Tougher Standards For Bay Area Metalcasters

It’s the ongoing battle between the air we breathe and the world we live in. Environmentalists and people of industry often seem to butt heads on finding middle ground between the demands of a culture that is both post-industrial revolution and environmentally conscious.

The argument this time takes the form of clean air advocates vs. metalcasters. 
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is proposing stricter rules for the metalcasters in the San Francisco area in hopes of reducing air pollution. Although still in its infant stages, the proposal has people heated up. 
Metalcasters already follow strict environmental standards, and the new rules would mean another significant financial investment, an estimated $20 million per plant, said Pacific Steel Casting worker Barry Scott in a Fox News Oakland KTVU report. This could force some metalcasting facilities to close or at least cut back their staff.
The rules, which can be read in full at the BAAQMD website, aim to reduce the impact of steam emissions on the surrounding community. Although air quality in the bay area has improved over the years, it isn’t up to the new U.S. government standards, thus the new proposal, according to the report.
The BAAQMD report sites specific techniques and practices it wants the metalcasters to adopt, as well as listing the specific plants the proposal would influence. 
The next step is for the BAAQMD to conduct one or more public workshops to receive input and public comments on the proposal before the final proposed amendments are brought for consideration at a public hearing before the District’s Board of Directors.  
The workshops should draw people of diverse backgrounds lobbying for sustainability for one of two platforms: sustainability for an industry that has provided every day conveniences that people rarely think twice about and sustainability for the environment and the pleasure of being able to take a deep breath of fresh air.

Intern’s Blog—Cooking and Casting

This week’s adventure had me examining the metalcasting process from start to finish, as I learned the steps to creating the perfect metal casting. Going into it, I pictured…well, nothing really. I had never stopped to think about how metal castings were made. To be honest, until I started interning for Metal Casting Design & Purchasing, I didn’t know what metal castings were or that they are all around us in items we use daily. Now, I find myself looking more closely look at these objects and thinking about the work involved in making the castings.

I first learned a little background information about the metalcasting industry. As a history buff, I was excited to learn metalcasting dates back to 5,000 B.C. Of course, a lot has changed since then, and modern metalcasting operates according to a strict science. The different techniques and materials that combine to create a mold, which is ultimately used to produce a metal casting, showed me how versatile and complex the process is.

When I started to grasp the intricate metalcasting process, I couldn’t help but think of its similarities to cooking or baking.  Different ingredients are mixed together, “cooked” or “baked,” and then left to be cooled. Once they have cooled to room temperature, they are ready to be used, or “eaten.” Baking requires special preparation time, as does metalcasting. If the right ingredients are chosen and the recipe is followed correctly, the end result is a delicious casting that can range in shape, size and color.

Relating the metalcasting process to cooking has allowed me to wrap my mind around the complex procedures it takes to make castings. Hopefully, it has made you think about how these tasks are alike and will allow you to appreciate a metal casting as much as your next slice of chocolate cake.

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