Steel Founders' Society Of America

Casteel Commentary

The Casteel Commentary this month summarizes the results of the SFSA Board of Directors strategic planning session. They identified new product development, customer education and workforce development as key issues we must address. They have started to set up committees to address these challenges. We need your help and support in this effort.

SFSA Master Recognition

We would like to encourage each SFSA member company to identify anyone in their plant that is a master at some aspect of the steel casting process, a molder or melter, a welder or inspector, a foundry engineer or maintenance specialist. We want to consider them to be recognized as a master in their skill by SFSA. Recognition is a powerful tool we are failing to utilize to encourage and motivate our artisan workforce that creates the castings we produce. We want to recognize them. Please contact Ryan Moore for additional information. rmoore@sfsa.org

Western T&O Division Meeting

The SFSA Western meeting will be held on Thursday, April 16th and Friday, April 17th in Salt Lake City, UT. The meeting will feature presentations on tooling and innovative uses of Additive Manufacturing, and a tour of May Foundry & Machine Company. Mike May will speak about integrating solidification analysis with low cost Additive Manufacturing to make a casting. Frank Peters will present on utilizing 3D technology for Reverse Engineering and creating digital surface reference standards. Gary Burrow will present on innovative uses of Additive Manufacturing for fixtures and cost-effective, production cores. To RSVP or for questions, please contact David Poweleit at poweleit@sfsa.org.

Also, advance notice for the North-Central T&O Division Meeting (5/14-15 at ME Global in Duluth, MN).

2014 T&O Best Papers

SFSA would like to congratulate the best paper winners from the 2014 T&O conferences. The recipients are:

It should be noted that all of the awardees are also first time presenters. The conference had a high percentage of first time presenters, which bodes well for future conferences to come. The T&O Committee is honored to showcase these papers by making them available for download here. We appreciate the support provided to the steel casting industry through papers such as these. To receive the full conference proceedings and hear the authors firsthand present their material, please make plans to attend the 2015 National T&O Conference on December 9th - 12th.

GIFA and Turkey Steel Foundry Tours

Last call for participants in GIFA (Dusseldorf, Germany) or the steel foundry tours in Turkey. GIFA will take place the week of June 15th and the foundry tours will be during the week of June 22nd. To RSVP or for questions, please contact David Poweleit at poweleit@sfsa.org.

SFSA Research Portfolio

SFSA is involved in the following research projects for the steel foundry industry. While SFSA is often a minority partner in consortium activities or within the research portfolio at a given university, SFSA is considered an asset when it comes to providing industry support and guidance, along with strong technical steering. SFSA is proud to participate in the latest R&D, which has a multi-million dollar annual value and leverages the technical resources of SFSA. Several of the research projects are incorporated into the Marketing Committee’s steel casting market plan.

SFSA will be conducting an R&D project review with University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, and Iowa State University on March 9-11 (meeting to be held at UI in Iowa City, IA). The SFSA Annual Research Review will again be held in Chicago on July 27-29. If you are interested in either of these meetings or to join the Carbon & Low Alloy or the High Alloy Research Committees, please contact David Poweleit at poweleit@sfsa.org for more information.


Specifications and standards are integral to our business. ASTM, ISO, NACE, API, ASME, EN, DIN, AMS, mil specs, internal customer specs, etc. all set requirements for the cast steel product that creates revenue. Not understanding these specifications and the hierarchy of requirements imposed by referenced standards will cost you money. One of the best ways to secure an understanding of these specifications is by getting involved. Membership in ASTM costs only $75 and you also receive a free copy of one book of standards (Volume 01.02 is on Ferrous Castings). The SFSA Specification Committee meets in conjunction with the ASTM A01.18 steel casting subcommittee. The next meeting will be held in Anaheim, CA on May 19th. Please contact David Poweleit at poweleit@sfsa.org for more information on this meeting or to join the Specification Committee. All members should also be aware of a free reference on steel casting specifications, which should be shared openly with customers - Steel Casting Handbook Supplement 2, Summary of Standard Specifications for Steel Castings. It can be downloaded at http://www.sfsa.org/sfsa/pubs/hbk/s2.pdf

SFSA Trend Cards


SFSA Trend Cards - Backlog


Iron and Steel Castings and Steel Mill Shipments

Future Leaders

Recent announcements and surveys have noted SFSA’s involvement with the NIST foundry industry roadmap, which will develop an industry-wide plan for future development to insure the longevity of the metalcasting industry. That said, who will be running your foundry in 10 or 20 years? Who will be your floor supervisors, your engineers, your metallurgist? Plans are great, but unless we have the people to get the work done, the plans are meaningless. SFSA for well over a half dozen years has offered an opportunity to help grow this most critical resource through our Future Leaders group. The group meets twice a year with opportunities ranging from networking, to solution sharing, to mini-seminars, to presentations from SME, to foundry tours. The group consists of people that are new to the industry and includes both technical and operations background. The next meeting for the Future Leaders group is tentatively scheduled for May at McConway & Torley. To get someone from your foundry on track to take over greater responsibilities, please contact David Poweleit at poweleit@sfsa.org to RSVP for the meeting and get on the roster for this group.

Market News

Steel casting shipments and bookings have fallen in October and November of 2014. Stainless castings saw a small down month in shipments November but the three-month number and the bookings are positive. Backlog is low in stainless casting but an ordinary 8 weeks in steel casting markets.

Casteel Commentary

Our SFSA Board of Directors based on their insights and input from the survey from our members late last year engaged in a strategic planning session to identify the compelling issues that face us in the coming years. After brainstorming and prioritizing the Board identified 5 issues that face us:

  1. New Product development
  2. 2. Customer Awareness and capability
  3. Workforce development
  4. Adequate capital funds for investment
  5. Regulatory pressures

New product development is key to industry growth and profitability. Designing castings is still based on experience and industry practices and not subject to quantitative analysis to assure performance. This traditional approach has made the use of castings relatively inaccessible to the next generation of engineers. They are expected to accept industry practices on margins of safety, casting factors, quality levels and performance capabilities based on experience and industry practice. They have no way of plugging our NDT levels or solidification models into their calculations or FEA models. We need new design methods and standards to allow design engineers to create new high performance parts and assure their performance with capable NDT. This first challenge of new product development is compounded by the problem of the loss of capability at our customers. Our customer base is rapidly losing their existing subject matter expertise in the use of steel castings and is not replacing it. Their process system approach assumes that some management structure will obviate the need to understand the components and their manufacture. This provides us with a threat that they will cease to use steel castings in justified applications. It gives us the opportunity to utilize our expertise to create more value and profit from it. Our binomial workforce demographic of a generation of older employees rapidly retiring and being replaced or failing to be replaced by younger staff with different skills and vocational expectations is a fundamental challenge. In the process, this means we need to develop a skilled workforce that is capable of ever more sophisticated and complex production processes and products. It means finding ways to modify our processes and products to de-skill or reduce the human effort and skill and replace it with automation and information technology. We need to reduce the amount of human touching castings and the human effort and manual skill required to make products. At the management and technical level, we need subject matter expertise and leadership to grow and profit. These three challenges are intertwined and will require new and innovative thought. The last two challenges will be significant but likely not amenable to SFSA efforts. Our SFSA Board has determined to set up some short-lived committees to plan and act to move our industry forward. If you are interested in supporting one of these efforts or have ideas in how we can effectively make a difference, please contact Raymond Monroe.

Raymond Monroe

Upcoming Meetings

Apr. 14--15 , Milwaukee, WI
Apr. 16--17 , Salt Lake City, UT
Apr. 22 , Columbus, OH
May 5 , Rosemont, IL
May 6 , Rosemont, IL
May 7 , Rosemont, IL
May 14--15 , Duluth, MN
May 19 , Anaheim, CA
May 28--29 , Pittsburgh, PA
Jun. 16--25 , Germany & Turkey
Jul. 27--29 , Rosemont, IL
Aug. 20--21 , TBD
Sep. 12--15 , Washington, DC
Oct. 7--9 , Bixby, OK
Nov. 17 , Tampa, FL
Dec. 9--12 , Chicago, IL

Safety News

True Cost of a Workplace Accident

The foundry industry is like any other industry in that it’s most valuable resource is its workforce. That is why it is important to have an effective safety program and culture in place to protect your most valuable organizational asset. The challenge is when a worker gets injured, the costs can be significant.

The direct costs of injuries and illnesses are apparent: claims under worker’s compensation, health, and disability insurance. But the indirect costs can often be much more severe than direct costs, with some experts claiming a ratio of indirect to direct costs as high as 20:1. Indirect costs include the lost time of the injured employee, management’s time to investigate the accident, damage to equipment, training other employees to cover injured party, dealing with regulators, legal fees, etc. The National Safety Council estimates that the lost time associated with the average injury costs nearly $30,000 and the most injury-prone jobs are in manufacturing and healthcare.

SFSA Grainger Discount Program

A majority of workplace accidents are attributed to human error caused by rushing, frustration, fatigue, and complacency. Establishing a safety culture that addresses these issues can have a profound impact on workplace safety and the bottom line. Aside from the human aspect of safety awareness, given the high and often hidden costs of accidents, employers are increasingly turning to PPE and other safety products for preventing injuries or making them less severe. A Liberty Mutual Workplace Study showed that executives reported that $1 invested in injury prevention returned $2 or more. There are a variety of PPE and other safety products that you can provide for your employees. Commit the time and resources to evaluate what is best for your foundry operation. If you are not sure, talk to industry peers. You can also take advantage of the Grainger program for SFSA members. Grainger provides sound advice on their products and as a member of SFSA enrolled in the program, you receive a minimum of 10% discount on all catalog items and free shipping on all orders. Safety is the right thing to do for your employees. It’s also the smart thing to do for your company’s bottom line.

SFSA members save an average of $4,300 a year using the SFSA Grainger Discount Program.

Steel Casting Wiki

Steel Casting Wiki

SFSA staff recently updated both the design and content of the steel casting wiki. The front page of the wiki was completely redesigned for better usability and overall visual appeal. In addition, links to the casting design tutorials and other items of interest were added to make them more accessible for members.

As for content updates, an additional 205 technical reference documents were incorporated into the site. These consist of research reports in the areas of carbon & low alloy steel castings, high alloy steel castings, SFSA Research Foundation reports, and SFSA Technical Service Reports. The Technical Service Reports are case studies of the causes of defects in actual production parts. Other useful references that have been added include publications on ultrasonic testing of steel castings, and fracture toughness in relation to steel casting design. In addition, the wiki now has a full copy of the 4th Edition Steel Castings Handbook, a valuable resource that will be used as a reference to improve the breadth and depth of many of the existing wiki articles.

Finally, SFSA connected the wiki and the SFSA website so that logged-in users of the wiki also have access to member-only areas on the SFSA website http://www.sfsa.org, and to the Directory of Steel Foundries. A link to this resource can be found on the wiki's front page.

If you haven’t already, we urge you to sign up for an account on the wiki and start using it. Go to http://wiki.sfsa.org/index.php/Get_an_account and sign up.

Safety/HR Meeting

All safety and HR personnel should plan to attend the next Safety/HR meeting to be held April 14-15 at the Radisson Hotel Milwaukee West in Milwaukee, WI. Attendees will meet for dinner the evening of April 13 and the meeting will kickoff the following morning at 8am with a tour of Badger Alloys. Transportation will be provided to and from the hotel to the foundry. Click here for additional information.

Spring Leadership Meeting

The Spring Leadership Meeting has been scheduled for May 6th from 8am - 4pm in Rosemont, IL. This year’s program will kickoff with an industry roundtable discussion followed by a full day of presentations of interest to foundry senior management and marketing personnel including an economic update from William Strauss, Senior Economist and Economic Advisor with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The following speakers have also been confirmed for this event:

The SFSA board will meet the day prior on May 5th and the marketing committee will meet the day after on May 7th. The meeting will be held at the Embassy Suites Chicago O’Hare. Click here for additional information.

AFS Metalcasting Congress Dinner

This year’s AFS Metalcasting Congress is April 21-23 in Columbus, OH at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. SFSA is hosting a Dutch treat dinner for members and invited guests on Wednesday, April 22nd. Please look for a future email with details and registration form. This will be an opportunity to catch up with other SFSA members in attendance and exchange notes on the Congress. We are also planning a roundtable discussion after dinner.

Fall Leadership Conference

Please save the date and plan to attend the SFSA Fall Leadership Conference will be held September 12-15 at the Loews Madison Hotel in Washington, DC. The meeting will include industry learning sessions, roundtable discussions, dinners, and group social events for networking with industry leaders. SFSA is looking forward to a strong program, which will include key topics like globalization, workforce development, trade issues, and steel markets analysis. Additional details will be made available soon.


The January 2015 Casteel Reporter
Award-winning papers presented at the 2014 SFSA Technical & Operating Conference
The January 2015 Casteel Reporter
IFF Presentation
IFF Presentation
IFF Presentation
IFF Presentation
The November 2014 Casteel Reporter
The October 2014 Casteel Reporter
The August 2014 Casteel Reporter
The May 2014 Casteel Reporter
The February 2014 Casteel Reporter
The December 2013 Casteel Reporter
The October 2013 Casteel Reporter
The August 2013 Casteel Reporter
The May 2013 Casteel Reporter
The April 2013 Casteel Reporter
The February 2013 Casteel Reporter
The January 2013 Casteel Reporter
The 2013 SFSA Market Forecast
The December 2012 Casteel Reporter
The October 2012 Casteel Reporter
The July 2012 Casteel Reporter
The May 2012 Casteel Reporter
The March 2012 Casteel Reporter
NFFS Foundry Noise Exposure Seminar information
The February 2012 Casteel Reporter
The December 2011 Casteel Reporter
The 2012 SFSA Market Forecast as presented at the 2011 Technical & Operating Conference
The October 2011 Casteel Reporter
The September 2011 Casteel Reporter
The July 2011 Casteel Reporter
The June 2011 Casteel Reporter
The April 2011 Casteel Reporter
The March 2011 Casteel Reporter
The January 2011 Casteel Reporter
The November 2010 Casteel Reporter
The October 2010 Casteel Reporter
The August 2010 Casteel Reporter
Equipment available
The July 2010 Casteel Reporter
SFSA Directory Information Form.pdf
The form used to update foundry listings in the Directory of Steel Foundries
The June 2010 Casteel Reporter
The May 2010 Casteel Reporter
The March 2010 Casteel Reporter
The February 2010 Casteel Reporter
The January 2010 Casteel Reporter
FR74-209 CO2.pdf
CO2 Emissions reporting rule
Combustible Dust FR ANPR 10-21-09.pdf
Federal Register notice seeking input on development of a standard for combustible dust
The December 2009 Casteel Reporter including graphs and attachments
Top Ten OSHA Violations
The October 2009 Casteel Reporter
Business report and market trend graphs
The September 2009 Casteel Reporter
MagmaSoft Tax Credit.pdf
MAGMATIMES article on Federal Research & Experimentation tax credit.
The August 2009 Casteel Reporter
Midwest Industrial Energy Efficiency Exchange information
The July 2009 Casteel Reporter
FEF CIC Ad 2009.pdf
Foundry Educational Foundation College Industry Conference
The April 2009 Casteel Reporter
The March 2009 Casteel Reporter
The February 2009 Casteel Reporter including business trend information, graphs and attachments.
Steel market condition information.
SFSA's Yellow Freight and Roadway discount program.
The January 2009 Casteel Reporter including business trend information, graphs and attachments.
Company FMLA policy (federal).pdf
Federal FMLA Policy.
employee under fmla.pdf
U.S. Department of Labor poster on Employee Rights and Responsibilities under FMLA.
Certification of Illness or Injury to a Covered Service Memb.pdf
FMLA Leave Certification of Serious Illness or Injury for a Covered Service Member.
The September 2008 Casteel Reporter including business trend information and graphs and attachments.
Steel market condition information.
The September 2008 Casteel Reporter.
Business trend numbers and graphs only.
Steel market condition information.
The August 2008 Casteel Reporter
Business trend numbers and graphs only.
Steel market condition information.
The July 2008 Casteel Reporter
Steel market condition information.
Part 121 - The United States Munitions List
Part 127 - Violations and Penalties
Demonstation of Energy-Efficient Developments grant application. To be submitted by the utility company.
Utility companies participating in the DEED program.
The June 2008 Casteel Reporter
Steel market condition information.
The May 2008 Casteel Reporter
Steel market condition information.
The April 2008 Casteel Reporter including business trend information, graphs and attachments.
Business trend numbers and graphs only.
Steel market condition information.
The March 2008 Casteel Reporter including business trend information, graphs and attachments.
Steel market condition information.
Calculation of Minimum Mold Thickness in Steel Casting - Jacob Thole, Dr. Christoph Beckermann, University of Iowa.
The February 2008 Casteel Reporter
Steel market condition information.
The January 2008 Casteel Reporter
Steel market condition information.
AFS Summary of the EPA Area Source Rule.
40 CFR Part 63 - EPA National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Iron and Steel Foundries Area Sources; Final Rule
  Due to the Technical & Operating Conference, no newsletter was published for December 2007.
The November 2007 Casteel Reporter
Future steel foundry industry leaders meeting notice.
Equipment available - auction ends Dec. 6 2007
The October 2007 Casteel Reporter
Steel market condition information.
Cr, Cu, Mn, Mo, Ni, and steel price drivers. US Geological Survey
The September 2007 Casteel Reporter
Steel market condition information.
Docket 2007N-0330 Presidential Interagency Working Group on Public Safety (Import Safety)
Proposed EPA Area Source Rule for Iron and Steel Foundries
The August 2007 Casteel Reporter
Steel market condition information.
IEEE Workshop1007.pdf
IEEE Industrial Energy Efficiency Workshop information
The July 2007 Casteel Reporter
Steel market condition information
The June 2007 Casteel Reporter
Steel market condition information
The May 2007 Casteel Reporter
Steel market condition information
Biography of Howard Fineman, speaker at the 2007 SFSA Annual Meeting
SBB Steel Markets.pdf
Steel - Global Impacts to North American Minimill Competitiveness, by Thomas A. Danjczek, President, Steel Manufacturers Association - speaker at the 2007 SFSA Annual Meeting
The April 2007 Casteel Reporter
Steel market condition information
The March 2007 Casteel Reporter
Steel market condition information
Information on Hexavalent Chromium
The February 2007 Casteel Reporter
Steel market condition information
The January 2007 Casteel Reporter
Steel market condition information
The December 2006 Casteel Reporter
SFSA Internship sponsorship information and form
Steel market condition information
The November 2006 Casteel Reporter
Steel market condition information
The October 2006 Casteel Reporter
The September 2006 Casteel Reporter
The August 2006 Casteel Reporter
Industry business numbers and graphs only
The July 2006 Casteel Reporter
Industry business numbers and graphs only
Evaluation of Chinese Economy and Trading Practices
Chinese Steel Subsidies Paper.pdf
The China Syndrome: How Subsidies and Government Intervention Created the World's Largest Steel Industry
CRS Report for Congress - Steel: Price and Policy Issues. Update June 26, 2006
The June 2006 Casteel Reporter
China tour tentative list-0606.pdf
Tentative list of plants to be visited on the tour of China
The May 2006 Casteel Reporter
Industry business numbers and graphs only
HexCr monitoring.pdf
Exposure Monitoring Guidance for Compliance with the new OSHA Standard fro Hexavalent Chromium
KFTA comments.pdf
U.S.-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement: Written Comments Concerning the Probable Economic Effect of Providing Duty-Free Treatment for Imports
EERE's Industrial Technologies Program: Proven Returns on Federal and Industrial Investments
The April 2006 Casteel Reporter
Environmental Management Systems Implementation Guide for the foundry sector, USA EPA
Iron & Steel Area Source rule
The March 2006 Casteel Reporter
Economic outlook presentation given by Raymond Monroe at the SFSA Spring Management Meeting on March 9, 2006
Economic outlook presentation given by Bernard Lashinsky at the SFSA Spring Management Meeting on March 9, 2006
keramida-annual compliance calendar.pdf
Regulatory Compliance Calendar for Steel Foundries by Keramida
keramida-Env Audits.pdf
Environmental Audits in the Primary Metals Sector - Jim Schifo, Keramida
keramida-Regulatory Calendar - 2006.pdf
Common Environmental Compliance Deadlines - Keramida
The February 2006 Casteel Reporter
china exports surge.pdf
China steel exports surge due to domestic overcapacity
Chinese Steel Industry - Record Steel Output with Big Decline in Net Imports in 2005
Measurement Error - ISU.pdf
Measurement Error of Visual Casting Surface Inspection - Iowa State University
The January 2006 Casteel Reporter
The December 2005 Casteel Reporter
USCC Executive Summary on China Trade
The November 2005 Casteel Reporter
Congressional letters on Hexavalent Chromium
The October 2005 Casteel Reporter
Presentation on the R&D Tax Credit given at the 2004 SFSA Annual Meeting
Special September 2005 Casteel Reporter about the possible impact of a natural disaster on the steel casting industry
The september 2005 Casteel Reporter
"Test Coupons and Casting Quality" and "Mechanical Properties of Test Bars Compared to Castings"
The August 2005 Casteel Reporter
Manufacturing and Steel Prices, by Peter Morici, February 2005
China prices 7-2005.pdf
Prices of Castings, Foundry Raw and Auxiliary Materials in Some Regions of China
US ITC Publication 3771, Foundry Products: Competitive Conditions in the U.S. Market
The July 2005 Casteel Reporter
WFO2005 Paper.pdf
World Foundry Organization paper on the last 20 years of steel casting research
The June 2005 Casteel Reporter
SFIC Washington Forum OSHA.ppt
Presentation on OSHA Proposed PEL for Hexavalent Chrome, in PowerPoint format
SFIC Washington Forum OSHA.pdf
Presentation on OSHA Proposed PEL for Hexavalent Chrome, in PDF format
The May 2005 Casteel Reporter
Amendments to the Scrap metal and Inspection provisions of the Iron and Steel Foundry MACT
The April 2005 Casteel Reporter
International Trade Events
Equipment Available
The March 2005 Casteel Reporter
The February 2005 Casteel Reporter
The January 2005 Casteel Reporter
AFS Government Affairs Conference Information
The December 2004 Casteel Reporter
The November 2004 Casteel Reporter
The October 2004 Casteel Reporter
The September 2004 Casteel Reporter
The August 2004 Casteel Reporter
General Rules of Antitrust Compliance & Antitrust Policy Statement of Steel Founders' Society of America
The July 2004 Casteel Reporter
The June 2004 Casteel Reporter
The May 2004 Casteel Reporter
Dollars and "Sense" presentation by John Nolan, Vice President, Steel Dynamics, Inc.
Dollars and "Sense" "The Sequel" presentation by John Nolan, Vice President, Steel Dynamics, Inc.
The April 2004 Casteel Reporter
The March 2004 Casteel Reporter
  Due to our office move, the February 2004 Casteel Reporter was not produced.
The January 2004 Casteel Reporter
The December 2003 Casteel Reporter
The November 2003 Casteel Reporter
The October 2003 Casteel Reporter
The September 2003 Casteel Reporter
The August 2003 Casteel Reporter
The July 2003 Casteel Reporter
The June 2003 Casteel Reporter
The May 2003 Casteel Reporter
The April 2003 Casteel Reporter
The March 2003 Casteel Reporter
The February 2003 Casteel Reporter
The January 2003 Casteel Reporter
The December 2002 Casteel Reporter
  Due to circumstances beyond our control, the November 2002 Casteel Reporter is not available online.
The October 2002 Casteel Reporter
The September 2002 Casteel Reporter
The August 2002 Casteel Reporter
The June 2002 Casteel Reporter
The May 2002 Casteel Reporter
The April 2002 Casteel Reporter
The March 2002 Casteel Reporter