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Marking Progress

Shannon Wetzel

As I walked through the brand-new Charlotte Pipe foundry during its grand opening last month, I thought to myself. ‘This was a great way to cap off the year.’ In my 18 years covering the industry, I’ve visited so many great foundries, but a brand new one is rare. 

After the tour, I sat with a few of the local leaders from the area’s economic development teams, and I was reminded of my very early journalism days covering the city beat for a small-town newspaper. I began to look at this huge investment from Charlotte Pipe into Oakboro, North Carolina, (population 2,162) through their eyes. Charlotte Pipe’s new facility is not just a feat accomplished by the single company. It was an achievement for local leaders at the city and county level who worked with Charlotte Pipe to ensure the necessary utilities and infrastructure were there to support such a large plant.

The foundry is also a triumph for the equipment suppliers who built and installed the machinery as well as trained Charlotte Pipe personnel on their operations and maintenance. You can read the full story on Charlotte Pipe’s new foundry on page 16. 

The visit drove home the extended economic impact that investment in manufacturing has on the nation. As we pulled together the sampling of news stories for our Industry Year in Review on page 36, we were happy to be reminded of all the expansions, upgraded equipment, and new capabilities added this year. These advancements will be good both for the metalcasting supply chain, as well as the economies in every community involved.

A couple of years ago, AFS published a report, “The Economic Impact of Metalcasting,” and it puts to numbers this snowball effect that foundry production and investment has on the surrounding economy and supply chain. You can read the report at www.afsinc.org/us-metalcasting-industry-impact-us-jobs-economy. According to the report, the total economic output of the U.S. metalcasting industry is north of $110 billion. The recent Spotlight on Metalcasting video produced by AFS and FEF also highlight this impact (you can find the video here: www.afsinc.org/about-metalcasting.

With such an influence on the economy also comes a responsibility to continue to press forward for improved efficiency, sustainable business practices, and 100% safe operations. Modern Casting’s aim is to share information that can help metalcasters achieve this—as part of AFS’ overarching mission to be “the leading voice and resource on technical, management, and advocacy priorities pertaining to the metalcasting industry.” 

Enjoy the issue!