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he U.S. metalcasting industry is in the midst of a recovery from a dramatic recession that began at the end of 2008 and continued through the first part of 2010, as casting customers are regaining lost ground. After shipping $28.2 billion in cast- ings in 2007, the industry bottomed out to $21.62


billion in shipments in 2009 at the depth of the recent economic recession. The industry began to rebound in 2010 with an estimated growth of 19% from the previous year to $25.67 billion, and this continued in 2011, reach- ing $30.66 billion in sales. The recovery is expected to continue through 2015 when sales will reach $35.12 billion, according to the 2013 Metalcast- ing Forecast and Trends Report published by the American Foundry Society, Schaumburg, Ill. All cast metals are expected to see sales growth in the short term as


customer demand continues to improve. Ductile iron, aluminum, compacted graphite iron and copper-base alloys see the greatest opportunities for long- term growth. While ductile iron growth is expected across all end markets, it is led by the oil and gas, automotive, construction, and pump and compres- sor markets. Steel growth will be led by the oil and gas, turbine, material handling, and pump and compressor markets. The return of the automotive and transportation markets should bring about short-term growth to aluminum and magnesium castings. For cop- per-base alloys, the valve, pump and compressor, and construction markets are keys to growth.


Currently, the U.S. metalcasting


industry is made up of 2,001 facili- ties, down from 2,336 five years ago. This reduction can be attrib- uted to the recession, technological advancements, foreign competition and tightening regulations. The U.S. also saw changes in


capacity availability and utilization over the past five years. In 2007, utilization was at 75% and dropped to 51% in 2009. That number jumped to 75% in 2011 and 80% in 2012. Total available capac- ity has dropped from 16,800,000 tons to 15,308,000 since 2007. However, it is expected to grow in 2013 to 15,750,000, with an 82% utilization. The total number of metalcasting sites in the U.S. also has dropped from 2,190 in 2007 to 2,010 in 2012. A slight decrease is expected in 2013, bringing the total sites down to 2,001. 


Aluminum and ductile iron casting sales are expected to grow at nearly the same trajectory.


32 | METAL CASTING DESIGN & PURCHASING | Jan/Feb 2013


Copper-based and other alloys are trending upward through 2020.


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