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EDITORIAL


How Are We Going to Do This? I


will guess that many (most?) of you have thought or said that phrase before in your


business. It’s what Michael Hudson, quality and business process improvement manager at Ver- mont Castings, said when his company embarked on a radical change to how they loaded their outgoing product to be transported to a sister assembly facility (see the full story on page 20). As often happens, what seemed radical eventually became doable and then it was the norm. Metalcasters are puzzle-solvers. With the


variety of processes, materials and tests that are involved in every piece of cast metal produced, puzzles abound in this industry. How should a casting be gated? How will the core be placed in the mold? How can we gain efficiency in our compressed air system? What caused that defect? Which casting order should be scheduled first this shift?


The amount of puzzles waiting for a solution


can seem staggering, but it turns out it’s also a big advantage for the industry. As a way to steer the uninitiated to a career in metalcasting, AFS started asking those working in the in- dustry what they love about it. The answers are posted on the AFS website at www.afsinc. org/we-love-met- alcasting. They have a common theme. “Every job is interesting.” “T ere is no average work week for me. I take


Right now, the industry faces two diffi cult challenges that will


require a huge amount of eff ort, ingenuity, and tenacity.


pride in getting projects out the door 100% correct.” “I can act as a metallurgical detective.” “I learn something new every day.”


“Every day presents new challenges to improve


quality and effi ciency.” “I am never bored.” “It consistently challenges me.” Sounds like hard work, and you love it. But the


puzzles go beyond the production, sales and ac- counting in your business. Right now, the industry faces two diffi cult challenges that will require a huge amount of eff ort, ingenuity, and tenacity: ensuring sand casting facilities are compliant with the new OSHA silica standard now in eff ect, and attracting and retaining a stable workforce. Collaboration and shared information will be


key. AFS off ers a number of resources on silica compliance, including success stories, which are highlighted in this issue on page 50. But it is also important for sand casters to speak to each other and their suppliers to fi gure out eff ective and aff ord- able ways to meet the standard. Jean Bye writes in her From AFS Column on page 46, “T is isn’t about American foundry against American foundry. T is is about making the American foundry indus- try strong. And to do that we need to work together, network, and bring our collective talents together to tackle the challenges.” T e same goes for fi lling the


skills gap. T is puzzle will require multiple-faceted solutions but the eff ort is imperative. Check out Rich Jeff erson’s Marketing Mind column on page 48 for some inspiration on being an “unbal- anced force” for change. Sometimes, the solution to the


two problems seems far out of reach. T e question, “how are we going to do this?” sounds defeat- ist. But when examining them through the lens of metalcast-


ers as puzzle solvers, however, I picture someone clapping their hands and rubbing them together determinedly. “So, how are we going to do this?”


Shannon Wetzel, Managing Editor


If you have any comments about this editorial or any other item that appears in Modern Casting, email me at swetzel@afsinc.org.


July 2018 MODERN CASTING | 9


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