2024 Foundry Industry 4.0 Conference

Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
July 30 – 31, 2024


Industry 4.0 is here. Forward-thinking metalcasters are leveraging innovation and technology to boost productivity, profits, and worker safety right now. Attend our upcoming conference to discover practical strategies to implement Industry 4.0 in your foundry or die casting facility. Learn how data-driven manufacturing, automation, and workforce training can future-proof your operations for sustained success. Network with industry experts and walk away with an action plan tailored to your unique goals. The future of manufacturing starts today - join us to take the first step toward a smarter, more agile tomorrow.

Exhibits - Sold Out

2024 4.0 Floorplan
Click here for current floorplan.

AFS is looking for exhibitors to show off their vision of the future of foundries at the conference. Each approved exhibitor gets a tabletop booth (table and 2 chairs) and one attendee registration for the conference. Additional registrations are available at standard conference rates. Space is limited, with only 12 spots available.* Exhibits are open during the afternoon break and evening reception on July 30th. Exhibits are $1,675 for AFS Corporate Members or $1,825 for non-members. (note: At this event exhibitors are able to set up the evening of July 29 and remain set up through the entire two days of the conference, July 30-31.) Click here to download the exhibits form.


Show your support for the future of foundries by sponsoring the 2024 Foundry Industry 4.0 Conference presented by AFS. Sponsors’ logos will be included in all physical conference materials, onsite signage, and guides. Sponsors will be formally recognized daily during the conference and in all social media posts before and after the conference. Sponsorships are $850.

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


Hyatt Regency
  • Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • July 30 – 31, 2024
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Hotel Information

Hyatt Regency 2
  • Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • $175/night + fees

333 West Kilbourn Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53203
(414) 276-1234

To make a reservation, call (414) 276-1234 and request the AFS Room Block or use the link below.

Conference Agenda

Tuesday, July 30, 2024
7 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.
Conference Registration
7:45 – 8 a.m.

Jim Wenson
Chair Foundry 4.0 Committee, Sinto America, Grand Ledge, MI


  • 4.0 Committee and Conference History
  • Recognition of I4.0 Committee Members in Attendance
  • Conference Co-Chairs
8 – 9 a.m.
Keynote: Unlocking Potential: A Digital Transformation Framework for the Foundry Industry

Walker Reynolds
President and Solutions Architect at 4.0 Solutions and the Board Chairman at Intellic Integration, Dallas, TX

The foundry industry faces unique challenges in adopting advanced digital technologies due to limitations in resources and skills. This presentation will introduce a modular framework for foundries to embark on their digital transformation journey. Through a demonstration of a unified namespace integrating real-time production data across tools and processes, attendees will learn how edge integration can unlock workforce potential. Gain an understanding of how leadership's role in defining digital strategy and enabling workers is key to success. This session aims to provide a tangible vision for how foundries of any size can begin capturing the benefits of digital while developing their most important asset - their people.

9 – 9:45 a.m.
AFS Foundry Industry 4.0 Adoption and Needs: Survey Says...

Andrea McDermott
A.Y. McDonald Mfg Co., Dubuque, IA

Exploration of today's technologies defined by Industry 4.0 led to the AFS Industry 4.0 Committee conducting a comprehensive survey among AFS members employed in foundries, inquiring about the current state of Industry 4.0 practices in October 2022. The analysis of the survey responses provides groundbreaking insights and guidance for AFS and the foundry industry, highlighting the significance of Industry 4.0 in improving processes and maintaining competitiveness. These findings offer a unique understanding of I4.0 adoption and its impact on the foundry and casting industry, setting a benchmark for future advancements.

9:45 – 10:15 a.m.
Refreshment Break with Exhibitors
10:15 – 11 a.m.
AI Machine Learning in Every Foundry

Andrew Halonen
Amatrium, Calumet, MI

There is tremendous value in AI tools for material design and manufacturing, yet the capability has yet to be discovered by most foundries. We will present the technology, how to build a dataset within foundry operations, and demonstrate the value so the audience understands how to implement AI in their operation.  This is not exclusive to large companies, rather AI should be affordable and easy to use for all.  In addition to machine learning, there are huge efficiency gains using AmatriumGPT, a GenAI tool that utilizes the large language model within a secure server. Case studies will be shared on new content generation like technical marketing, and company collaboration initiatives that maximize the limited resources within the foundry.

11 – 11:45 a.m.
Generative AI Used to Optimize Mold and Casting Design

Josh O'Dell
University of Northern Iowa, Waterloo, IA

Large Language Models (LLMs) are increasingly employed for their versatile capabilities in tasks like language translation, script generation for programming, and even art creation. The ability to generate scripts and codes is particularly valuable for our research at the University of Northern Iowa. This is evident in the generation of scripts for use in sensor applications. Then other scripts written by the LLMs facilitate the analysis of the newly acquired data, contributing to a deeper understanding of the processes being examined. Furthermore, LLM-generated scripts find practical applications in 3D Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, aiding in the development of tools such as automated molding tools for additive manufacturing and automated gating tools.

11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Lunch with Exhibitors
12:45 – 1:30 p.m.
Cybersecurity: Lessons from the Battlefield

Patrick Van Huffel
CIO, Magotteaux International, Liege, Belgium

The adage 'It's not a matter of if, but when' aptly describes the inevitability of cyberattacks in today's digital landscape. For Magotteaux, this became a reality in January 2023. 

The aim of this presentation is to share our experience with the critical cyber incident that occurred one year ago, examining it from an IT perspective as well as from operational and business viewpoints. 

We will delve into the lessons learned from this event and outline our roadmap to enhance the security of our factories within the context of Industry 4.0, and ensure that we are better equipped to respond and recover when, not if, it will happen again.

1:30 – 2:15 p.m.
Smart Data Collection to Drive Big Data Analytics

Susan Bear
Grede Castings, Southfield, MI

Derek Yusmunt
Norican Group, LaGrange, GA

This presentation discusses how best to implement a single IoT system to give a real-time digital picture of a foundry process and build a consistent, trustworthy database that supports reporting and analytics. It considers and incorporates learnings from multiple global foundry IoT implementations. From strategy to technical to culture, all areas are key in the success for IoT and Industry 4.0. Explore the journey that large organizations are taking to ensure success in the implementation phase.

2:15 – 3 p.m.
Purdue University's Industry 4.0 Smart Foundry Testbed: Concept to Development

Dr. Ragu Athinarayanan
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Dr. Milan Ratika
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Purdue University is developing a Smart Foundry, an industry grade green sand gravity casting foundry with capabilities for real time monitoring, control, with full operational traceability of all processes from melt to finished casting. With a broad spectrum of integrated digital technologies including a scalable cloud-based AI, analytics, and advanced MES solutions, the Smart Foundry continuously monitors and improves performance using digital sensor technologies, real-time intelligence, and scalable analytics to generate quality and consistency of the castings via predictive outcomes. An AI/ML powered Digital Twin (DT) models capable of capturing insights and facilitate the intelligent control of the foundry operations and processes is being developed to be integrated with the Manufacturing USA Institute’s Smart Manufacturing Innovation Platform (SMIP) and Microsoft Azure Cloud. This Smart Foundry was designed with a cadre of capabilities to serve academic, industrial training, and research functions at Purdue.

3 – 3:30 p.m.
Refreshment Break with Exhibitors
3:30 – 4 p.m.
I4.0 and EHS Case Studies 1. E-Chip Drying 2. E-Filter Monitoring 3. S-Indoor Env Monitoring 4. 5S Mobile App

Thomas Carey
Mercury Marine, Fond du Lac, WI

Industry 4.0 concepts are generating much interest in manufacturing operations for predictive maintenance, assessment of process control, assistance in non-destructive evaluation of quality, and ultimately to make predictions about part quality. EHS departments are also concerned with process control, systems maintenance, and reporting both internally and to regulatory bodies.  Thus, the same building blocks of data collection, organization and storage, visualization, analysis, and communication apply to EHS systems.  In this presentation, four case studies are presented. Two are environmentally focused and impact Mercury Marine’s in-house smelting operation and die-casting operation. The other two case studies are safety focused: an in-house 5S mobile application and in-plant ambient environment monitoring.

4 – 4:45 p.m.
The Digital Foundry Process - MAGMA and Industry 4.0

Joe Campbell
MAGMA Foundry Technologies, Inc., Schaumburg, IL

Marcus Schopen
MAGMA Gießereitechnologie GmbH, Aachen, Germany

Simulation, a virtual replica of the casting process based on mathematical and physical modelling, has been used for more than 30 years as a “Digital Twin” to design cast parts, processes, tooling and predict the expected component quality. This presentation examines the systematic coupling of the Digital Shadow and the Digital Twin by implementing a bidirectional data interface between software and a high pressure die casting machine, allowing an online exchange of process data and simulation results.

4:45 p.m.
Q&A with Presenters
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Reception with Exhibitors

Networking, time with Exhibitors, Hors D'Oeuvres, & Refreshments for All

Wednesday, July 31, 2024
7 – 8 a.m.
Registration/Continental Breakfast
8 – 9 a.m.
A Roadmap to Build a Connected Foundry

David Blondheim
Ph.D., Mercury Marine, Fond du Lac, WI

Embracing Industry 4.0 relies on the crucial role of data collection and utilization. The benefits of I4.0 driving operational excellence in connected foundries by elevating productivity, uptime, and quality. While the "why" of Industry 4.0 adoption is widely acknowledged, the challenge lies in the "how" of implementing these technologies to realize their full potential. Success in this endeavor comes from multiple levels within an organization.  An executive-level roadmap is reviewed, structured around five key components: Criteria, Connection, Collection, Consumption, and Culture (the 5 C's). Understanding this high-level framework is foundational, as it informs countless decisions in the process of implementing data collection in a foundry. This executive-level roadmap is then deconstructed into tactical decisions, which are explored in real-world examples.  These examples help illustrate the path to harnessing the data-driven capabilities of Industry 4.0.

9 – 9:45 a.m.
Dumb Cybersecurity Mistakes Everyone Makes... What Can We Do About It!

Ernest J. Kubick
President, MetalTek International, Waukesha, WI

Jeffrey Jones
Director of IT, MetalTek International, Waukesha, Wi

Dr. Sudesh Kannan
Consultant, Schaumburg, IL

Ransomware, supply chain attacks, and email fraud threaten the modern foundry. This presentation offers a holistic, risk-based cybersecurity approach that mirrors successful safety and financial management practices already in place within foundries. Executives will gain insights on protecting their business and reputation, IT managers will learn how to implement concrete security measures, and cybersecurity professionals will find resources and strategies to tailor safeguards to the unique foundry environment. Industry collaboration is key – let's join forces to secure the future of foundries.

9:45 – 10:15 a.m.
Refreshment Break with Exhibitors
10:15 – 11 a.m.
Collecting More Comprehensive Real-Time Data to Optimize Operational Efficiency

Mark Soucie
Ferroloy Inc., Wichita, KS

Jim Eaton
B&L Information Systems, Bridgman, MI

Jerry Eppler
Artek, Folsom, GA

On the journey of Foundry 4.0 it’s important to understand where you want to go and have a clear goal of what you want to accomplish.  This presentation illustrates how collecting and displaying real-time data on the foundry floor and implementing two-way communication with ERP Systems and machines on the floor to display key job information and compare it to actual real-time data, ensures a smooth-running operation.  When parameters are out of sync, attention to the problem occurs immediately to prevent scrap, downtime, and poor production efficiency.

11 – 11:45 a.m.
Foundry Operation Digital Twin at John Deere

Matt Starr
John Deere Foundry, Waterloo, IA

The topic presented of Operations Digital Twin explores the transformative potential of integrating digital twin technology within John Deere factories, specifically the cast iron foundry. John Deere has agreed to use the platform and 3D capture technology for remote visualization within over 60 facilities around the world. The creation of the dynamic and highly detailed digital replica serves as a powerful tool to revolutionize manufacturing operations, offering invaluable insights, viewing of spaces with limited access during production, asset tracking capabilities, and integrating real-time IoT data streams for enhanced decision-making. This underscores the impact of digital twin technology in reshaping industrial sectors, such as foundry operations, for a more competitive and sustainable future.

11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Lunch with Exhibitors
12:45 – 1:30 p.m.
Digital Twin Lessons Learned - Having a Clear Vision of What You Want Before You Begin is Critical

Louis Woods
Magotteaux Inc., Pulaski, TN

The lessons learned from taking over an automation project that stopped and restarted. Proper planning and budgeting are paramount to realize the desired outcome of the project. Is the intention to do an automation project, or an automation project that’s helps save time, improve efficiency, and fast tracks continuous improvement efforts?   

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
"Acme Foundry" Live Data Demonstration

Eric Stockman
Automated Solutions of America, Beloit, WI

End users tend to overcomplicate data collection and connectivity.  Most Foundries have PLCs in place that have the relevant data in them. In this data demonstration we will create a project using SCADA software on one screen live.  See how virtual “Acme Foundry” can use existing data in PLCs from typical foundry processes.  This live demonstration will show how to connect to the PLC, store data to SQL, create a dashboard, generate reports, live trends, and troubleshooting equipment.  Will show how to push the data to the cloud and use some AI tools on it to make other realizations. 

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.
Refreshment Break
2:45 – 3:45 p.m.
PANEL: Connection, Collection, Consumption: Foundry Options for Making it all Happen

Jim Wenson
Sinto America, Grand Ledge, MI

Eric Nelson
Eric Nelson Consulting LLC, Mankato, MN

Vince Coker, Scott Smith
Electric Controls & Systems, Inc., Birmingham, AL

This panel presentation will discuss the various options for foundries connected foundry processes, collect data, and consume/utilize the data. This discussion will cover hands-off vendor led options as well as integrator/do-it-yourself options along with a discussion on the pros and cons of each.

3:45 – 4:30 p.m.
Blind Spots of Industry 4.0

Philippe Dubuc
Fusium, Chicoutimi, Quebec

Industry 4.0 is sometime the buzzword or flavor of the month. Many different experts try to sell consulting and hardware based on that. Let’s put this revolution inside the toolbox instead of a goal to achieve. I will try to demonstrate what to and not to do with it. I will talk about some pitfalls examples of using 4.0 the wrong way. I will also emphasize the next approach of using ideas of Industry 5.0 where it fits to be more resilient, sustainable, and human centric.

4:30 – 5 p.m.
Final Q&A with Presenters
5 p.m.
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Additional Opportunity: Social Hour and Tour at UWM Connected Systems Institute (CSI)

(Limited Capacity 30-40 people, Drinks and Hors d’oeuvres provided by UWM CSI, transportation not provided) **Plan for a sober ride**

CSI collaborates with industry partners on research to support the development of advanced industry 4.0 manufacturing processes with two primary focuses that Metalscasters are looking for.

  • Developing a workforce of the future 
  • The right technology to solve the right problem

CSI features a fully functional production environment test bed. The test bed provides exposure to Industry 4.0 technologies, including robotics and AI. The test bed features plant and automation controls tools from Rockwell Automation, OT security systems from Fortinet, data management and switching controls from Cisco, hardware from Dell, and cloud storage from Microsoft. Check out the two-minute video at https://uwm.edu/csi/about/facilities/. 

Thursday, August 1, 2024
7 – 9:30 a.m.
Tour of Rockwell Automation and Industry 4.0 Committee Meeting

All AFS Conference Registrants are welcome to attend a tour of Rockwell Automation manufacturing facility featuring state-of-the-art innovation, connectivity, and automation. Follow up the tour with an in-person Industry 4.0 Committee meeting (AFS Members Only) at Rockwell.  Those who attend Rockwell will be responsible for their own transportation/carpooling to and from the facility.  Plenty of parking is available. 

10 a.m. – Noon
Industry 4.0 Committee Meeting

(Must be AFS Individual Member to attend the meeting.)


Registration Fees

AFS member: $850 early | $990 standard
Non-member: $1,250 early | $1,485 standard

Early registration ends 6/28/2024

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. Disclosure: By registering, you consent to your likeness being recorded and/or photographed for use by AFS and/or approved third parties.