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Metal Casting

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Metal Casting map

Map showing location of U.S. facilities in this sector; please click on the map to see a larger version.

Sector Profile

The Metal Casting sector includes establishments that pour molten ferrous metals (iron and steel) or nonferrous metals under high pressure into molds to manufacture castings. Ferrous metal casting includes those castings made with grey iron, ductile iron, malleable iron, and steel. Nonferrous castings are predominantly aluminum but might also be brass, bronze, zinc, magnesium, and titanium.

The United States is the largest producer of cast products in the world. More than 90 percent of all manufactured goods in the United States contain cast metal components. These end-use markets include engine blocks, transmission housings, and suspension parts for cars and trucks; undercarriages of farm and construction equipment; and pipes and valves for plumbing fixtures and boilers. U.S. casting operations are now mostly small businesses, with 80 percent of facilities employing 100 people or fewer.

The metal casting industry is one of the largest recyclers in North America and perhaps the world, saving approximately 15–20 million tons of scrap metal from disposal in landfills and junkyards each year and using this waste as a source of raw material to produce useful products.

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Casting Imports and End-use Markets

The table below provides a summary of casting imports to the United States in 2009.

Forecast of U.S. Metal Casting Imports, 2009
Metal Demand Imports
(Metric Tons)
(% of Demand)
Gray Iron 4,699,217 1,350,798 28.7
Ductile Iron 3,877,308 479,901 12.4
Steel 1,128,538 237,682 21.1
Aluminum Die castings 1,164,825 294,835 25.3
Aluminum Permanent Mold/Sand 1,124,909 492,601 43.8
Brass/Bronze 304,814 58,060 19.0
Other N/A 163,294 N/A
Source: Stratecasts, Inc. AFS Metalcasting Forecast & Trends – 2009, American Foundry Society, Inc., Schaumburg, IL, October 2008, pg. 36

The table below provides a summary of forecasts for the metal casting import markets in the United States in 2009.

Forecast of U.S. Markets for Metal Casting Imports, 2009
Market Imports
(Metric Tons)
Imports (%)
Motor Vehicle 1,185,690 38.5%
Internal Combustion Engines 304,814 10.8%
Municipal Construction 254,919 8.3%
Valves and Fittings 245,847 8 %
Construction, Mining, and Oilfield Machinery 156,036 5.1%
Railroad 99,790 4.5%
Farm Equipment 138,799 3.2%
Other 664,059 20.9%
Source: Stratecasts, Inc. AFS Metalcasting Forecast & Trends – 2009, American Foundry Society, Inc., Schaumburg, IL, October 2008, pg. 37.

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Performance Data and Trends for this Sector

You can find data and trends for this sector in the Metal Casting chapter of the most recent Sector Performance Report.

The Metal Casting chapter in Energy Trends in Selected Manufacturing Sectors: Opportunities and Challenges for Environmentally Preferable Energy Outcomes (PDF) (8 pp, 280K, About PDF) outlines the trends and opportunities in energy use for this sector.

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Increasing the Recycling (Beneficial Use) of Foundry Sand

In 2008-2009, EPA consulted with a broad group of stakeholders to consider various actions for increasing the beneficial use of foundry sand. This process resulted in the development of a Multi-Stakeholder Action Plan (MAP) that identifies key challenges to increased beneficial use and a comprehensive set of actions aimed at increasing the beneficial use of foundry sands. Over fourteen national organizations have agreed to implement specified actions with the goal of increasing the beneficial use rate to 50% by 2015. EPA's Region 5 (Susan Mooney; Email: mooney.susan@epa.gov; Tel: 312-886-3585) is Chairing the Steering Group that is overseeing the implementation of the Action Plan.

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