‹ Back to Columns

Great Castings Result From Dedication to Details

Doug Kurkul

More than 2,200 men and women from across the metalcasting supply chain turned out for Metalcasting Congress 2023 in Cleveland in late April. The strong turnout was another sign that folks are ready to return to in-person conventions and meetings after the forced-interruption in 2020-2021.
One of the keynote speakers was actor-author Dwier Brown, who played the role of Kevin Costner’s father in the classic movie “Field of Dreams.” A standing-room-only audience packed the auditorium to hear Brown describe the many steps that went into making a great movie. 

He described the perfect pre-dusk sunlight needed to film the famous “Wanna Have a Catch” scene, requiring it to be filmed over several early evenings rather than all in one evening. The corn in the cornfields had to be grown to an appropriate height for the ballplayers to walk through. The newly laid sod had to be the right color (it was eventually painted a perfect shade of green). The parade of neighbors’ cars had to be carefully planned—this at a time before everyone had mobile phones—thereby requiring a local radio station to donate its signal for a day to provide the drivers with instructions. Once the parade of cars was in motion with headlights shining, a skilled cameraman aboard a helicopter was asked to capture the scene. 

As Brown described all of the detailed steps that went into planning and filming the movie, it was clear to his audience the parallel between capturing the perfect movie scene and manufacturing highly engineered, defect-free castings. Both require a tremendous dedication to mastering details.
As design engineers and parts buyers, Casting Source readers have intimate knowledge of the dimensional and durability requirements for the parts they need. At the foundries they work with, skilled metalcasters draw on decades of advances in design, molding, and melting techniques to deliver the best possible results. 

One of the most popular classes regularly offered by the AFS Institute—the education arm of the American Foundry Society—is Casting Defect Analysis. The course, presented live online as well as periodically in person at AFS’s Schaumburg, Illinois headquarters, addresses defect analysis and prevention in great detail, taught by expert instructors. The next course offerings will be in late May and late August 2023. 

Metalcasting Congress also featured 230 exhibitors who reported robust foundry interest in their offerings, many of which help metalcasters deliver highest-quality, defect-free castings––such as foundry equipment, new technologies, advanced software, and carefully designed consumables.
It’s a maxim of life that everything worth doing is worth doing well. That’s as true in manufacturing as it is in filmmaking. This issue of Casting Source offers an interview with a casting buyer (page 12) and a recap of Metalcasting Congress (page 32) that we believe you will enjoy. Meanwhile, we encourage you to mark your calendar for Metalcasting Congress 2024. The dates are April 23-25, and it will be held in the heart of the foundry belt in Milwaukee. 

Click here to view the column in the May/June Casting Source Digital Edition.