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Manufacturing--And Metalcasting Still Thrives

Shannon Wetzel


It’s not hard to find an article online today about manufacturing’s return to the U.S. But to borrow a turn of phrase from the musician Prince, whoever is claiming they are bringing manufacturing back: manufacturing never left.

The attention to the industry is nice, and the hopefully helpful policies being set in place during this push for American manufacturing have been a long time coming. But one of the struggles of manufacturing has been to recruit qualified, dedicated workers to industry. The public perception that America is making a big push for the return of manufacturing holds with it some connotation that it is a risky industry to be in. After all, what if that push for a return, fails?

But manufacturing is not a startup company, nor is it an industry on its last legs. The same can be said for the metalcasting industry, although end-users have voiced their doubts due to a consolidation of the industry and drastic drop in the number of plants in the last 50 years.

But just as U.S. manufacturing as a whole still makes up a considerable portion of the U.S. (and global) economy, the metalcasting industry also pumps out a significant amount of the world’s castings. Some facts to remember:

  • The U.S. metalcasting industry employs more than 200,000.
  • The U.S. is the global leader in casting application and ranks second in casting production.
  • The U.S. produces 12 million tons of castings annually at a value of more than $30 billion.
  • Metalcasting has been an important facet of American manufacturing since before the Declaration of Independence was signed.
  • It’s true some casting production was moved offshore starting in the late ‘90s, but that seems to have plateaued in 2007, and since then casting imports have remained relatively stable at about 22%.

Manufacturing is having a resurgence in public opinion, but let’s not forget manufacturing’s longevity.