The North American Die Casting Association has predicted a U.S. economic expansion between 3.0 and 3.2% for 2015. This GDP growth has remained fairly constant over the past few years and has help given die casting manufacturing room to expand the market across the globe. The die casting industry is still the front runner of the manufacturing world, but some recent regulation changes are quickly becoming a major challenge to overcome. With worldwide usage rates increasing and available raw materials declining, there are expected changes coming for die casted OEM parts manufacturing in 2015.
One very important overall factor with the die casting industry is the United States GDP growth. The manufacturing industry has remained negatively influenced through a low consumer sentiment rate. The biggest hurdle to increasing this consumer rate is battling the low U.S. personal consumption rate of goods, which directly corresponds with the high U.S. unemployment rate.
Better than the Rest
As of lately, one of the most exciting benefits of the die casting industry has been the rapid movement and technological advancements that have developed within the sector as a whole. When compared to the rest of the manufacturing economy, die casting has been able to hold a 3% higher capacity rate.
Governmental oversight, expensive safe changes and a strong need for a more educated workforce have already been labeled as an immediate concern. In 2008, the EPA started targeting automotive and other transportation industries with a large focus to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions. Last year they announced their concentration on electric power stations having the goal of removing 418 coal electric power plants from the power table. This is an estimated 40% of the current U.S. power supply. Soon to follow is the industrial manufacturing sector.
A new cost on the rise is safety, not actually working in a safe manner or environment but the physical reporting of safety mishaps. Starting January 1, 2015 OSHA has directed that manufacturers will report work-related injuries within 24 hours reduced from a three day requirement in 2014. Also included, is a mandate for required online reporting for workers’ days away from work or DART data.
With all the recent steps forward in technology, die casting manufacturing productivity has grown roughly 30% since the last decade. The use of these newer technology and machines has increased the need for a higher educated workforce within a limited and aging field. The newer machines require more engineering and software technicians to keep them operating efficiently.
What to Watch
The cost of manufactured zinc parts is on the raise almost as a direct result of one of the world’s largest zinc mines closing last year and a handful of others scheduled to close in 2015. Though the price is not projected to double, it will increase at a faster rate than aluminum.
At a slower but consistent climbing rate, the prices of aluminum are increasing as well. Die cast manufacturing for automotive OEM parts is the sole driving force behind the cost increase of aluminum raw materials. With a projected increase of almost another million die cast manufactured units above last year’s total of 16.3 million, aluminum will remain at a constant growth and demand throughout the year.