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The High Tech Sand Box

In a recent visit to a metalcasting facility, we asked our tour guide if the company was sending anyone to CastExpo this year. His answer was yes, and we exchanged our impressions of the first CastExpo we each had attended. The metalcaster described his amazement at the extent of technology exhibited on the show floor. For someone used to seeing equipment smeared with the unavoidable grime of day-to-day operation, years into its service, the show was an eye-opener. Metalcasters often describe their job as “playing in sand all day,” but it downplays the technological edge of the process.

The metalcasting shop we were visiting was a small, largely manual job shop, and the metalcaster admitted much of the high automation equipment would not find a place in his operation. But it gave him pride that he made a living in an industry that was capable of modern, innovative technology.

The metalcasting process has been around for thousands of years, and by simple description—pour molten metal into a mold, wait for it to solidify—it’s fundamentally the same. So we forget that our industry, with roots in the foundation of mankind, is still a modern industry that is constantly affected by advancements in science and driven by cutting edge programming. Our industry is nearly as old as dirt, but it maintains its relevance. Events like CastExpo remind us of its magic, too.