Showing Signs of Life
The metalcasting industry still has work ahead to regain the lost ground from the 2009 downturn; however, a recent trip to a few facilities in Minnesota indicated blue skies ahead.
Our editors visit metalcasting facilities frequently, and since the first quarter of 2009, the plant floors spoke loud and clear about the condition of the industry. Lines were closed down, machines turned off and workforces cut back. Sometimes it seemed the only work being done was part of a Kaizen event—worthwhile but not revenue-generating.
Our visits are starting to tell a different story, as evidenced by tours of Carley Foundry, Craft Pattern & Mold and Pier Foundry in Minnesota. These shops were busy making castings and bringing in new jobs and customers. Management at all three shops was optimistic about 2011 and beyond and investing in new equipment to prepare for future growth.
Other growth-indicating news has been filtering through, as well, from major order announcements to new plants opening (or closed plants re-opening).
The road back to 2008 production numbers may be on a shallow incline rather than a quick elevation change, but for now, anyway, the leaders of those Minnesota metalcasting facilities seemed to be breathing easier, hopeful about the future of the industry.