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CONQUERING IRON CAPACITY CHALLENGES


Purchasers, designers and metalcasters cooperate to overcome production obstacles.


A DENISE KAPEL, SENIOR EDITOR


s the U.S. metalcasting industry recovers from recession, metalcasters are judiciously add- ing capacity to meet demand and capture new business. According to the 2012 Metalcasting Forecast and Trends Report published by the American Foundry Society, Schaumburg, Ill., the recovery is expected to continue through 2015, when casting sales are forecast to reach $35.18 billion, versus $25.49 billion in 2011.


When capacity tightened, many iron casting purchasers found some jobs were


no longer a good fi t with the metalcasting facilities that had served them in the past. In some cases, a shift in focus placed certain castings outside the scope of the metalcaster’s business.


GLOBAL CASTING Before the recession began in 2008,


a large U.S. metalcasting supplier produced the majority of volume for Haldex Corp., Rockford, Ill., a global purchaser of primarily ductile iron parts for the heavy-duty truck market. As the industry hit bottom, Haldex and its sup- pliers had to make adjustments, and they faced new challenges when the economy started to pick up in 2010-2011. Both of the U.S. metalcasters Haldex sourced from were over positioned, according to Roberta Brecheisen, sourcing director.


PRODUCTION ON THE RISE According to Metal Casting Design & Purchas-


ing’s most recent “Census of World Casting Produc- tion,” gray iron continues to be the most produced material globally at 48% versus 25% ductile iron, 11% steel and 16% nonferrous metals. Ductile and gray iron both showed a 1% increase from 2009 to 2010. Global casting shipments grew 13.7% from 2009 to 2010, with Taiwan and Brazil showing the strongest growth at a 42% and 41% casting increase, respec- tively. After four years of decline, domestic casting production grew 11.2% in that period. The U.S. is the third largest global producer of metal castings. 


34 | METAL CASTING DESIGN & PURCHASING | Sept/Oct 2012


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