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Serving the American Market With Quality Iron Castings

April 11, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 109

Serving Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has two distinct regions with very different requirements in castings. The very industrial region of Pittsburgh has generated growth in the past mainly upon its thriving steel industry, while the region surrounding Philadelphia is more a service-oriented economy. This brings important differences in the reason why castings are bought and the purpose they serve.

The Pittsburgh region

Although Pittsburgh's steel industry doesn't shine as bright as it use to do, it still drive an important part on the region's economy. Even more important, though, is that it created a sort of theme for the industries that have developed around the city with the economy based in large parts on manufacturing.

The manufacturing industry often presents with very specific needs. A foundry supplying casting to these industries must expect a larger share of aftermarket products, which translates to part that are often required in smaller quantities but require a much shorter lead time. Generally speaking, the price of these castings is not the main issue because the customer faces expenses that are much larger when facing a breakdown: time becomes the most important variable.

The Philadelphia region

The region surrounding Philadelphia is very different for Pittsburgh. Even in smaller nearby cities like York or Allentown, and even more so in Philadelphia itself, the big economic players are more service-oriented businesses. For a casting supplier, the important customers are then engineering firms and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) instead of end-users. These customers will some time offer aftermarket services, but a large share of their business will be for projects. This kind of production requires more engineering input from a foundry to ensure the long-time sustainability of the new designs, both by ensuring a cost effective fabrication and a life-cycle as long as possible.

Another interesting niche market to supply to these large OEMs is rapid prototyping. Since these companies need a strong R&D department to keep their competitive edge, they are willing to look at new technologies that will help them develop product at a lower cost and, even more important, at a faster pace. Finding the right technology becomes extremely important to them to stay on top, hence it is very important for suppliers to have these new technologies to offer.

Being an Iron Foundry in Illinois

Illinois is another large state with a strong manufacturing sector. Chicago is a very important city and although its main focus has moved from manufacturing to the service sector, there is still a lot of business that can be done there.

But as important to a serious foundry looking for expanding business are other smaller cities like Aurora or Peoria that host large corporation like Caterpillar, John Deere and other buyers of castings.

Chicago Area

Manufacturing companies have always seen Chicago as a smart place to build their plants because of its central geography. For this reason, we can still find many engineering firms and OEMs in a wide variety of fields like pumps, power or steel. With the presence of these companies, many machine shops have developed in this region to supplies these companies; they also represent a business opportunity for a foundry.

Peoria and Other Industrial Regions away from Chicago

As mentioned above, many large corporations have established themselves in Illinois, but away from the center city that is Chicago. These very large companies often require highly automated foundries to fabricate large quantities of castings.

But this doesn't mean that jobbing foundries can't find a niche to pierce this large market. Highly automated foundries have high start-up cost and lead time that are extremely long, which doesn't fit well with the requirements of prototyping. To shorten the development cycle of new products, jobbing foundries can offer a quicker turn around speed very helpful for R&D departments. This is particularly useful when pushing towards more aggressive design changes.

Nearby States (Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, etc)

The industrial density of Illinois as also attracted even more companies to neighbouring states that should not be ignored. Cities like Milwaukee, Wisconsin or Saint-Louis, Missouri present interesting opportunities mainly of the end-user types with its particular needs described above.

The Rest of the North-East

Although their market share may not be as large as the previously named markets, states like Ohio or Massachusetts can present interesting opportunities.

Ohio is very industrial and rather similar to Pittsburgh, while states like Massachusetts or New Jersey toward to be more service oriented like the Philadelphia region.

In any case, knowing the specificity of a market can help a foundry tailor-made its services to the particular needs of that market, ensuring good prosperity.

Alex Rouleau is a sales engineer for Saguenay Foundry, a Canadian based gray and ductile iron foundry with 50% of its annual sales in the United States. Saguenay Foundry sells an important share of its production or iron castings in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio.

Source: EzineArticles
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