The current federal regulatory environment you must operate your business within frustrates many of you. After spending a few days in Washington, D.C. last month discussing several of the issues facing metalcasters, I will admit that I came home, found my blanket and pillow, and just curled up in a ball.
The scope, size and sum of the regulations currently under development or recently published as rules is staggering. Two of our feature articles this month recap several of the challenges facing metalcasters:• The Silica Rule PEL Challenge on p. 30 outlines the current state of the recently issued regulatory structure for crystalline silica.• Regulatory Reform on the Agenda in Washington on p. 33 details additional regulations impacting metalcasters beyond silica, including EPA’ s Clean Power Plan, Waters of the U.S. and Ozone rules.
It is not that I don’t like a challenge. And I don't believe all regulations are needless. Rules and regulations are critical to ensure safe workplaces, healthy communities and a standard quality of business practices. The struggle is the continuous regulation drumbeat wearing down successful businesses that are respectful of their workers and communities and are committed to abiding by the rules and regulations put in place.
I was depressed, but then a ray of sunshine offered itself up—our 2016 Metalcaster of the Year, Production Castings in Fenton, Missouri. This is a small business that has succeeded in today’s U.S. manufacturing industry. On p. 18, our feature details how this aluminum and zinc diecaster built itself by offering one-stop shopping for its customers, including tooling design and manufacture, diecasting, machining, powder coating and warehousing in-house, plus contracting for plating and other post processing operations. Production Castings also takes on short-run diecast components.
“Our forte is to say we can take a part from start to finish,” said Al Loeffelman, president.
The story of Production Castings focuses on what they can do and have been able to achieve rather than what they can’t do. Sure, the metalcaster has had struggles in the past, but from 2010-2015, sales grew by 30% due to a consolidation and enhancement of its capabilities. While they aren’t alone in metalcasting in their emphasis of adding value from start to finish, Production Castings is a great example of a 150-employee, job-shop metalcaster establishing its niche as a path to success.
Successes and challenges can coexist in metalcasting. While every new regulation does make it potentially harder for another Production Castings to emerge, it does happen. And these occurrences must be highlighted as much as the challenges.
Once you read this issue’s article on our Metalcaster of the Year, think about the successes in your facility. Please drop a note to Modern Casting on any that you might want to share with our readers.
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