This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
hoyT mEmorial lECTurE EngagE, EmpowEr and align—

ThE CorE of nExT gEnEraTion manufaCTuring D. Dotson

Dotson Iron Castings, Mankato, MN, USA Copyright 2011 American Foundry Society abstract

If manufacturing in the United States is to survive the challenges of globalization, it will be because workers and leaders are personally engaged, empowered as teams, and aligned around a strategy that revolutionizes the shop floor. The overall state of manufacturing, specifically our foundry industry, is not good. The industry is plagued by incredibly high turnover; foundry intellectual capital is retiring; only a small percentage of foundries are


Do you remember the first time you walked into a foundry? It doesn’t make any difference if you were four years old or 40. The experience was transformational. You were ei- ther hooked or quickly decided you never wanted to work in such a place. It hooked me—the excitement, the intensity, the workers, the massive equipment, the noise, smoke and most importantly the liquid metal. But, that was a genera- tion or two ago and I had grandfather and father who loved the foundry industry. What about today’s student or worker who is thinking about our industry? What would they learn from a quick internet search about the foundry industry? This paper will start with the results of that quick search and then move to what we as leaders must do to capture our next generation of workers. At the same time, because the two are inseparable, we will examine what we must do to meet the challenge of Next Generation Manufacturing.

As a reference point for this paper, my experience is primar- ily from the iron foundry prospective. Dotson Iron Castings was founded more than 100 years ago. While we briefly oper- ated both a steel and non-ferrous foundry, today we are 100% ductile and gray iron with in-plant machining. In 2000, our 10-year vision was “Becoming the World’s Most Automated Foundry,” and it has now been transformed into “Becoming the World’s Most Agile Foundry and Machine Facility.”

The Quick foundry industry Survey

One of the first facts about our industry is that it is declining in both number of foundries and in total capacity. My grand- father started in 1923 when 20,000 iron foundries operated in the U.S. When my father started in 1943, the number had

International Journal of Metalcasting/Fall 2011

recapitalizing; and we have a miserable safety record. While the revolution to survive must be inspired by leaders, it will only happen when the molders, core makers, iron pourers and finishers are individually excited about contributing to customer success. This challenge is made even more difficult by the diversity of our workforce. It is, however, a challenge being met by companies that are preparing for Next Generation Manufacturing.

dropped to 6,000. By the time I started in 1972, there were fewer than 2,000. Today, according the AFS industry cen- sus, there are only 492 iron foundries.

What is contributing to this decline? A quick check on the OSHA site shows that iron foundries are a very dangerous spot to work. The 2009 incident rate was 262% higher the average for all manufacturers.

A check with a member of the Casting Industry Supplier As- sociation (CISA) highlights the fact that fewer than 5% of the foundries are spending significant dollars to recapitalize their aging manufacturing facilities.

On the world front, it is obvious that the United States is no longer leading the industry. At the 2010 6th


Foundry Forum in Barcelona, Spain, there were 240 senior managers from 28 countries. Only three participants repre- sented U.S. foundries: Waupaca Foundry, Denison Indus- tries and Dotson.

“Modern Casting” magazine’s world census reported that just 10 years ago the total production of iron castings in the United States and China was about equal (just under 10 mil- lion tons each). The 2009 census now shows China produc- ing five times the U.S. tonnage (China at 27.5 million tons or 45% of the world’s production). China is also training more than 10,000 skilled foundry technicians annually at 16 centers throughout the country. This quick search indicates that the career potential in our industry is not very good; indeed, most job seekers may just skip over the foundry job want ad to apply at another industry–perhaps that great high tech company, one in the biomedical field or maybe even at one of those new “green” jobs.


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80