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Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Shannon Wetzel

The end of the year is a natural time for reflection on the events and challenges that happened before, how we responded to them, and where we are now. In Casting Source, we take the last issue of the year as an opportunity to recap the major industry news from the past 12 months—foundry purchases, expansions, capital improvements, and mergers. A look through this year’s “Year in Review” on page 36 reveals a busy metalcasting industry that has seen considerable movement in mergers & acquisitions along with expansions and investments. 

As someone concerned with maintaining or securing your casting sourcing, you may be curious about the current M&A trends in the industry and what it means for your supply chain. Will the rate of M&As continue? What will these mergers and consolidations mean for casting buyers? We talked with M&A expert Steve Dinehart, who has worked on a few foundry deals this year, about the current climate and his key takeaways. This discussion is on page 14. One important message Dinehart had for buyers was that mergers could be a good thing because it allows a single company to offer more services and options to a customer. “It [also] may be a question of reducing my supplier risk,” he said. “Before I was going overseas, but now my main supplier has it, and there may be some pricing advantages.”

If you plan on using the new year to re-examine your supply base or find additional casting suppliers, be sure to read this issue’s column from Dave Charbauski on page 10, which is his final in a series about the steps to selecting a foundry. You can find all his columns online at www.castingsource.com. 

Finally, even as we reflect on the news of the past year, this issue keeps an eye on the metalcasting discoveries to come based on ongoing and newly-approved research projects funded and directed by AFS. See how the industry is continuing to innovate production methods and material properties in the article “AFS Research: Finding Answers to Move Ahead,” on page  31. This research—along with many others conducted throughout the metalcasting and manufacturing industries—will be critical in meeting the evolving needs of the world.   CS