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Lack of market data concerns suppliers.

With its thousands of small to medium-size operating units that produce nearly any metal that can be cast, collecting market data on the foundry industry has been difficult at best. Now, the difficulty of gathering metalcasting information has been compounded as the U.S. Dept. of Commerce has ceased collecting and publishing monthly casting shipment reports. This is a real concern for Einar Borch, consultant for Ervin industries

Speaking at the Spring Conference of the Casting Industry Suppliers Assn., held March 14-17 in Palm Beach, Florida, Borch, who also heads up CISA's Statistical Committee, discussed the problems that the lack of information is creating. "The absence of foundry statistics creates several problems," he said. " How are we to get an in-depth look at the foundry economy if casting shipments data is not available? Previously we had quarterly data and trends of foundry shipments that could be compared with foundry equipment and supply shipments and with casting end-use markets. This information just isn't available now."

Until a new source of developing foundry marketing data is developed, Borch says the group will need to rely on the substitution approach" to tracking industry trends. "The substitution approach is an attempt to use statistics of industries that seemingly bear some logical relationship to the metalcasting industry and have a historical record of tracking closely with foundry data. Past history has shown that information on steel mill products shipments has been a viable substitute for ferrous foundry shipments data because its trends have tracked amazingly close over a long period of time."

This deficiency of metalcasting market information, according to Borch, "represents one more negative that tarnishes the image of the [foundry] industry. We need to work together now to come up with a system of collecting foundry statistics." industry Trends

To better understand which direction the industry is heading, two executives presented their views on their respective industries. E.G. Rod Pittman, vice president, Oilfield Equipment Div./Lufkin Industries, addressed trends in the casting intensive oil and gas drilling markets. According to Pittman, the energy crisis and recession of the 1980s hit the oilfield industry particularly hard, leaving large inventories of equipment unused for much of the decade. These inventories now have been used up and he projects gradual growth over the next decade for this market.

Ron Claussen, plant manager of Caterpillar's Mapleton foundry, reported that while the company's profits were up last year, profits were down. He said that Caterpillar, one of the largest international manufacturers of construction equipment, is experiencing a recession in most of its major markets in 1991, but expects a recovery in business levels in 92, with improving conditions the following year.

According to Claussen, the Mapleton foundry produced some 72,000 tons of iron castings last year. This is projected to drop to about 67,000 tons during 1991, but levels are expected to improve next year. State of CISA

In his brief report on the status of the association, CISA President Joe Post, president, Roberts-Sinto Corp., painted a healthy picture of the group. In terms of membership and financial net worth, Post said that it "has never been stronger." Currently CISA boasts 65 member companies. This compares with the highest ever membership of 69 in the early 1980s, and the lowest of 46 in 1987.

In addition to these presentations, attendees at the meeting heard David Shanks, publisher of Foundry M&T, discuss a study conducted by the magazine on environmental concerns in the foundry industry. According to the results of the survey, 57% of those polled ranked solid waste as their chief concern. Clean air regulations placed second with 36%, and waste water finished third with only 7% of those polled listed waste water as their major concern. Pat Keefe, group vice president, Penton Publishing, concluded the meeting with a presentation called "Know the Buyer Better," which addressed the issue of customer service.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Foundry Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:CISA Spring Conference
Author:Kanicki, David P.
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:May 1, 1991
Words:648
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