A large part of continuous improvement culture is continuous learning. Many people don’t know a great deal about the casting industry or how important it is to our everyday lives. Here’s an opportunity to learn more about it.
According to the American Foundry Society (AFS), in an article entitled Metalcasting Facts and Tidbits written for Manufacturing Day 2019, every dollar that’s spent on manufacturing produces $1.37 of economic value or activity. That’s more than any of the other leading economic sectors.
Because metal casting, or more specifically iron casting, fits under the manufacturing umbrella, what we do at Lawton contributes to that economic activity. The best part is that the products we produce aren’t the only way our industry. supports the economy. To fulfill orders and meet customer needs, a large supply chain is required. It supports jobs in mining, engineering, financial services, shipping, warehousing and legal services, not to mention our customers and the industries they serve.
Additionally, the United States iron and steel industry contributes approximately $520 billion annually to the economy.
Not only does our corner of the industry make a large economic impact, but it also makes an environmental impact. The same article by AFS explains that foundries inherently are recyclers and have been for over 5,000 years.
Steel is one of the best examples of recycling in the metal casting industry because it can be re-used without any degradation in quality. In fact, steel is one of a small number of materials whose scrap can be repurposed into high-quality, high-value material.
Furthermore, new technologies that aim to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 50% are under development in the steel industry. This just goes to show that although the manufacturing industry gets a bad reputation for harming the environment, the metal casting industry actually puts a great deal of focus on reducing environmental degradation.
Another article by AFS entitled Industry Statistics lists the states with the most foundries in order:
As you can see, the hub of the industry is located in the Midwest region of the United States, and we at Lawton are right in the middle of it. According to a Newsmax article written by Shawndra Russell (2015) entitled Top 5 Industries in Wisconsin, she reports that “Wisconsin is divided into seven regions that comprise dozens of industries. The top industry is manufacturing.”
According to Seventh Wave and their report entitled “Wisconsin Metalcasting Roadmap” (2000) the metal casting industry in Wisconsin contributed $3 billion of revenue to the state economy. In the past 20 years, the industry has grown, and likely the impact is even larger today.
Now that you know how important castings are and where they are being made, it’s important to note the benefits and qualities of cast iron that make it so valuable to our economy and daily lives.
According to the Crescent Foundry Blog (2017), iron castings can last up to 100 years, meaning cast components are extremely durable and cost-effective. The casting process is also extremely flexible. If a material can be melted, it can be turned into a casting. By adding other elements, you can create a variety of mixtures with different properties. They can be used to cast a wide variety of components in an infinite variety of complex shapes that can withstand many different environments.
That’s why castings are extremely important. They maintain their quality and performance in pressurized environments, extreme temperatures, changing temperatures, while in constant motion, or even facing constant friction.
According to Crescent Foundry, “cast iron has a property of resistance from oxidation, corrosion, wear or abrasion. It (also) has excellent damping capacity, especially the gray cast iron. (This means it) …can be used to reduce noise. Noise vibration is absorbed by precipitated graphite particles, therefore, improving its damping capacity more than steel.”
These are just some of the amazing facts about our industry and why it’s so important. To learn more, stay tuned for our upcoming articles.
Crescent Foundry Blog. “Importance of Cast Iron and Ductile Iron.” Crescent Foundry Blog, November 25, 2017. https://crescentfoundryblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/importance-of-cast-iron-and-ductile-iron/.
“Industry Statistics.” American Foundry Society, n.d. https://www.afsinc.org/industry-statistics.
AFS. “Metalcasting Facts and Tidbits Manufacturing Day 2019.” afsinc, 2019. https://afsinc.s3.amazonaws.com/MFG Week -Factoids 2.pdf.
Russell, Shawndra. “Top 5 Industries in Wisconsin: Which Parts of the Economy Are Strongest?” Newsmax. Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax Media, Inc., April 3, 2015. https://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/industries-in-wisconsin-economy-strongest/2015/04/03/id/636289/.