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The Casting Congress: To Teach and To Learn

Article X, Section 1 of the American Foundry Society’s Bylaws states: “There shall be an annual meeting of this society...” and Section 3: “There shall be held by the society, at intervals designated by the board of directors, exhibits of interest and educational value to the metalcasting industry...” Today, that annual meeting is the AFS Metalcasting Congress.

Through each of the first 25 years of AFA’s existence, the annual meeting was held without fail. No convention was held in 1921 due to the depression, at which point the meeting was moved from the fall to spring. The only other two circumstances precluding a convention was in 1945, when, due to the war, a strict ban was placed on all travel, and 2020, when travel and public gatherings were restricted due to COVID-19.

At the 1896 convention, four of the 12 papers presented dealt with some type of equipment problem. The subjects of the four papers were “Foundry Grains,” “Air Compressors Used in the Foundry,”  “The Sandblast for Cleaning Castings,” and “Molding Machines and Their Application.”

The greatest contribution of AFS toward the increased use of the most modern type of foundry equipment has been through exhibitions at CastExpo and Metalcasting Congress. These shows present an opportunity for manufacturers to show the latest development in foundry equipment and supplies.

In the early 1900s, Dr. Richard Moldenke reported at one annual meeting: “Perhaps no one thing has stimulated the educational movement in the foundry industry as much as the magnificent exhibition of foundry machinery and appliances. Foundrymen are waking up to the fact that they must reequip their plants to meet modern conditions, and the creation of these modern conditions are directly traceable to the work of our association. But for the dissemination of information on such subjects as the molding machine, the technical and scientific management of mixtures and melting, and other items of progress, the industry would not be where it is today.”

The marketplace idea of exhibiting, like the county fairs and displays of the ancient guilds, offers a place and time for metalcasters, buyers and suppliers from all over the world to meet and study updated foundry production methods and control.