of my discussions with attendees at the Metalcasting Congress in Columbus, Ohio, last week centered on businesses’ and individuals’ plans for more investment in methods to improve operations, more research and development of casting technology, more involvement in industry committees and organizations, more metrics and analysis applied to pricing and cost estimating, and more emphasis on safety and ergonomics.

It was refreshing to hear the renewed vigor in everyone’s voices now that the value of investing in the health of the industry is considered to be worth the time, effort and talent. I think it could be an indication of great metalcasting advancements coming on the horizon.  


These Shoes Weren't Made for Walkin'

British designer Tom Dixon designed shoes cast in aluminum with copper or black powder coating.

The shoes resemble a classic English style and are equipped with several fine details, including crease and wear lines. The collection may be available for production later this fall, but those details are not yet final, according to a fashion trends blog.

It’s a new spin on a classic design.  But, don’t expect to be walking around in freshly-cast shoes anytime soon—they would be terribly uncomfortable.

by: Jillian Knuerr, assistant editor


Cast in a Starring Roll

Metalcasting has very little to do with the movies, but their paths do cross from time to time on my desktop while Google searching “casting” news items. A search for “iron casting” will undoubtedly return an article about who’s starring in the next Iron Man movie. Our twitter account has a handful of followers who are hopeful actors looking for a breakthrough role.

Once or twice a year, however, a casting reference in the same sentence as “actors” truly points to the manufacturing process. Every February, a story pops up about the Oscar statuette cast at R.S. Owens, Chicago. Tonight, Chicago Tonight is even airing a segment about how the trophies are made. Some might say the foundry on the North Side is the most important casting agency in show business.

Another metalcasting/cinema marriage turned up this week. It seems this play on words has been turned into a play. “Centennial Casting,” written by Gino Dilorio and Nancy Bleemer, gives us the story of a metalcasting facility owner who often receives headshots from actors mistakenly believing his business is a casting agency. Smitten by one woman’s photo, the metalcaster holds a sham casting call to meet her. The play has been produced in various theaters since 2006. It’s now running through March 18 at the Seven Angels Theater for those of you in the Waterbury, Conn., area.

Perhaps you don’t give an acceptance speech every time you receive a shipment of castings, but this week, enjoy the notion you’re in good company with fellow casting end-users George Clooney, Viola Davis and Martin Scorsese.

--by Shannon Wetzel, digital managing editor


Displaying 61 to 70 of 149 records

x