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Finding More Casting Sources

Shannon Wetzel, Managing Editor

Manufacturing remains strong and casting demand has surged, making the available production capacity at foundries tight. Busy foundries generally are more efficient but at some point, casting buyers could have difficulty securing the needed deliveries quick enough to match demand. For some, this might have already happened.

When open capacity is hard to come by, buyers must be creative when it comes to ordering from existing suppliers and time should be invested in finding and developing new alternative casting sources.

In this issue, we talk about what factors are affecting lead times and capacity for U.S. foundries, on page 34. One of the main takeaways for casting buyers is to be upfront and flexible about your casting production needs. What would fit best within your preferred casting supplier’s scheduling system? It takes time to set up a job, stop and then set up again—thieving capacity. Blanket orders and long-term planning are helpful.

While the preferred option is to buy from your existing and vetted casting suppliers, having other casting sources can limit your risks of missing a delivery date. Or if you have multiple jobs with one foundry, it might turn out that some are better suited for another foundry that is set up to make those jobs more efficiently. It’s tough to find the time when production demand is at such high levels, but some helpful tools are available.

Metal Casting Design & Purchasing and the American Foundry Society offer a free online database to find North American metalcasters by metal poured, casting process or location at www.afsinc.org/metalcaster-directory. This directory is based on information provided by more than 2,300 foundries in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.   

Casting buyers can also talk with metalcasters in person at Cast in North America in Atlanta, April 27-30, 2019. A show floor pass will give you access to exhibiting foundries as well as two days of sessions for casting buyers and designers. Bring your own drawings and models, and metalcasting representatives can verify capabilities, feasibility, cost and material options. Registration is open at www.castexpo.com.

Periods of high demand are great indicators of whether good supplier-customer relationships exist. These are paramount to limiting delivery surprises and are based on candid discussions and fair agreements that are mutually beneficial. Establishing reliable and even-handed collaboration with new casting sources and maintaining them with your current supplier continues to be a tenet worth keeping.

Click here to see this story as it appears in the November/December 2018 issue of MCDP.