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EDITORIAL


Why the Disconnect? A


disconnect exists between manufacturing and the rest of our society. If you ask a non- manufacturer if manufacturing is critical


for our society and its economy, the answer is invari- ably yes. If you scan the guide on your TV, you will find many shows on manufacturing—How It’s Made, Made in America and Manufactur- ing Marvels are examples. Even food television and morning talk shows dip their toes in manufac- turing to discuss cast cookware. But then


manufacturing is faced with an obstacle like the new silica rule proposed by the U.S. Occupational, Safety and Health Administration this past September as outlined in our feature, “What to Expect from the Proposed Silica Rule,” on p. 39. Te proposed rule would significantly tighten the current permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 100 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air to 50, with an action level of 25. While the rule applies to all of general industry and manufacturing, met- alcasting stands to be one of the most affected sectors. Couple that with the stories that surrounded


the rebuilding of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which re-opened in September after the completion of a $6.4 billion project that used 43,000 tons of Chinese steel. Te California Department of Transportation sourced the manufacturing of the more than two dozen steel bridge decks to a Chinese-based firm with the goal of saving more than $400 million. “Te steel had flaws, the welds had flaws and the


end result was no money was saved,” said Demo- cratic Congressman John Garamendi in an article for McClatchyDC. “And China used that contract to build a highly specialized steel mill, the only one in the world. Tat could have been an American steel mill, but it’s not.” If most believe manufacturing is critical to main- taining a strong and vibrant society and economy, why do so many of our actions run opposite of that? A recent trip to San Francisco brought me face-


to-face with this dissonance. During a tour of the Cable Car Museum (which also is the central “power


If most believe manufacturing is


plant” for the city’s cable car system), I witnessed hundreds of people staring in awe at 14-ft. sheaves (made up of two half-circle castings) and their gearboxes driving the miles of cables that run under- neath the city streets, powering the cable cars. Tis tourist attraction celebrates the manufac- turing and engineering of this iconic mode of transportation. As I walked around it, I kept asking myself: Why the disconnect?


critical to maintaining a strong and vibrant society and economy, why do our actions run opposite of that?


The Cable Car Museum in


San Francisco is a showcase for manufacturing.


Alfred T. Spada, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief


If you have any comments about this editorial or any other item that appears in Modern Casting, email me at aspada@afsinc.org.


November 2013 MODERN CASTING | 9


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