2023 Cast Iron Production Conference

Hilton Charlotte Airport
February 27 – 28, 2023


The 2023 Cast Iron Production Conference is a can’t miss event for any iron foundry, supplier or end-user of ferrous castings. Sessions will cover a broad range of topics including melting practice and charge makeup, inoculation, treatment, gating and risering, quality control and finishing considerations. This conference will benefit those who have responsibilities for areas listed above or are more focused and need to understand cross functional interactions. Attendees will hear several practical talks with ideas and concepts that can readily be put to use. There will be opportunities to network across the industry and with subject matter experts. Join the AFS Cast Iron Division in Charlotte this February!

For information about sponsorship opportunities at the event, please contact Kim Farrugia at kfarrugia@afsinc.org or click here.


  • Hilton Charlotte Airport
  • Charlotte, NC
  • February 27 – 28, 2023
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Hotel Information

  • Hilton Charlotte Airport
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • $139 per night

Room rate cutoff is February 6, 2023. 

Conference Agenda

Monday, February 27, 2023
1 - 1:15 p.m.





Eric Nelson
Cast Iron Division Chair, Dotson Iron Castings, Mankato, MN

1:15 - 2:15 p.m.
Keynote: Cast Iron - What Will the Next 3,000 Years Bring?

John "Chip" Keough




Chip Keough
LightSpeed Concepts Inc., Albion, MI

Cast Iron was likely first developed in the 11th century BCE. Since then we have developed and commercialized a remarkable family of engineered cast irons. New casting methods, chemistries and post processing methods have expanded the cast iron palette. Cast iron is a green material and it is everywhere, Today, building on 3,000 years of development, we have advanced methods to model, manufacture and assess materials, and cast iron is no exception. This presentation will consider the direction of new cast iron developments and lean forward, gazing into the future.


Session Chair:
Eric Nelson
Dotson Iron Castings, Mankato, MN

2:15 - 3:15 p.m.
Panel: Scrap Stream (Individual Presentations then combined Q&A)





Brandon Kacko
PrimeTrade Inc., Finleyville, PA

Mike Dunn
OmniSource Corp., Brookville, OH





Jiten Shah
PDA LLC, Naperville, IL

Global Pig iron update, Sourcing options for pig iron moving forward, pig iron demand increasing due to mini Mills. The war in Ukraine and how it will effect the pig iron market for years to come.

Recent research outcome on AI/ML driven meta modeling for high-strength ductile iron sand castings to predict yield strength using historical data with detail chemistry will be presented. During this panel, the effects and influences of lesser-known elements will be discussed and demonstrated for potential impact on yield strength.

  • Growth of EAF mill production
  • How much new production is here and coming?
  • How does this affect prime grades availability?
  • Is the Quality of prime scrap changing for foundry consumption?


3:15 - 3:30 p.m.

Session Chair:
Brandon Reneau
Caterpillar, Dunfermline, IL

3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Panel: Least Cost Charge (Flexibility and Adaption)





Brad Steinkamp
Charter Dura-Bar, Woodstock, IL





Justin Hall
John Deere Foundry Waterloo, Waterloo, IA





William Koshut
TMS International, Beaver Falls, PA

As clean scrap continues to become more difficult to source, the need to diversify scrap purchases in order to identify least cost charges that meet tighter customer specifications becomes more and more demanding. Today’s software can help simplify the mathematics required to optimize raw material purchases. By making the software fully capable of automatically interfacing with ERPs, company servers, spectrometers, electronic scales, bar codes and other interfaces, the technology continues to focus on minimizing operator interaction while reducing process variances.

4:30 - 5:45 p.m.
Panel: What are the Top 3 Process Control Parameters for Metal that I Should be Monitoring in My Cast Iron Production?





Jacob Gerdt
Waupaca Foundry Inc., Waupaca, WI (Ductile Furnace)




Matt Calcutt
Rochester Metal Products, Rochester, IN (Induction Ductile Iron/Melt)

Emily Ballinger, Presented by Brandon Reneau
Caterpillar Inc., Mapleton, IL (CGI)





Trevor Beach
Betz Industries, Grand Rapids, MI (Large Producer)

This panel will discuss the top requisite process control parameters in monitoring cast iron production. Panelists representing a variety of melting/holding/pouring methods including will speak on their shared experiences on a variety of iron grades including gray, ductile, and CGI irons.  The differences and unique considerations for each melting method and iron grade will be discussed from a list of leading industry practitioners.

5:45 p.m.
Day 1 Concludes
6 p.m.
Networking Reception
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
7 - 8 a.m.

Session Chair:
Mike Riabov
Elkem, Appleton, WI

8 - 9 a.m.
Treatment and Inoculation of Iron





Rob Logan
Elkem Silicon Products, Lewiston, KY

This provides an overview of Iron Processing principles with particular focus on the basic principles of Iron processing and graphite nucleation during melting, treatment and the inoculation stages. Specifics will include the basics in iron chemistry, treatment methods and inoculation types and methods for both Gray and Ductile Iron

9 - 10 a.m.
Panel: Quality Control? Gray & Ductile Iron?


Ashley Folden-Ecker,

Dotson Iron Castings, Mankato, MN

This panel will discuss options of controlling mechanical properties and correlation of casting mechanical property to separately cast samples including in-mold treatment and in-stream inoculation processes. Also, one OEM’s take on how to factor in separately cast test bars to their specifications.

  • Process Control
  • Quality Verification
  • Casting Correlation
10 - 10:15 a.m.
10:15 - 11 a.m.
Panel: What are the Top 5 Defects I Should be Aware of in Cast Iron Production? Case Studies? Walkthrough on Resolutions of Defects?





Kramer Pursell
Metals Technologies Auburn LLC, Auburn, IN





Leonard Winardi
Charlotte Pipe & Foundry Co., Charlotte, NC

Jesse Martinez

Neenah Foundry Co., Neenah, WI

Panelists will discuss defects they have seen in their foundries. They will provide practical insights and case studies into defect detection, analysis and resolution.


Session Chair:
Mike Riabov
Elkem, Appleton, WI

11 - 11:30 a.m.
From Simulation to Autonomous Optimization - Digital Foundry

Vadim Pikhovich
Magma Foundry Technologies, Schaumburg, IL

11:30 a.m. - Noon
Case Study: Moving Defects to Reduce Scrap

Patrick Kluesner

Grede-Southfield, Southfield MI

In this case study, different options are explored to reduce defects in a gear casting.  Different configurations of risers as well as cast geometry is tested to see what has the best chance to improve scrap at the machine shop.  A virtual DoE is used to quickly evaluate different options in simulation before testing in production.

Noon - 1 p.m.
1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
GATING & RISERING (continued)

Session Chair:
Brad Steinkamp
Charter Dura-Bar, Woodstock, IL

1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Naturally Pressurized Theory Applied to the Gating of Casting Irons

Kyle Metzloff

University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Platteville, WI

In the past few years, the works of John Campbell have brought to the attention of the foundry industry that there can be further improvements in the gating of castings through naturally pressurized gating systems.  Several experiments and casting projects have been conducted to explore how these theories apply to iron castings.  An integral part of the gating systems are filters and what they do to reduce velocity and allow for proper flow through gates in the system.  Observations and correlation to simulation, as well as the identification of areas that need further study to create better guidelines for application of naturally pressurized gating in cast irons in both vertical and horizontal gating systems are discussed. 

2:15 - 3:15 p.m.

Session Chair:
Brad Steinkamp
Charter Dura-Bar, Woodstock, IL

2 - 2:45 p.m.
Smart Manufacturing of Ductile Iron Using Artificial Intelligence and Uncertainty Quantification





Jiten Shah
Product Development & Analysis LLC, Naperville, IL

Ductile iron casting design and manufacturing is a multi-variable complex process that often is found inadequate in spite of extensive experience, well controlled operation and a traditional trial & error approach to solve periodic shrinkage porosity and poor properties not meeting the requirements. A framework and methodology consisting of machine learning and AI tools, coupled with ICME (casting process simulation) will be presented to develop meta model predictors with uncertainty quantification using historical production data and selective DOE based data with an example. Application of such meta models applied in near real-time intelligent process control will be presented with positive outcomes. This approach is applicable to solve any such complex problems encountered in the foundry and machining operations.

2:45 - 3:15 p.m.
Monitoring Curing Effectiveness of Chemically Bonded Sand Molds using Embedded Sensors

Nathaniel Bryant
University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA

The phenolic urethane reaction causes byproducts to be emitted from molds as they cure. These are thought to be linked to the physical property development of chemically bonded molds. The amount of emissions generated are typically measured using a weight loss technique developed by the Ohio Cast Metals Association (OCMA). However, this test cannot offer results on an individual mold basis as it was designed for laboratory use. New developments in sensor technology have provided a new avenue for measuring the time-based emission profiles from chemically bonded molds. These sensors can be embedded directly inside molds and could be used to predict the mechanical strength of the mold. The University of Northern Iowa has completed some preliminary research in this area and the results are discussed in the presentation.

3:15 - 3:30 p.m.
3:30 - 5 p.m.
Panel: Lessons Learned in Automated Casting Iron Processing Finishing/Automation of Grinding Cells (Needs in Foundry, Concerns in Finishing Area)

Davin Anderson
Buck Co. Inc., Quarryville, PA





Josh Jaycox
Dotson Iron Castings, Mankato, MN

Jason Torrence
Grede-St. Cloud, St Cloud, MN

Grinding castings has historically been a danger and bottle neck in the foundry. With today’s labor shortage, the difficulty in getting castings through finishing is greater than ever. These three presenters will discuss the challenges and improvements they have made to their facilities in the area of Finishing throughput and automation.

5 p.m.
Conference Concludes
Wednesday, March 1, 2023
9 a.m.
Tour of Charlotte Pipe & Foundry Co.


Space is limited and capped at 30 people.



Registration Fees

Early registration (through Jan. 16, 2023)
AFS member: $650
Non-member: $975

Standard registration
AFS Member: $950
Non-member: $1,425

Cancellations & Substitutions

AFS presents a variety of technical and management conferences (in both in-person and virtual formats). The refund policy for AFS conferences is as follows: 1) Substitutions are accepted at no charge at any time up until the start of the conference; 2) Full refunds are offered if AFS is notified in writing of cancellation at least 30 days in advance of the conference. No refunds or credits are available for less than 30 days written notice.