"Confidence plays a key factor in how an industry or company makes decisions about the direction it will take in the future," notes NADCA President Daniel L. Twarog. "NADCA's quarterly CEO Confidence Barometer shows that 2004 will see double digit increases in the percentage of aluminum and magnesium shipments. Even zinc shipments rose by a few percent in the first of this year, and more importantly, there is renewed business confidence."

According to Twarog, aluminum die-casting shipments have had two years of solid growth and should continue to do well through 2005. Yearly totals have already returned to prerecession levels. Zinc shipments have been picking up for the last four months, and the second quarter of '04 was the best three-month period since 2000. Year/over year growth appears to be back into positive territory. Presently, NADCA represents 66% of all the aluminum cast in North America and 95% of the magnesium and zinc.

"When one considers the total shipment estimate for 2004 and forecast data for '05, it is expected we will be a few percentage points off our record high shipments recorded in 1999 for aluminum," Twarog adds.

"There are always some who will say that numbers are inflated because the growing number of imported die castings is included, and we can't make any money on the record number of castings that will be produced. It's my impression that some of these people like to be depressed," he said. "Manufacturing's greatest challenge has always been to produce something at the lowest cost and charge the highest amount that someone will pay. How has that challenge changed from 1940 until today?"

NADCA is headquartered in Wheeling, Ill. (diecasting.org)