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Foundry suppliers focus on economy, environment.

he theme of the Casting Industry Suppliers Assn. summer meeting could easily have been "the shape of things to come." in terms of both the economy and environment, this year's meeting on July 25-28 in Lincolnshire, illinois, emphasized what the industry can expect during the coming year.

Jack Barnds, senior economist for the National Bank of Detroit, presented a cautiously optimistic economic forecast through the rest of 1991 and into 1992. Barnds, who believes the recession technically ended in June of this year, cited a variety of positive economic trends. For the first time in more than a year, the industrial sector of purchasing managers composite index rose slightly in June, indicating an increase in purchasing activity by manufacturing. Also in June, Barnds pointed out, the index of leading economic indicators rose after six negative months.

Looking down the road at motor vehicle sales, he expects some improvement in the fourth quarter of this year compared with the same period of 1990. Overall, he said, the second half of '91 will show an improvement over the first half. In the longer term, Barnds forecasts that the growing replacement car market will provide a healthy boost for automakers. In 1990, the mean age of all cars driven in the U.S. was 7.8 years old and 43.4% of these vehicles were eight years old or older, he added.

Comparing the U.S. economy to a traffic light, he explained that, in December 1990, the light was on red and the economy at a standstill. In July 1991, the light was on yellow, indicating that we should proceed with caution.

The Regulatory Climate

The most significant trend in the environmental area, according to Scott Ammarell, is the growing enforcement of environmental laws. Ammarell, an attorney with the Chicago office of McDermott, Will and Emery, cited two foundry operations that were fined a total of nearly $15 million for the improper disposal of sludge containing PCBS. To help avoid these penalties and keep up with new regulations, Ammarell laid out a two-part program.

First," he said, "make sure you have a corporate policy and program in place, and make sure that it is clearly expressed to all employees. Next, set up an audit program that assures that necessary actions are taking place. This program should be set up to identify problems and develop procedures to handle problems as well as to create an awareness of new regulations. Finally, the program must also embrace emergency and contingency planning."

Maybe no other industry has felt the sting of environmental regulations like American chemical manufacturers. In a move to demonstrate the industry's commitment to the environment, the Chemical Manufacturers Assn. (CMA) developed a program called Responsible Care," A Public Commitment. John Holtzman of CMA said the program was designed to assure the responsible manufacture and use of chemicals.

Responsible Care places high value in improving our performance in health, safety and environmental quality,' he said. "We emphasize listening and responding to public concerns and communicating with the public to report on progress."

The initiative, adopted by CMA in 1988, commits member companies to improve performance in response to public concerns, Holtzman said. In fact, Responsible Care requires all member companies to participate as an obligation of membership in CMA. The initiative also created a Public Advisory Panel in which the public is directly involved in shaping the program.

Robert Zayko, QES, Inc., covered the various provisions and impacts of the new Clean Air Act adopted in November 1990. Zayko called the act the most complicated and costly environmental statute ever drafted." Containing more than 10,000 pages and 400 regulations, the law is expected to cost U.S. industry more than $20 billion to implement.

Industry has three basic options in meeting the new regulations set forth under the act, he said. These include process changes, product changes or adoption of control technologies. One technology that offers some promise is called bio-filtration. Developed in Europe, this system uses bacteria to attack and destroy organics, thus preventing discharge and reducing disposal costs.

State of CISA

Joe Post, CISA president, brought members up to date on the state of the association. His glowing report included the fact that the organization now has 67 members, which is only two fewer than the all-time high in 1979-80. Post also covered the status of CISA'S credit association and export trade group and reported on the healthy financial situation of CISA.
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Title Annotation:CISA summer meeting
Author:Kanicki, David P.
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Previous Article:Steel symposium examines ladle refining/reheating.
Next Article:Foundries alerted to new environmental regulations.

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