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Industry Forecast


North America


North American Investment Casting Performance and Outlook


By Joseph E. Fritz, Executive Director, Investment Casting Institute


decade of uninterrupted growth, largely driven by advances in the Aerospace and Automotive sectors.


U During this


period, the industry realized an 8.8% Compounded


Annual Growth Rate


(CAGR), peaking at $6.0 Billion in 2019. Last year, all sectors experienced a decline in sales with only two subsectors deriving economic benefit from the pandemic. This resulted in 2020 North American investment casting sales declining by 23.2%, to $4.6 Billion. Although a major contributor to disrupting the industry’s growth streak, the Pandemic of 2020 is only responsible


10 ❘ January 2021 ®


ntil last year, aggregate sales of investment castings produced in North America demonstrated a


in part. Several market corrections were anticipated, most notably in the Aerospace and Automotive sectors, the two segments that drove the decade of growth, had shown signs of decline in 2019.


Aerospace Historically, Commercial Aerospace has proven to be a cyclical market, with airframe deliveries striking highs and lows every seven years. In the years leading up to 2019, this pattern was displaced by what the industry has termed a “Super Cycle”.


airframe deliveries grew at 5% CAGR. There are several factors contributing to the end of the Super Cycle irrespective


of the pandemic. Global airline traffic showed minor decline in 2019, twin aisle jet orders were deteriorating and emerging market deliveries dropped by nearly 50%. The most direct impact on 2020 performance came from the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max.


For 14 years,


Boeing 737 Max In spite of the fact that the 737 Max was grounded on March 11, 2019, casting sales were unaffected until after Boeing ceased production in December 2019 with over 450 aircraft undelivered. The company’s manufacturing to inventory resulted in a 21% decline in airframe deliveries in 2019. On November 18, 2020, the FAA


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