Founded in Philadelphia in 1896 as a clearing house for technical and practical foundry information, the American Foundrymen’s Association (renamed American Foundrymen’s Society in 1948) (renamed American Foundry Society in 2000) has grown to an international organization with 53 local chapters and 28 student chapters in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Its’ more than 13,000 members today include leading casting technologist and operating people all over the world.
The Society’s first Annual Convention was held in 1896 at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute, when the Philadelphia Foundrymen’s Association and the Western Foundrymen’s Association (Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa) invited the nation’s foundrymen to join them in forming a national technical society. Resolutions passed at the first convention have served as a pattern for A.F.S. since:
“To promote the arts and sciences applicable to the metal castings manufacturer, and to improve the methods of production and the quality of castings to the end that increasing the utility of all classes of castings may result advantageously to all persons engaged in the foundry and related industries, and to users of castings.”
Today, AFS is many things. It serves as an international forum for exchanging the latest and best in casting technology. It publishes “Modern Castings”, the official monthly technical magazine of the industry, “AFS Transactions”, and a host of books and pamphlets on virtually every phase of foundry work. It sponsors one of the nation’s largest industrial conventions and exhibits, and it is an educational medium.
AFS assists member companies and individuals to effectively and efficiently manage all production operations, to profitably market their products and services, and to equitably manage their employees. AFS also promotes the interests of the foundry industry before the legislative and executive branches of the federal government. With the direction of its volunteer committee structure, the professional staff of AFS provides support in the areas of technology, management, and education to further activities that will enhance the economic progress of the metalcasting industry.
The Chapters may well be called the “grass roots” of AFS. In 1934, the first of these Chapters, the Chicago Chapter, was formed. These Chapters conduct more than a total of 300 meetings and regional foundry conferences each year, where foundrymen gather to hear the latest in casting technology from industry thought leaders, to exchange knowledge freely, and to meet others who share the same interest.
The backbone of AFS technical activities is made up of committees whose members are chosen by and from the membership of the various AFS technical divisions: Light Metals, Brass & Bronze, Education, Gray Iron, Malleable, Pattern, Sand, Steel, Die Casting and Permanent Mold, and Ductile Iron, and from general interest groups such as Heat Transfer, Costs, and Plant and Plant Equipment. Division and general interest committees stage sessions at AFS conventions and prepare and publish recommended practices on a wide variety of foundry topics.
Annually, AFS Casting Congress provides a marketplace for interchanging the best in foundry thinking. Every third year, the AFS CastExpo, held in conjunction with the Casting Congress, enables foundrymen to see the best and newest tools of their trade in operation.
These are the accomplishments and aims of AFS. Every foundryman should know and understand them. They guarantee every AFS member the opportunity to improve themselves in direct proportion to their willingness to learn.