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What's In a Name?

Today, many metalcasters still refer to themselves as foundrymen and to their plants as foundries. The problem is that when a group of casting buyers was asked what images came to mind when they heard the term foundry, they responded with: “dark, smoky, dangerous, fire, flames…”  Not exactly peaches and cream. Is this the image you want your customers to have when they think of you?

We need to move, as an industry, to the terms "metalcasting facilities" and "metalcasters" as much as possible. We've been using those terms for years in the magazine. Similarly, metalcasters should consider calling their products engineered cast components rather than castings or metal castings. We need to begin to focus on our process and the capabilities of our process because this is what sets us apart and labels us as unique to our customer base. We need to train our customers to think of us as high-tech manufacturers producing engineered products, so we can begin to eliminate the commodity buying mentality of our customers that is killing our profit margin.

Climate Change Legislation Writ Small

MODERN CASTING currently is developing a series of stories about the effects of climate change legislation pending in Congress. The details of the legislation can get confusing, but a recent plan by a regional organization makes the whole thing easier to understand.

As is detailed in the first installment of the MC article (“The Climate Is Changing”), the Senate is considering several bills that would limit the amount of carbon dioxide manufacturing facilities can emit. If the facilities exceed the prescribed amounts, they’ll be penalized. Probably monetarily.

According to a New York Times article, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in San Francisco wants to cut right to the chase. The organization can by state law institute a regulation that would charge businesses several cents per ton of carbon dioxide emitted.

It will be May 21 before we learn whether the San Francisco group exercises its legal right, or whether the court presents a challenge to that right. For now, what we can take away from this is a microcosm of the debate on Capitol Hill. You pay for what you emit.

Making Good PR

The metalcasting business is full of fire, smoke and sparks, which makes for good pictures but doesn’t necessarily paint the industry in a good light, particularly when it is covered in the media. However, many metalcasting facilities do a good job of using their local newspapers to show a different side of what they do.

Pennsylvanian metalcaster John Wright Co., part of Donsco Inc., is a prime example. The company is the top business story today on Lancaster Online,an online news source from several newspapers in the Lancaster, Pa., area. The article extols Wright Co.’s efforts to be environmentally-friendly, focusing on sand and metal recycling, the company’s conversion to electric furnaces, and the valuable products produced on its shop floor.

Going green is a sexy article topic right now, and metalcasters have been recycling from the beginning. Now’s a great time to lift the dark and smoky veil on the industry to reveal a lean, modern business producing complex, engineered parts.

Our Biggest Customer

Every year, we are faced with new regulations and laws from our government that make it harder to do business. We fight them through proper channels, but ultimately we must play on the field in front of us.

We can’t say the same about our government’s choices of suppliers, as we must try to alter that field. Whether the government is local or federal, and whether the product is a manhole cover or a transmission case for a tank, we must demand that our government purchase its goods from domestic suppliers.

Recent articles on New York City buying manhole covers from India and Airbus winning military aircraft orders over Boeing have focused the spotlight on this issue, and we, as manufacturers, must continue to push it on all levels of government. It is just as important to our economy for every Anytown, U.S.A., to buy domestically as it is for New York City.

If we want to turn around the slow decline of U.S. manufacturing, we need to regain all of the business of our biggest customer—our local and federal government. Take the time to ask your leaders how their purchasing decisions are made; it is worth the effort.

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