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Flexing for Success

Shannon Wetzel

This week, Goldens’ Foundry & Machine, an AFS Corporate Member out of Columbus, Georgia, was featured on an ABC Evening News segment called “Made in America.” The foundry told its story of pivoting in 2020 to fill the pandemic-driven demand for certain cast iron products—like gym weights and kettle bells—that were in very short supply.

The ability for foundries to adapt has become increasingly important as customer needs and markets have changed. What’s so impressive about metalcasting businesses being flexible is that the operations are not necessarily so easy to adapt! Molding equipment has set size limits, and
furnaces have set capacities. Secondary processes have to be accounted for. Alloy chemistries must
be mastered. And the stakes are high—alterations to processes and equipment take considerable
capital investment and time. It’s a wonder foundries make any changes at all.

But, of course, businesses must adapt to the world in order to survive and thrive.

Perhaps the difficulty of changing helps metalcasters take special care and consideration before making a leap, ensuring the adjustment is a sound business decision. Both Hoyt Memorial Lectures at Metalcasting Congress this year focused on transformation in the industry. The American foundry industry is one of the country’s oldest industries, and its exciting to realize todays’ metalcasters continue to innovate and capitalize on market shifts.

Metalcasters’ flexibility helps their customers, too. This issue’s cover story is a Q&A with Reg Zeller, CEO of a new metalcasting group CaneKast, which today consists of three small metalcasting operations in strategic locations across the U.S. The discussion centers around reshoring and how to convince OEMs to bring their parts back. CaneKast has a development process it uses to help walk a customer through the process of re-sourcing closer to home. Its multiple casting operations allows
CaneKast to be flexible for its customers’ needs and in turn helps customers rethink their own rigid

“We can be very flexible to make the process work,” Zeller says in the article on page 18. “And at the end of the day, once you own your own tooling, you are now back in control of your own destiny. You can take your job to whatever foundry you want.”

For many foundries, flexibility can mean freedom, such as freedom from being chained to a single
big customer, or in Goldens’ case, freedom to step into direct-to-consumer sales with a completely
new type of customer.

We at Modern Casting look forward to every issue, when we can share stories on how foundries are consistently seizing new opportunities. The fortitude is inspiring. Keep flexing, readers!