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Working Together

Doug Kurkul

Industry-wide progress requires broad collaboration. The American Foundry Society, through its members and volunteers, is a catalyst for the focused cooperation needed to have a broad impact. This month’s column addresses several timely examples of how we are working together to drive positive change.

Metalcasting Technical Research: AFS is funding research on silica dust sampling, powered sweepers, validating alternate non-silica materials, and numerous other topics, as approved by the expert volunteers who serve on the AFS Research Board. Much of the funding for this research comes from an allocation of Corporate Member dues. Funding proposals are sent to the Research Board by the various technical divisions. New procedures ensure that research proposals are vetted as expeditiously as possible. Research findings are shared first with AFS members.

Technical Information: Every year, countless AFS volunteers from foundries, suppliers and castings users author articles and papers that go into the AFS Library. Now with a newly improved digital interface, it’s easier than ever to download and read these articles—new research and historical information—at no cost for AFS members.

Education and Training: All AFS Institute classroom courses have been rewritten in recent years with a focus on skills development and interactive learning, as opposed to old-style lectures. Subject-matter experts have been involved in these upgrades, as well as in the development of more than 90 e-Learning modules that many dozens of foundries are relying upon to enhance the skills level for their employees.

Worker Attraction: Many foundries are experiencing challenges in attracting and retaining workers. AFS is collaborating with the Foundry Educational Foundation (FEF) to broaden the pipeline of college students studying metalcasting, and to ensure smooth entry into our profession through free first-year memberships in AFS for new graduates. Many of our chapters are supporting this cause through scholarships, as well. A portion of AFS Corporate Membership dues goes to the local chapter. AFS has also devoted key parts of its new website to conveying the benefits of careers in metalcasting, and other steps are planned for the near future.

Government Affairs Priorities: In 2017, our industry shared in benefits from policy victories on issues including EPA sue-and-settle, Clean Power Plan, contractor blacklisting, recordkeeping requirements, IRS estate tax rules, Waters of the USA, and other issues. In May 2018, AFS members went to the annual Government Affairs Fly-In in Washington, D.C., to seek an extension in the enforcement date for OSHA’s silica rule and increase infrastructure investment and worker training initiatives, among other priorities. Again, Corporate Member investment and involvement helps AFS fight for a better business climate for you and your casting suppliers.

Looking for a way to get involved or work together with us? Please contact Ben Yates at byates@afsinc.org or 800-537-4237.

Click here to see this story as it appears in the May/June 2018 issue of Metal Casting Design & Purchasing