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Welcome to Chicago! Welcome to CastExpo '93!

Welcome also to our new world of macro economics, global markets, the pending Btu tax and to the dizzying expansions of alphabetical environmental legislative initiatives.

If the last decade has done nothing else, it has proved that our foundry industry is resilient. The deep recession, the suffocating weight of our federal partners, contracting markets, an invasion of under-priced castings and legislative indifference at all levels certainly qualify us as survivors.

Now our economy is showing significant signs of recovery on its own, without the proposed dose of tax-driven stimulants. The size and enthusiasm for this year's CastExpo is the foundry industry's expression of confidence that we are, indeed, on our way back. More importantly, most of America's industry is stirring in a recovery that is happening despite government's enormous burdens.

How can this happen? Let me repeat my favorite message to foundrymen. Without industries like ours, there is no economy. Make no mistake about it, we are the creators of national wealth.

Wealth is generated in just three ways: it is mined, manufactured or grown. The wealth creators support all of our service industries including federal, state and local governments whose employees now outnumber those in the manufacturing sector.

Only the wealth creators can create the high-paying jobs that make a strong economy. Even though the U.S. lost 1.3 million manufacturing jobs in the last four years, product quality and productivity rose sharply to post the largest gains in 20 years. U.S. factory orders also went up. In foundries, better

employee utilization and heavy capital investment in better equipment caused an unprecedented spurt in productivity.

Today, our economy is healthier than many of our trading partners. Reduced short-term interest rates in the last three years caused a 20% depreciation in the value of the dollar, making us more competitive overseas. Our trade deficit in manufactured goods, however, continues to stagger our economy--particularly with Japan--and threatens our living standard.

Environmental legislation is a significant unknown in determining future foundry costs. We are responsible, of course, for the problems that were created long before ecological legislation was deemed necessary. None of us wants to degrade the environment further but we must have a balanced agenda in resolving environmental problems. In my foundries, environmental costs to date average about six cents/lb on finished castings.

The loss of markets to imported castings, especially those used in cars and trucks, persists. We can't give away our automotive industry. It uses 75% of the rubber we produce, 15% of the steel, 40% of the machine tools, 25% of the glass, 20% of the aluminum, and 20% of all semiconductors made in the United States every year.

No country can be considered first class without a healthy foundry industry, but only the fittest foundries will survive over the long term. To be a survivor, we must use statistics, strive for quality in every casting design, benchmark, monitor costs and production systems, use good foundry practices, initiate value engineering and value analysis systems. Pay attention to these factors and our market penetration will grow and so will profitability.

Finally, we must walk like we talk and talk like we walk.

Exhibitors at CastExpo provide evidence that we have the technology to assure success and the technical sessions are designed to help level your playing field. Combined, they give you access to equipment and information at one great gathering of our industry's best and brightest. These are our tools, but it is up to each one of us to create a culture where total quality management becomes our way of life.

You have the talent and the ingenuity to compete with anyone in the world; your time at CastExpo can help you focus on making the best quality, lowest cost cast metal products and put you in a class above the competition.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Foundry Society, Inc.
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:CastExpo '93: 97th AFS Casting Congress, Chicago
Author:Witt, Ray
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Apr 1, 1993
Words:637
Previous Article:CastExpo's Chicago.
Next Article:Castings: commodity or component?
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