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Metalcasting Congress Brews a Memorable Week in Milwaukee

Staff Report

In a town where brews rule, the 2024 AFS Metalcasting Congress served up a rich recipe of exciting synergies savored by more than 2,700 attendees April 23–25.  

Better than a micro-brewery, the Congress microcosm of continuous technical learning, face-to-face networking, recognition of excellence, and a show floor frothy with business activity provided a memorable experience for the North American casting industry. Dozens of casting buyers, over 1,000 foundry personnel, 100 presenters, and representatives for 250 exhibitors all convened from over a dozen countries worldwide, fostering a truly global exchange of ideas.
During the event, AFS welcomed in its newly elected leadership team for 2024-2025. Angela Schmeisser (St. Marys Foundry) steps into the role of AFS President, supported by Vice President David Gilson (SinterCast) and 2nd Vice President John Lancaster (General Motors). Bradford Muller (Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Co.) transitions to Immediate Past President. AFS also welcomes Susan Bear (Grede Castings), Bob Braun (Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry), Kelley Kerns (HA International, LLC), and Paul Leonard (Investment Casting and Six Sigma Expert) to the 2024-2028 Directors Class. 

Notable moments of the Metalcasting Congress included an opening keynote from the United States’ 70th Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and the Hoyt Memorial Lecture delivered by Mike Lenahan (Badger Mining Corp.). Special gatherings, such as the Women in Metalcasting Breakfast and a reception for AFS Young Professionals provided opportunities to connect with acquaintances while forging new friendships. Meanwhile, subject-matter experts led more than 50 technical and management sessions and classes. 

AFS extends warmest appreciation to the Platinum Sponsors of the Congress, industry leaders committed to the association and its members. They are: ABP, Blast Cleaning Technologies, FOSECO, Hoosier Pattern, Humtown, Inductotherm, Keramida, Laempe Reich, Matthews Intl., REFCOTEC, Sinto Tinker Omega/Sinto USA, and Sinto. And a special thank you to the event’s Gold Sponsors: Andromat, Bingham & Taylor, Cottingham & Butler, Epic Machine, General Kinematics, Grede, HA Group, Magma, Sintex North America & International, St Marys Foundry, Summit Foundry Systems, and Versevo.

Award Winners

During the Annual Banquet, AFS Gold Medal Awards were presented to: Henry Lodge, Chairman, Lodge Manufacturing Co. (South Pittsburg, Tennessee) who received The Peter L. Simpson Award; and Jeet Radia, Senior Vice President of Environmental, Health and Safety, McWane Inc., (Birmingham, Alabama) who received The Thomas W. Pangborn Award.

Service Citations were awarded to Mike Buyarski, COO, The Federal Metal Co. (Bedford, Ohio); Mark Osborne, Senior Engineer-Castings, Wabtec Corp. (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania); and Brian Rachwitz, Quality and Technical Services Manager, EJ (East Jordan, Michigan).
Liam Miller, Technical Director-Specialty Sands R&D, American Colloid Co. (Hoffman Estates, Illinois) received The AFS Award of Scientific Merit.  

The banquet also featured the awarding of The Casting of the Year trophy, which was accepted by Angela Schmeisser on behalf of St Marys Foundry for its 6,600-lb. frac pump frame.

Additional awards were bestowed at the Metalcasting Congress as follows:

Additive Manufacturing Division’s Technical Achievement Award––Nathaniel Bryant, University of Northern Iowa; Group Service Award––University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa. 

Aluminum & Light Metals Division’s Glenn Stahl Service Award––Herbert Doty, General Motors. 

Cast Iron Divisions Best Paper Award––Ductile Iron Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Excel-based Parametric Model Development and Application (23-014), Yongxian Zhu; Greg Keoleian; Daniel Cooper, University of Michigan. And the Richard B. Gundlach Outstanding Service Award––Perry Kamrowski, Alliant Castings. The New Member Award––Julia Scruton, Baker Manufacturing Co. And the Group Service Award––Betz Industries.

Copper Division’s David Kunkel Distinguished Service Award—Gregory Svoboda, I Schumann & Co. 

Engineering & Smart Manufacturing Division’s Plant Engineering Award––Bingham & Taylor Corp. The Norris B. Luther Award––Andrea McDermott, A Y McDonald Mfg. Co. 

Lost Foam Division’s Best Paper Award––Loss of Kinetic Zone Pressure Causes Mold Wall Collapse During Filling Across a Glue Join in a Lost Foam Casting (23-027), Jacob Belke, Mercury Marine; Keaton Allen, Missouri University of Science & Technology. The Technical Excellence Award––Jacob Belke, Mercury Marine.  The Ray Donahue Outstanding Service Award––Glover Kerlin, retired.

Melting Methods & Materials Division’s Best Presentation Award––Optimizing Sintering of Coreless Furnaces Using Data Tools (23-133c), Ben Hunsicker, Allied Mineral Products; David Lazor, Ajax Tocco Magnethermic Corp. The Excellence in Committee Award––Brian Johnson, Hickman Williams & Co. Outstanding New Member Award––Eric Gokey, Cadillac Castings, Ben Froelich, Charter Aarrowcast. 
Molding Methods & Materials Division’s Best Paper Award––Digital Measurement of Active Clay in Green Sands (23-056), Dr. Sam Ramrattan; Dr. James Springstead; Piao-Jian Tan, Western Michigan University; Liam Miller, American Colloid Co., Brian Rachwitz, EJ. Best Presentation Award––Reduce Purging Times for Turbo Volute Core, Optimizing Quality & Tool Life (23-008), Mauricio Velazquez Blandino, MAGMA Foundry Technologies, Inc. The Kotzin-Robison Service Citation Award ––Dr. Sam Ramrattan, Western Michigan University Steel. Best Paper Award––Growth Kinetics & Development of the Solid-Liquid Interface in Low Carbon and High Alloy Steel Castings Enables by Confocal Microscopy (23-094), Katelyn Kiser; Viraj A. Athavale; Dr. Laura Bartlett; Mario Buchely; Dr. Ronald O’Malley, Missouri University of Science & Technology. Outstanding Service Award––Mike Porfilio, Stainless Foundry & Engineering, Inc.

Marketing Division’s Jack Steel Excellence in Marketing Award––Tom Kayser, Osco Industries, Inc. 

The Women in Metalcasting Award for Excellence went to Svetlana Dodik-Pelja, HA Group. And the recipient of the Jean Bye Scholarship is Katelyn Kiser, a student at Missouri University of Science & Technology. 
The Howard F. Taylor Award––Small, In-line Passenger Vehicle Engines: Cast Iron with the Same Weight as Aluminum (23-071), Andre Ferrarese, Tupy Fundicoes, Carlos Cabezas, Tupy Fundicoes; Steve Dawson, SinterCast Ltd. 

Ray Witt Award––Ductile Iron Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Excel-based Parametric Model Development and Application (23-014), Yongxian Zhu; Greg Keoleian; Daniel Cooper, University of Michigan.