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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


Metalcasting a Leader in Establishing Standards

When we talk about the metalcasting industry’s past, we’re talking millennia. It’s no wonder little-known aspects of this rich history are brought to our attention out of the blue from time to time.

And so it was when this nugget from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) came across my desk. Apparently, the metalcasting industry led the way in making materials safe for use on critical systems like the railways.

According to NIST’s Measures for Progress: A History of the National Bureau of Standards, “in 1905…the American Foundrymen’s Association turned over to the Bureau its work of preparing and distributing samples of standardized irons to its member industries.” This became the basis for the first-ever standard reference materials, “well-characterized, homogenous materials with specific physical and chemical properties.”

Such standards are still used today to ensure metalcasters and their customers agree on the products they exchange. For the most part, that means faulty parts like fractured cast iron wheels are history.

-Shea Gibbs, MCDP Managing Editor


Manufacturing Stars in Super Bowl Commercials

With manufacturing and jobs hot topics in the current elections, it was not surprising to see a healthy representation of American manufacturing in last night’s Super Bowl commercials.

General Electric aired two spots focusing on its appliances and energy-generation products and the people and facilities that make them. GE is a well-known casting customer—I’ve seen parts headed for its various applications on many a foundry visit.

Hyundai’s Rocky-themed commercial depicted an engineer struggling with a component design and encouraged by a chorus of Hyundai assembly plant workers, office peers and car salespeople. Was that a cast wheel I spotted in the engineer’s cubicle?

Chrysler’s Imported From Detroit ad featuring Clint Eastwood includes shots of large furnaces full of molten metal and assembly line workers building Chrysler vehicles. The automaker has made significant investments in its North American manufacturing plants as a whole in the last two years, including $27.2 million to its Etobicoke Casting Plant in Toronto and more than $300 million in its Kokomo, Ind., transmission plants, which includes a separate casting operation.

--by Shannon Wetzel, digital managing editor

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