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Opportunity is knocking for metalcasting research.

"Research," we've all heard, "We need research!"

To paraphrase something Charles Dudley Warner once wrote: "Everybody talks about research, but nobody does anything about it."

For the foundry industry, this may not be exactly true. But over the years our research it would be safe to characterize casting research as fragmented and generally miniscule, particularly when compared with some of our toughest competitors around the world.

We can change that. The opportunity is presenting itself in the way of two bills currently on the floors of the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 1243) and the Senate (S. 775). Called the Metal Casting Research Legislation, it was introduced on the House side by Alabama Representatives Ben Erdreich and Claude Harris, and on the Senate side by Richard Shelby, also from Alabama.

Briefly, the bills would require the Secretary of Energy to designate three Centers for Metal Casting Research on issues related to the technology competitiveness and energy conservation of the U.S. metalcasting industry. The centers would be located in the areas where the U.S. metalcasting industry is concentated.

According to a summary prepared by the American Cast Metals Assn, the major provisions of the bills would include the following:

* Each prospective center shall have in existence at the time of consideration a multidisciplinary research staff of investigators experienced in metalcasting or other directly related industrial processes as well as laboratory facilities and equipment capable of duplicating or modeling essential metalcasting or related processes.

* Funding for the centers would be provided equally by industry, related industries, industry-related associations, individuals, organizations or other non-federal government entities supporting the industry and the Dept of Energy.

* The funds authorized by the government would not exceed $5 million in any fiscal year. Funding provided by the DOE would be equal to the amount provided by the industry and other contributors.

* An Industrial Advisory Board composed of at least nine members would be established to guide and oversee the operations of the centers. A majority of the Board members would be individuals from the industry or individuals affiliated with industry contributors.

* The Board will meet at least annually to review research and development activities and projects at the centers. Such review will identify research priorities and make recommendations for the use of funds in the next fiscal year.

According to the then-chairman of ACMA, Jim Pearson, president & CEO of Aurora Industries, in testimony given last year to a House subcommittee considering the metalcasting research legislation, " In order to compete effectively in today's international markets, we must have the very best in technology, and we cannot be late in acquiring it. If we are late, the country which develops and implements it will take markets from us, and deprive American workers of the opportunity to make products.

"The purpose of [this bill] is to give our foundries a better opportunity to develop this technology here in the United States, where it will be used by American foundries, with the benefits passed on to their customers to, in turn, be passed on to American consumers."

Larry Krueger, chairman, Pelton Casteel, and past president of AFS, Foundry Educational Foundation and Steel Founders' Society of America, also offered testimony on behalf of the industry during the hearings. He said, "Our industry leaders are expressing the need for a more competitive spirit, a spirit that transcends foundry against foundry. This country is lagging behind European and Asian organizations which spend more time on research and have the means and methods for joint government participation rather than having to do it individually."

The primary goal of this legislation is to create a coordinated, well-funded research effort that will benefit the entire foundry industry. What is needed now is your help in contacting your Congressmen and Senators urging their support for this legislation. Tell them what Jim Pearson told the House subcommittee: this is not a handout. "This is the first time that the U.S. foundry industry collectively-as -an industry--has sought any form of government assistance. We have been a traditional do-it-yourself' industry. But times change, the world changes, and to meet this challenge of change we seek assistance similar to the assistance enjoyed by our competition."

Opportunity is knocking. Let's answer the door.
COPYRIGHT 1990 American Foundry Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Kanicki, David P.
Publication:Modern Casting
Article Type:editorial
Date:Apr 1, 1990
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