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MARKETING MIND


How Your Foundry Can Change Perceptions I


RICH JEFFERSON, AFS VP OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS


n the fi rst part of this column published in June, we reviewed two critical communications ideas


for metalcasters, brand and reputation. Brand is how you want to image your company to customers. You control what you tell your customers. Brand is how you compete. But you don’t control how the message is received. How your cus- tomers receive your messages and how you’re perceived—that’s your reputation. T e industry does a fair job of


proactively managing its brand. How- ever, there seems to be a consensus the industry’s reputation could at least use some machining and polishing. We all know of instances in which news reports covered foundries that paid millions in OSHA fi nes for serious environmental violations and safety lapses that have led to injuries and deaths at the plant. T at kind of news can be diffi cult


for the industry to prevail against. If the industry doesn’t aggressively manage its reputation, who will? T e industry has ways it can its value to a wide audience: Scientifi cally sound research, case studies, and community outreach, like Manufacturing Day events (more on that later). Dan Oman illustrated using scientifi c


research and case studies for reputation management in the 2018 Hoyt Memo- rial Lecture, Changing Perceptions: T e Need for an “Unbalanced Force.” Using science, research, and the attendant case studies can take years to accomplish, but they are absolutely nec- essary. Oman explained how the right communications is an “unbalanced force” that changes perceptions and improves a reputation. Public relations borrows from science with Oman’s take on New- ton’s First Law of Motion: An object (reputation) at rest stays at rest, an object (reputation) in motion continues on its trajectory. In today’s patois, an unbal- anced force is usually called a disruption.


Gray Iron Foundry Sludge as a Listed Hazardous Waste


Back in 1980, the industry needed to


disrupt an object (regulation) in motion when the EPA decided to list gray iron foundry sludge as a Hazardous Waste.


48 | MODERN CASTING July 2018


T is would have put casting production costs through the roof. AFS persuaded EPA to join in testing sludge samples for cadmium, chromium, and lead. As a result of this AFS research, EPA’s perception was disrupted and neither dust or sludge from gray iron foundries was regulated as a hazardous waste. By Oman’s calculations, the results of this AFS research with EPA resulted in cost savings to the industry of $30 million per year, or roughly $1 billion since 1980. Many in the industry are unaware of this great regulatory victory, Oman said. Unbalanced Force 1, Bad Results 0


Foundry Sand Shakeout In 1994, EPA had a regulatory trajec-


tory to evaluate foundry sand at shakeout as a hazardous waste. T is was a water- shed. It was the fi rst time the agency “gave any indication that it might have the ability to regulate the foundry production process, meaning the sand system,” Oman said. Where’s that unbalanced force when you need it? AFS struck up a conversation in


early 1995 with EPA. T e agency stuck to its position that “foundry sand is a waste at point where mold is broken and separated from casting at the shakeout table.” In 1999, AFS invited EPA staff that had never been in a foundry to tour three plants in Pennsylvania. T ey drove together and got to know each other. T ey got to see fi rst hand the unin-


tended consequences of the (agency’s) decision. We were at a small foundry in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. We walked down the aisle, and on one side we have a hand molding operation, with some strike off sand. And 15 feet over here they were shaking out castings on the fl oor, and there was a pile of shakeout sand on the fl oor. I said ‘do you realize if I collect a sample of the sand from these two adja- cent spots, they’re going to have the exact same characteristics? One is a hazardous waste, and the other isn’t even considered a solid waste. T is is madness.’ Fortunately, they agreed.” T e EPA got that one right, and sent a letter thanking metalcasters for the tours. Unbalanced Force 2, Bad Results 0


Benefi cial Use of Foundry Sand


T e case of ben-


efi cial use of foundry sand arose in the mid- 1980s. Foundry sand was about to be regu- lated in a way that dramatically increased disposal costs. AFS research in 1989 led to joint research between the Wisconsin Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources. Two “piles of highway construction materials” were tested to determine the quality of the leachate below both piles, one of foundry sand and one of, well, dirt. T e leachate quality was similar,


Richard Jefferson


and the foundry sand allowed less leachate than the dirt. As the Wiscon- sin Cast Metals Association asserted at the time, foundry sand was “cleaner than dirt.” USDA got in on the research, and


after several years, EPA and USDA sent AFS a message: “Based on the conclusions of the


risk assessment conducted for specifi c Spent Foundry Sand applications as stated above, and the available envi- ronmental and economic benefi ts, the EPA and USDA support the benefi - cial use of silica-based Spent Foundry Sand specifi cally from iron, steel and aluminum foundry operations when used in manufactured soils and soil-less potting media and roadway construction as subbase.” “I never get tired of reading that


quote,” Oman said. Unbalanced Force 3, Bad Results 0


We can’t always win the regulatory


debate, as we know from silica. But we can conclude AFS research is a potent unbalanced force advocating for the industry. Good research takes special training and skill, and it takes time. However, everyone at every foundry can take decisive action right now on behalf of the industry, and that brings us to Manufacturing Day.


Engage Future Metalcasters With Manufacturing Day


Manufacturing Day, Friday, October


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