What's in a Number?
The January/February issue of Metal Casting Design & Purchasing is one of my favorites of the year because it lays out the statistics of the current industry and looks at what we can expect for the coming years.
The annual World Census of Global Casting Production (p. 22) charts the trends in production and sales of major metalcasting nations, the U.S. census (p. 36) breaks down the types of plants and capabilities at home, and the U.S. metalcasting forecast (p. 27) shares how the industries that use castings might be faring in the future.
It’s a lot of numbers, and for someone who would go home and do pages of long division on her own in grade school, they are fun to explore and stack this way and that to see what kind of story it tells us.
This year, the tale that interested me most, although it was nothing new, was the extent of markets in which castings are used. In our forecast, we share data for the main industries for each metal, but in the full forecast, markets for iron, steel, aluminum and the other alloys go far beyond the four or five listed. There is a NAICS code for the totalizing fluid meter and counting device market, and it buys castings. Office furniture is a metalcasting market, so is electromedical and electrotherapeutic apparatus manufacturing. You, the readers of this magazine, are a collective group of makers that keep our society rolling in an expanding network of industry.
The variety of markets that metalcasters serve is also notable. Unless it is a captive plant, rarely is a foundry tied to a single industry. The chart on p. 31 of the U.S. census shows this breadth of markets. Metalcasting businesses serve niches. This makes them flexible to meet new customer needs, apply new developments, or, as in the case of Goldens’ Foundry and Machine Co. (p. 17), create their own product.
Enjoy exploring the numbers and stories in this issue, and as always, I invite you to share your thoughts or stories of what you are making with metal castings.
Click here to see this story as it appears in MCDP.