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EDITORIAL


A Rebirth in the Making? W


hile walking the streets of Charleston, S.C., recently, my attention was pulled in all directions to see the castings on dis-


play. Many were municipal castings from our friends at Neenah Foundry Co., East Jordan Iron Works and Ford Meter Box. But the city also is home to many decorative, architectural and military castings that are reminders of its rich history. With Charles-


“Tese are


ton’s history tied to the early develop- ment of the U.S., the city provided an interesting backdrop for me to hear last month’s announcement that the metalcasting in- dustry is part of two initiatives announced by President Obama to de- velop regional manufacturing hubs that will connect private business with research institutions as part of his National Network of Manufacturing Innovation. Tis is coupled with the January announcement that metalcasting is part of the America Makes initiative on additive manufacturing. I saw the birth of metalcasting manufacturing


in the U.S. through the streets of Charleston. Did I also learn about the rebirth of metalcasting manu- facturing while walking those same streets? For those of you not familiar with these three


projects, here is a recap (see p. 86 for more details): American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing


Innovation Institute—Based in Canton Township, Mich., this regional hub will focus on the manu- facture of aluminum, titanium and high-strength steel, while working with universities and labs on research and development. Te American Foundry Society (AFS) is part of a consortium of 34 compa- nies, nine universities and 17 other groups includ- ing Boeing, General Electric (GE) and Te Ohio State University, who are pledged to work together to pioneer lightweight, high performing metals and alloys while developing the skills and training needed for production. Digital Labs for Manufacturing (or Digital Lab)


—Led by University of Illinois labs in Chicago, the Digital Lab will bring together manufactur- ing and software companies from Boeing to GE to develop compatible software and hardware for supply chains to reduce manufacturing costs. AFS


forward-thinking initiatives that will translate to


practical results in the near future.”


will work with the other partners to use Digital Labs as a resource, focal point and network for resolving technical barriers currently limiting the application and integration of digital manufacturing and innovative design technologies. Accelerated Adoption of AM


Technology in the American Foundry Industry—Tis project was awarded funding from the National Network of Manufactur- ing Innovation’s pilot program and is led by the Youngstown Business In- cubator, with partnership from AFS, Youngstown State University, ExOne, Humtown


Products, Janney Capital Markets and the Univer- sity of Northern Iowa. Te research will support the transition of binder jet additive manufacturing to the small business casting industry by allowing increased access to the use of binder jet equipment and the development of design guidelines and pro- cess specifications. Yes, these three projects are government spon-


sored, but look at the other partners. Review the focus of these initiatives—additive manufacturing, lightweight materials and supply chain constraints. Tese are forward-thinking initiatives that will translate to practical results in the near future. At a time when we are struggling with low-cost global competitors fully backed by their governments, it is positive for our industry to receive support for our research and development efforts. Tese initiatives are another brick in the founda-


tion of metalcasting manufacturing being rebuilt before our eyes. As casting buyers continue to look to U.S. suppliers as part of their answer to global demands, we will need this foundation to continue to become stronger.


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.


March 2014 MODERN CASTING | 7


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