CastExpo Reflects Industry’s Positive Outlook

Modern Casting staff

The CastExpo show floor was buzzing in Columbus, Ohio, April 23-26, as the metalcasting industry came together to explore ways to meet the needs of a constrained supply chain. Exhibitors displayed and reported several sales transacted during the four days, and attendees left with solid plans for automation, increased efficiency, and improved health and safety. 

Beyond the show floor, highlights from CastExpo included keynote presentations from Mike Abrashoff, former Naval Commander, and Scott Rasmussen, co-founder of EPSN and author of “The Sun Is Still Rising: Politics Has Failed but America Will Not.” The Hoyt Memorial Lecture was delivered by Jean Bye, retired CEO of Dotson Iron Castings, who provided “Seven Keys to Long-Term Success.”

A dynamic and well attended program of management and technical sessions delivered through the concurrent Metalcasting Congress provided technology transfer and case history knowledge to the industry. Along with the technical and management education sessions, Congress attendees had the opportunity to attend four Institute mini courses at CastExpo: Metalcasting Process Basics, The 10-Step Method for Corrective Action, Process Control for Engineers, and A Selling Framework for Engineers. 

Honor Roll

The society’s highest honor, the Gold Medal was presented to Thomas Prucha during the Annual Banquet on Sunday, April 24. Prucha is editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Metalcasting (IJMC) and president of Metal Morphasis LLC. The 2022 William McFadden Gold Medal honors Prucha’s “outstanding achievements, service, and contributions to the metalcasting industry and his visionary leadership steering the industry toward new technological horizons on the global level.”

Prucha has had a long, distinguished, and influential career in the metalcasting industry. In addition to leading his own consultancy and IJMC – published by AFS and the official research journal of the World Foundry Organization – he served in various technical roles at CMI International, Hayes Lemmerz, and INTERMET Corp. Prucha also worked as Vice President of Technical Services for AFS.

“It’s our honor to present Tom Prucha with the William McFadden Gold Medal. For decades, Tom has dedicated himself to the advancement of metalcasting technology and knowledge-sharing,” said AFS CEO Doug Kurkul. “His support of industry-leading research, coupled with his commitment to sharing his own technical expertise, has broadened the boundaries of metalcasting innovation.”

Prucha has been a key participant in many government-industry and university-industry consortia and projects, including America Makes (National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute), American Metalcasting Consortium, Aluminum Casting Research Center at University of California-Irvine, LIFT, and the Joint Defense Manufacturing Technology Panel.

Among his many previous industry awards are the AFS Award of Scientific Merit and the NADCA Nyselius Award for contributions to die casting. In 2021, he was a Hoyt Memorial Lecturer at the virtual Metalcasting Congress.

IJMC continues to flourish under Prucha’s leadership. It experienced a 30 percent increase in manuscript submissions in 2021. The page count of peer-reviewed papers is expected to reach 550 pages in 2022. 

Also honored at the Annual Banquet were Atsushi Nagai, president of Sintokogio Ltd., and Gregory Simmons, senior vice president of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Co. with the 2020 and 2021 William J. Grede Award for their major contributions in the fields of management, marketing, or education, which have resulted in expanding the effective use of metal castings. 

Dr. Scott Giese and Mike Bartol received this year’s AFS Service Citations, awarded to individuals who show outstanding general service to AFS, its chapters, and the metalcasting industry.

Giese, a professor at University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, Iowa), was selected “for his sterling record of service and industry research consortia, student development, AFS technical committees and chapters, and advancement of technologies in the metalcasting industry,” according to the award announcement.

Bartol received his Service Citation for “40 years of distinguished leadership to the foundry industry and AFS on the local and national levels, especially in the areas of green sand molding methods and materials.” Bartol retired as Vice President Metalcasting-Americas at American Colloid-Division of Minerals Technologies Inc. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania).

“Scott Giese and Mike Bartol exemplify the dedication, hard work, and volunteerism that AFS Service Citations celebrate,” said AFS CEO Doug Kurkul. “For many years, they’ve contributed their time and talents, helping to drive the success of AFS and the broader industry. We’re so pleased to honor them with these awards.”

Sairam Ravi and James H. Michel were the recipients of 2022 AFS Awards of Scientific Merit, which recognize individuals who author outstanding technical papers, display meritorious technical contributions or services, or develop a new process, production method, or engineering advancement.
Ravi is project manager at the Metal Casting Center at the University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, Iowa). His Award of Scientific Merit recognizes his “exemplary record of metalcasting research and publication authorship, as well as service as an instructor for the AFS Institute.”

Michel, now retired, was manager-technical services and UNS administrator for the Copper Development Association (McLean, Virginia). He is being honored for his “outstanding contributions to the development and promotion of antimicrobial cast copper alloys, managing the UNS copper alloys registration, and contributing to the promotion of unleaded cast copper alloys and recycling of the copper alloy scrap stream.”

The Howard F. Taylor award, given to the author of the technical paper with the longest-lasting impact on the metalcasting industry, was presented to Richard Gundlach, Element Materials Technology, for his paper, “Heat Treatments to Develop High-Strength Ferritic Ductile Iron.”

The Applied Research Award, which recognizes the principal investigators of AFS-funded research projects and the companies that collaborate with them to transfer research and technical development to the metalcasting industry and actively apply research on the factory floor, was given to Daniel Hoefert, Eck Industries, for AFS Research Project:16-17#06 Quantifying Casting Quality Through Filling Conditions.

Finally, MetalTek International-Wisconsin Centrifugal Division (Waukesha, Wisconsin) was presented with the Millionaires Safety Award for achieve 1 million safe hours worked without incurring an operational injury or illness that resulted in days away from work or death. MetalTek’s milestone was reached on June 9, 2021.

New AFS Leadership

CastExpo marks the official transition of the new AFS officers. Adam San Solo, Neenah Enterprises, is now the AFS President. Brad Muller, Charlotte Pipe & Foundry, serves as the AFS Vice President, and Angela Schmeisser is the AFS second vice president. Following two years as AFS President, Mike Lenahan, Badger Mining Corp., is now the immediate past president. A new class of directors was also added to the board. The full list of the AFS Board of Directors for 2022-2026 in on pages 28-29. 

Looking Ahead

Following the success of CastExpo 2022, Metalcasting Congress 2023 is right around the corner—to be held April 25-26, 2023, in Cleveland, Ohio. Metalcasting Congress 2024 is scheduled for April 22-24, 2024, in Milwaukee. The location for CastExpo 2025 was announced at the show to be held in Atlanta April 12-15, 2025.    

Click here to view the article in the May 2022 digital edition.