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The casting world comes home to CASTEXPO.

It's funny how things work out sometimes. A few years ago when it was announced that the AFS CASTEXPO in 1990 was going to be held in Detroit, there were more than a few skeptics. Memories of the' 78 show, the last time it was held in Motown, were still emblazoned in the memories of many. it was a pretty good show, drawing nearly 18,200. But what people seem to remember most were the elevators in the then-new Renaissance Center, with people standing sometimes 20 deep trying to get to their rooms. Labor conditions at Cobo Hall were less than ideal, as was the overall hotel situation.

Then, when it was announced that the '90 exhibit would begin on a Saturday, well, uh, let's just say the skepticism may have reached an all-time high. ("Who the hell wants to be in Detroit on a Saturday night?" was one of the more popular questions that we heard.)

But somehow it worked. in fact, if general concensus means anything at all, it's never worked better. It was more than a little heartening to hear from many of the original skeptics and nearly everyone else-exhibitors and attendees alike-that it was the best ever" CASTEXPO.

For my money and with only six others from which to judge, it indeed was the best, but it's difficult to say why.

In terms of sheer numbers, it wasn't the best ever. Many exhibitors, though, felt that the 13,595 who were there were exactly the ones they wanted to see.

Was it the weekend format? It certainly played a part in the overall success as many of the foundry managers in attendance offered that they were able to send many more of their key people this year because it didn't take them off the job. This, obviously, has become increasingly important for today's streamlined foundry operations.

Was it the location? While some may say that Detroit can't draw flies, the fact is the Motor City is working hard to clean up its image, and it remains an important manufacturing center for foundries and the suppliers to them.

The change to the three-year CASTEXPO cycle probably had something to do with the success of this year's show, as well. It's been three years since a lot of North American foundrymen have had an opportunity to see the newest and best metalcasting technology available. And it will be three more before they get a chance at another first-hand look. Despite what some may think, good foundrymen are still interested in good technology.

Chances are all of these factors and more contributed to this year's success. But can the special feeling of CASTEXPO '90 be captured again? Yes, I'm sure it can, and this is why.

First, the AFS CASTEXPO has established itself as an important international foundry event. Nearly 20% of the more than 300 exhibitors in Detroit are based overseas. in addition, of the nearly 13,600 attending this year's CASTEXPO, more than 1000 came from 40 countries outside of North America. These numbers will continue to grow because more and more international manufacturers of foundry equipment and supplies want to participate in the North American foundry market.

Second, and just as important, some of the finest and most innovative metal-casting technology available anywhere in the world is still coming from America. While manufacturers from around the world have developed some excellent technology, American manufacturers do not have to take a backseat to anyone.

While we've spent much of the last decade being browbeaten about our quality and productivity, and generally feeling sorry for ourselves, North American foundry equipment manufacturers and suppliers have responded in a positive way. Many of the top international foundries recognize this and understand that to ignore American technology is foolish.

In addition, the quality, diversity and scope of the papers presented at the Annual AFS Casting Congress has offered evidence of this for decades. The exhibits of CASTEXPO demonstrate it even more dramatically.

As the worldwide foundry industry becomes increasingly cosmopolitan, the barriers and resistance to internationally based metalcasting technology are crumbling. And while there are some who will always resist this notion, they are fighting a losing battle. CASTEXPO '90 was evidence of this. CASTEXPO 93 will offer further proof.
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Author:Kanicki, David P.
Publication:Modern Casting
Article Type:editorial
Date:Jun 1, 1990
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