Which Way Are You Voting?

Are metalcasters Republicans or Democrats? And who will they vote for next week?

The evidence is limited on these questions. In the end, it may boil down to what metalcasters consider themselves first and foremost—manufacturing workers or business owners.

On the workers’ end of things, a number of the major unions have endorsed the Democratic candidate in the upcoming election. The United Auto Workers recently did so, as evidenced by this letter from the union’s president. You need only go to the front page of the United Steel Workers’ website to figure out which candidate it is backing. And the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers International union, which represents many metalcasters, also seems to lean left. (Check out the “Take Action” section on the right side of the union’s homepage for the evidence.)

But would Barack Obama or John McCain be better for small businesses in the U.S.? The answer to this question is perhaps more complicated, as it requires a thorough examination of the candidates' proposed tax codes, health care initiatives and foreign policy, as well as their stand on labor and energy.

To help out small business owners, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides a site that looks at the presidential hopefuls from all angles business. The chamber does not endorse a particular candidate. The National Federation of Independent Business also has offered a relatively even-handed analysis, presenting what it takes to be the candidates’ views on a number of issues.

Spend some time sorting through what these organizations have to say, and make sure to vote next Tuesday. And if you have a few extra minutes, drop a cursor in the below comment section and let us know how you feel. Go democracy!

Investment Casters: They're Just Like Us!

Investment casters sometimes seem detached from the rest of us. Not only are they a subsection of the overall metalcasting industry, but they often serve a more specialized group of customers. (Think aerospace, jewelry, prosthetics and golf clubs.) However, in a lot of ways, they're just like the rest of us.
Following are a few comments heard at this year's 12th World Conference on Investment Casting & Equipment Expo, held in Dallas, Oct. 20-22. Some of the sentiments might sound familiar.
"Our sales guys think we can make just about anything."--Mike Moore, Carley Foundry, Blaine, Minn.
"To determine the cause of defects in your plant, create an inclusion dictionary and compare [the results of nondestructive testing on scrap castings] to the definitions. The inclusion dictionary allows less experienced engineers and shop employees to accurately identify the source of the problem and make improvements."--Yoshihiro Ando, DIA Precision Castings, Utsunomiya, Japan
"As shipping prices increase, we may be forced to pursue local sources for alternative [raw] materials."--Mario Bochiechio, Pratt and Whitney, East Hartford, Conn.
"In the past, [some investment casters] pushed the technological envelope. But in the last 10-15 years, not much has happened. A lot of guys are saying the industry is stangnant in terms of technology."--Henri Fine, Uni-Cast, Londonderry, N.H.
"The level of alpha case generated, the slurry stability, how often you have to make the slurry, these are all things that make up the cost equation."--Charles Matzek, Remet Corp., Utica, N.Y.
Okay, so maybe that last one doesn't sound too familiar. But in most cases, investment casters are dealing with the same issues that plants working in other casting processes are. They just come home smelling like wax and ceramic instead of green sand.

Safety Is No Accident

MODERN CASTING recently completed a safety-focused issue, and the information is still flowing in from our sources.

Richard De Angelis, a communications officer with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Association, suggests clicking here for more information on how you can be a safer metalcaster.

Scroll down when you get to the site and spend some time clicking through the links under “Products and Resources.” There, you’ll find information on lockout/tagout standards, forklift operation, heat stress, lead exposure, respiratory protection, silica exposure and maintaining a properly ventilated manufacturing plant.

De Angelis also suggests this e-tool for information on safely melting lead-based alloys.

You’ll be surprised how much a little safety reading can change the way you see your plant during a walk through. And that will make you a safer metalcaster.

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