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Bullish forecast continues, but updates indicate changes.

The surging market for cars and trucks, along with the forecasted growth in construction equipment, pipe and fittings, and internal combustion engines, has enforced our 1994 boom forecast for the metalcasting industry.

However, changes in specific markets will alter the forecasted shipments for 1994.

To update our annual AFS Metalcasting Forecast & Trends report, Stratecasts interviewed key casting consumers in specific market segments.

Ductile Iron

Shipments of ductile iron castings are expected to grow 9% in 1994, spurred by increased automotive sales and significant growth in pressure pipe production. Shipments are forecasted to reach 3,991,000 tons this year.

Pipe--The forecast of 1,880,000 tons of ductile iron pipe is expected to be achieved based on the improvement in housing starts coupled with an increase in exports to near 10% of the pipe sold.

Motor Vehicles--It is forecasted that 1,051,000 tons of ductile iron castings will be consumed in light vehicles in 1994, an increase of 12%. Ductile iron consumption in medium to heavy trucks--originally forecasted at 144,000 tons--has been decreased to 131,000 tons as GM continues to make several parts in malleable iron.

Farm Equipment--A surge in farm machinery sales in the second half of 1993 led to an overall gain of 3% in shipments after two consecutive losing years, averaging 13.5% of losses annually. Our forecast has been revised to show a rise in shipments to 90,000 tons.

Special Industry Machinery--Reduced production schedules for paper and printing machinery have caused us to revise the ductile iron casting forecast downward to 91,000 tons in 1994.

Gray Iron

Shipments of gray iron castings in the U.S. are forecasted to grow 5% in 1994 and are expected to reach 5,543,000 tons.

Motor Vehicles--Based on the forecasted production of 11,900,000 light vehicles, 1.5 million tons of gray iron are expected to be consumed in blocks, heads, rotors, drums and other castings. As forecasted, about 10% of the light vehicle blocks are to be cast in aluminum, while 52% of the heads are to be aluminum in 1994.

Municipal Castings--Our original estimate of 474,000 tons in 1994 has been revised downward due to lower demand by municipalities. Present estimates indicate that gray iron domestic shipments will be 460,000 tons, with imports at 156,000 tons, or 34% of the total.

Machine Tool--Spurred by an increase in orders from the automotive industry, the domestic machine tool industry grew 21.5% in 1993 and is forecasted to grow an additional 10% in 1994. Gray iron casting production is now forecasted at 118,000 tons, compared to the original forecast of 107,000 tons for 1994.

Pumps and Compressors--The pump market continues soft and the recovery from the last three down years is slow. Though we continue to look at 1994 as a turnaround year, our original forecast of an 11% upswing is too bullish. The revised forecast is 219,000 tons of gray iron, a 6% increase over 1993.

Internal Combustion Engines--The diesel engine business continues to be good and our 11% forecasted gain over 1993 to 456,000 tons for both gasoline and diesel engines looks obtainable.

Steel Castings

Shipments of steel castings in 1994 are expected to reach 1.2 million tons, a 3% increase over 1993.

Construction and Mining--The mining industry recovered slightly in 1993 after being down for three consecutive years. Though an increase of 2.7% is forecasted for 1994, steel casting shipments are still 10% below the 1989 high. The forecasted steel casting consumption in the mining industry is 98,000 tons in 1994.

The construction segment, which continues to show an increase in steel casting shipments in 1993 at 3%, is expected to consume 162,000 tons in 1994.

Special Industry Machinery--It is forecasted that 33,000 tons of steel castings will be consumed in special machinery in 1994. The chemical industry continues sluggish in the construction of new facilities, thus reducing the need for new equipment.

Pumps and Compressors--Carbon and stainless steel castings are primarily used in the chemical industry. After three sluggish years, the steel casting pump business is expected to increase 4% in 1994.

Railroad--It is forecasted that 561,000 tons of steel castings will be shipped for railroad use in 1994, based on the production of 35,000 freight cars.

Aluminum Castings

Aluminum casting shipments are forecasted to reach 1.6 million tons in 1994, a 9% increase over 1993.

Motor Vehicles--Though GM has postponed some of its plans for aluminum block production, our forecast for 20% use in light vehicle blocks by 1998 looks valid. The use of aluminum heads continues on schedule and is expected to reach 75% by 1998.

Our original projection of 150 lb per vehicle (car and truck) has been reduced to 140 lb based on reduced use by OEMs. Therefore, aluminum casting shipments to the automotive industry have been reduced to 854,000 tons, a 10% increase over 1993.

Forecasts on other end-use markets are estimated to be valid at this time. However, Stratecasts will continue to monitor and update the marketplace and report again on this page in the June issue of modern casting.
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Title Annotation:metalcasting industry
Author:Kirgin, Kenneth H.
Publication:Modern Casting
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Mar 1, 1994
Previous Article:New technology helps Northbend transform pattern/moldmaking.
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