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47th Census of World Casting Production

Annual global casting production has shown continued growth in 2012 since exceeding prerecession levels in 2011.

MCDP Staff Report

(Click here to see the story as it appears in January/February 2014's Metal Casting Design & Purchasing.)

In 2012, a year after world casting production exceeded pre-2008 levels, global production increased to more than 100 million metric tons, a 2.3% increase from 2011, according to this year’s MODERN CASTING Census of World Casting Production. Following a sharp decline in total production in 2009, the industry rebounded over two years to prerecession figures. The 2012 production total represents a continued upward trend.

Of the 37 countries that provided census data, 20 reported a contraction in annual volumes for 2012. Bosnia and Herzegovina, after posting the greatest amount of growth in last year’s census, saw its production total fall by 50.1%. Brazil experienced the largest contraction among the top producing countries with a 16.9% drop in overall volume in 2012. Brazil, Finland, Italy, Norway, Pakistan, South Africa, Switzerland and Taiwan reported decreases in the double digits.

While only 11 countries reported growth, the world’s two largest casting producers, China and the United States, buoyed global output by increasing production by 1.2 million metric tons and 2.8 million metric tons, respectively. Belgium (63.5%, an additional 29,200 metric tons) and the Ukraine (53.2%, an increase of 532,000) posted the largest increases in relative production compared to the year prior.

China remained far and away the world’s largest producer with a total volume of 42.5 million metric tons, a total of 43% of global production. The U.S., after retaking the second spot in the world’s top 10 from India in 2011, strengthened its position by producting 12.8 million metric tons, a 28% increase. Following India’s 9.3 million, spots 4 through 8 remained in place, with Japan’s 5.3 million, Germany’s 5.2 million, Russia’s 4.3 million, Brazil’s 2.9 million and Korea’s 2.4 million metric tons. France remained in the top 10, but its total production dropped by 12%. The top 10 nations produced 88% of the world’s castings, the same total as the previous three years.

The U.S. continued to improve in its productivity figures, with an increase of 26% to 6,380 metric tons per facility. Germany, the world leader in per plant production, experienced a decrease of 315 metric tons per plant, a 3.5% decline. 

China and India, the two countries with the greatest number of facilities, reported a 3% gain and 6.5% decline, respectively. Productivity is calculated as total tonnage divided by the number of plants reported.

Total production of iron increased, with gray iron growing 0.3% and ductile iron 1.6%, while malleable iron fell 7.7%. Steel improved 9.2%, aluminum 6.5% and magnesium 24.6%.  

The data reported in the 47th Census of World Casting Production is supplied by each nation’s metalcasting association or similar representatives. Countries that did not participate this year were Croatia, Denmark, Mexico, Mongolia, Slovakia and Russia. These countries remain listed according to the last year they participated. 

Ukraine has returned to the list, providing results updated from 2009. The country has increased its overall output from 1 million metric tons in 2009 to 1.5 million in 2012. While Ukrainian production of gray iron dropped from 640,000 to 420,000 metric tons, the country experienced significant growth in steel (530,000, up from 275,000 metric tons) and ductile iron (140,000, up from 40,000 metric tons).Economic Rebound Global casting production grew in 2012, but other than the large gains in the U.S. and China, total tonnage dropped slightly. Economic volatility meant big losses and gains for certain countries. Although France and Brazil reported decreases in the double digits, the majority of the world’s largest producers reported only steady growth or slight contraction. The countries in the top 10 reported a total growth rate of 2.5%, which could be seen as an encouraging sign that the the bulk of worldwide volatility is found in smaller markets.

Click to view the digital edition to see full charts of production numbers by country.

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