Shining a Light on the Importance of Metalcasting
The coronavirus has caused us to consider how much our world is interwoven, how fragile networks can be, and how important it is to shore up and maintain strong ties to avoid major crises. The manufacturing supply chain has not escaped this scrutiny, and flaws in how and where parts are sourced have been revealed. Yet, despite those kinks, this episode has also shown how nimble, decisive, and ingenious manufacturers and metalcasters are.
In our cover story on page 18, Modern Casting shares how companies in the metalcasting supply chain responded—many within hours—to calls for urgent action to aid in coronavirus relief efforts, from making hand sanitizer to casting parts for respirator-making equipment.
Metalcasters are also showing their flexibility in serving new market demands while exemplifying the importance of having a strong manufacturing base in North America. On page 17, we share how iron foundries have stepped up to make workout equipment—parts that have largely been offshored and are now in short supply as people try to stay fit at home. Increasing orders from an overseas source would have taken too long for distributors to meet the demand. Domestic sources answered the need.
The opportunity for reshoring is not lost on the industry. According to a recent Harris poll, 71% of Americans now think companies should pull back from manufacturing in China. For more on the nation’s current sentiment regarding reshoring, see our article on page 22. U.S. metalcasters’ perspectives are shared on page 24.
COVID-19’s impact on our world will be explored and discussed for years. We’ve all wondered about the long-term effect the virus will have on schools, jobs, the economy, industry, etc. Many have come to appreciate how vital it is to keep all the various cogs of our society strong in order to keep the nation moving.
Last year, AFS set out to show how vital the U.S. metalcasting industry was to the nation’s economy and commissioned an Economic Impact Analysis study. According to the report (see page 26), American metalcasting contributes $110 billion to the economy.
Like much of manufacturing, metalcasters are hurting from the global shutdown caused by the coronavirus. The EIA report clearly shows the nation’s leaders why passing policies that will help keep the metalcasting industry strong is so important. The interactive report is accessible at ww.afsinc.org/us-metalcasting-industry-impact-us-jobs-economy.
This issue talks a lot about impact. COVID-19’s impact on reshoring, the metalcasting industry’s impact on the economy, and the foundry supply chain’s impact on coronavirus relief efforts. Hopefully one of the lasting impacts from this period is a renewed commitment to domestic manufacturing by investors, OEMs, legislators and educators.