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A look into a promising future.

CastExpo '93 was a time for records!

More foundrymen came, saw and learned at CastExpo '93 than at Detroit's Cobo Hall in 1990, while the total exhibit space for services and equipment soared to a new CastExpo high. The wide-ranging technical sessions drew the expected crowds and hordes of foundrymen stormed the AFS Theme Center to pick up copies of technical presentations to take back to their foundries.

Even Chicago's damp spring weather turned bright and warm and the Saturday/Sunday opening days once again allowed foundrymen to "see the show" and still have a full week back at the shop.

And confidence in the casting business was high. One could almost feel it. The industry is not out of the competitive woods yet, but from listening to the comments of the people at the show, it is evident that a new confidence in the ability of North American metalcasters to compete, a confidence absent from the industry for too long, is now back.

That same assurance was amply present among the exhibitors as well. They introduced, in record numbers, new equipment and processes and added new services and technologies. One exhibitor, pointing to his brimming order book, smiled and said it was getting to be "just like in the '60s and '70s."

Massive and not so massive pieces of machinery whirred and rattled and clanked, processors blinked and automated video presentations told and retold messages of product design, development and benefits. Buyers strained their necks to look into, under and behind machinery, sifted sand through knowing fingers, touched abrasives, timed equipment cycles and squinted at luminous computer screens. A buyer said he was "kicking tires and slamming doors and getting ready to say, 'I'll take this one.'"

But for all the sophistication and lavish displays of foundry equipment, there were lighter moments. There was time to relax with an Eskimo Pie, sign on to win prizes, meet the Chicago Bulls cheerleaders or shoot baskets to win your favorite major league team's warm-up jacket.

In a changing of the guard, Dan Goodyear begins his term as AFS president and Tom Woehlke will serve as his vice president. Geary Smith was named CMI chairman and Jim Young vice chairman. Don Brunner and Bill O'Neill were awarded much-deserved AFS gold medals and Larry Krueger, in his Hoyt Memorial Lecture, strongly urged that castings rightly be considered as high-value, engineered metal components rather than mere commodities.

CastExpo '93 proved that North America is still a magnet for foundrymen from other lands. Two van loads of Chinese foundrymen toured the show for two days and left with their arms loaded with literature and textbooks. Unusually large contingents from South America, Asia and Europe did the same, each foreign visitor carefully studying every exhibit and listening to each technical speaker. Copies of modern casting disappeared into countless product bags and briefcases and the Casting Source Directory was of particular interest. Certainly, for four days Chicago was the center of the metalcasting world, full of the best in science, technology and information.

New this year were two classrooms that were part of the huge AFS Theme Center. Here, addressing standing-room-only crowds, skilled instructors taught the latest in computer software for monitoring and modeling foundry operations, lectured on gating and risering, personnel management and melting and molding processes.

As it traditionally has, CastExpo again presented an opportunity to learn how to manufacture the quality castings necessary to compete successfully in the free-for-all arena that is the global marketplace. It also provided the time to acknowledge the people and institutions that contribute time and talent to the advancement of the foundry industry.

To those who missed the excitement of this year, it is not too soon to begin planning for 1996. That is when the entire industry will have the unique opportunity to take part in the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Foundrymen's Society in the very city where it was born--Philadelphia!
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Title Annotation:CasteExpo '93: 97th AFS Casting Congress, Chicago
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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