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Finding the Fun

Each October the last few years, our office has hosted an event for National Manufacturing Day activities.

Manufacturing Day’s goal is to celebrate careers in manufacturing and share with the community and students how these industries support our economy. It’s a chance for companies to share what they do with the public. Your organization might even hold an event. We host an open house with a hands-on metalcasting demonstration.

Man, it is fun.

In your jobs and industries, the pressure is on to deliver safe, economic, and attractive parts, and it may not feel like any fun much of the time. Manufacturing Day is the chance to take a break from the deadlines and show others what you thought was so much fun about manufacturing and engineering in the first place.

Designing something, making a part that has a purpose in the world, is gratifying. The smiles on grade-school kids’ faces after pouring their first small casting is proof of that.

Like most issues of Metal Casting Design & Purchasing, this one features a wide range of cast parts that met deadlines, reduced cost and were a little fun, too. On page 22, you can read about a niche industry any sports fan will enjoy—cast iron seat components for ballparks and stadiums. Our case study on an electronics enclosure on page 32 shows how creative engineering can achieve results when the wiggle-room for design changes is slim. Perhaps most fun of all, our Shakeout on page 56 takes us to the final frontier.

Once again, I’m looking forward to our Manufacturing Day open house this October. I enjoy seeing the community and students learn and be excited about manufacturing and engineering.

Even more, I like watching those from the industry explain metalcasting and the opportunities it offers as a career and a manufacturing method.

If you are looking for an audience to share what your company is making or how you are utilizing castings in your projects, you’ve found the place. Not all projects are headaches—let us know what’s got you smiling.

Click here to see this story as it appears in MCDP


Transforming Energy Into Profit

Energy might not be a tangible thing, but it can be felt throughout a person’s life. It certainly can be felt in a business, and sometimes it needs to be turned around.

Energy Leadership: Transforming Your Workplace and Your Life from the Core by Bruce D. Schneider, a life coach, tells the story of when he is brought in to help a failing company turn around. Bruce quickly notices that Richard, the company’s owner, is setting a downcast and negative tone for his employees.

The company, once thriving, is beset by office politics, a losing trajectory and looks headed for the end unless drastic action is taken.

Schneider writes about recognizing seven different energy levels and how some leaders create positive energy and how some create negative energy. Both permeate through a business and can have major impacts.

I won’t spoil what those seven different energy levels are or how they can be improved or changed, but this is a story that should resonate for anybody who’s worked in an office. The characters are well-sketched and each one presents different challenges for Richard as he tries, with Bruce’s prodding, to get them in line and save the business.

The story itself is well-written. Though the ending is telegraphed early in the book, it’s an enjoyable journey to see how the company reached its destination. Not to sound cliche but there are twists and turns and the characters get more and more interesting as the story unfolds. You begin to understand how the characters became what they are and, even though they exhibit some onerous behavior, you begin to cheer for them as they move back into being team players and productive parts of a cohesive unit.

As you might have guessed by now, this book is not about a metalcasting facility and does not have many obvious ties to the industry.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant to metalcasting.

The principles of a healthy business and healthy energy are universal. It’s hard to be successful and profitable if nobody’s working together, and if they have to try it becomes a challenge. Leaders, whether in the boardroom, the office or on the floor set the tone for their employees. That’s true in any industry.

Energy Leadership: Transforming Your Workplace and Your Life from the Core is not a necessary read, but if you feel like something’s off with your corporate culture, it will help you find solutions and keep you entertained.

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