I was talking to John Greene a few days ago and he gave me the insider’s view of the foundry business in America. John runs FL Sales, Inc., a used machinery firm specializing in the world of molten metal. To my surprise, it’s smoking.
John said that the dirty old foundries we associate with the shuttered rust belt remnants are long gone. The foundries that survived have modernized and meet environmental standards. A lot of work did flow to cheap labor countries but many companies have learned that cheap labor does not necessarily mean viable product. Greene says that virtually every iron factory he knows is going full tilt and there is a real shortage of good used equipment on the market. A foundry that had been shut down for 2.5 years was recently sold and will be starting up here in the U.S.
Investment casting is crazy hot today also. The lost wax process, which lends itself to products like golf irons, fire arm triggers, and aircraft parts, is in such demand that most plants are operating 24 hours a day. At a recent auction of investment casting machinery the prices approached 100% of replacement cost.
Only the brass foundry part of the business is suffering. The environmental challenges in nonferrous almost force the product offshore where they don’t care about the niceties of safety.
To sum it up, iron furnaces are hot, brass furnaces are cold.
Question: Have you found foreign castings to be of acceptable quality?