Iron Foundries as Critical Infrastructure

Currently, most of the country and a significant part of the planet is in turmoil. The COVID-19 coronavirus has put an unprecedented strain on several different industries due to the unusually high fatality and hospitalization rates associated with the virus. This has prompted many governments to shut down all but essential businesses in an effort to minimize the spread of this new coronavirus.

In light of the current situation, most people will naturally think of hospitals and grocery stores as essential services that have to be operating to ensure that people are taken care of. Those who think about it a bit more will realize that power plants are needed to provide power to the hospitals, and truckers and trains are necessary to keep the grocery stores stocked up. Gas stations are required to run all those trucks and cars for the people that go back and forth to their essential services; however, beyond that, there is any number of support industries that are needed to keep all these other activities going. Faircast Inc. and other ductile iron foundries fall into this category as critical infrastructure.

What makes grey iron casting so essential? There is any number of things that are needed to make those services run smoothly that are produced in foundries across the country. What are some of these industries that are supported by Faircast and many other iron foundries?

The trucking industry requires heavy, sturdy engine blocks that are created in foundries like ours. This is more than just melting iron; ductile iron casting involves making the molds and cores necessary to create something as complex as an engine block. And the latest advancements in iron casting have made cast iron engine blocks an attractive alternative to lighter but less durable aluminum engine blocks. Rims are also often made of cast iron, as are many other components of the average semi-truck.

Power plants are full of an incredible number of iron components. Many of the valves, regardless of size, style or function, are made in iron foundries and are critical infrastructure. Their bodies, disks, yokes, stems, and handwheels might all be iron. There are also pipes running throughout the plant; whether it’s an old coal-burning plant, a powerful nuclear reactor, or a modern natural gas plant, ductile iron pipes transport the plant’s lifeblood to wherever it needs to go. Sure all of these systems are already in place, and not much is getting built at the moment. However, leaks still happen, old piping does eventually degrade, someone might accidentally cut a water line with an excavator, and that means that piping needs to be replaced from time to time, even during a global emergency.

What of the medical field? You may not see much iron in a casual stroll through a hospital beyond a cast-iron sculpture, but we can assure you, the products of iron foundries are there, often underneath the surface, behind the walls are up on the roof. Naturally, just as with power plants, ductile iron pipes are running everywhere throughout your average hospital. There also iron parts in the ventilation units that are so important to keep patients and staff comfortable, as well as stopping the spread of disease within its walls. If a piston or a pulley breaks, it takes iron foundries like Faircast Inc. to replace it.

Speaking of ventilation, there are still iron parts in furnaces and ventilation units all across the country, even in apartment buildings and possibly your own home. Farm equipment also makes no small use of iron. This is true on the industrial and small private farm level. Plows, harvesters, and storage units all may be made of iron.

Let us not forget the people that iron foundries themselves rely on; people like those who do the back-breaking work in the mines to get the raw ore out of the earth, the people who crew the ships that bring the ore to our nation’s ports, those who run the railroads that bring uncounted tons of that raw material from the ports to our foundry in Iowa. Without all of these people doing their jobs well and the equipment (which in turn involves no small amount of iron) running smoothly, we would not be able to function. And if iron foundries like Faircast Inc., or other critical infrastructure, stopped running, it wouldn’t be long before the rest of those more obvious essential services stopped running as well.