NFFS Statement: Non-Ferrous Foundries are a Critical Manufacturing Sector

The Non-Ferrous Founders’ Society (NFFS) recognizes the need for federal, state and local governments to implement policies that protect the American public from the risks of COVID-19. This includes limiting large gatherings of people and requiring many workers to not report to work as normally scheduled to help slow the spread of the virus and to "flatten the curve" of the rate of infection.

As many U.S. states begin to implement social controls that mandate non-essential workers in non-essential industries to stay at home, foundries are left with multiple conflicting statements regarding whether they are essential and should continue to operate. This statement is intended to help foundries communicate with federal, state and local leaders to explain why non-ferrous foundries are considered a critical manufacturing industry and must maintain operations during any state ordered shutdown.

On March 16th, the President issued updated guidance for the American public regarding COVID-19. In part, the guidance states: ““If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.” 

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) website, non-ferrous foundries are a part of the critical manufacturing sector. The website states, in part, “The Critical Manufacturing Sector is crucial to the economic prosperity and continuity of the United States. A direct attack on or disruption of certain elements of the manufacturing industry could disrupt essential functions at the national level and across multiple critical infrastructure sectors.” It further elaborates “Products made by these manufacturing industries are essential to many other critical infrastructure sectors. The Critical Manufacturing Sector focuses on the identification, assessment, prioritization, and protection of nationally significant manufacturing industries within the sector that may be susceptible to manmade and natural disasters.

Metal castings, the products created by foundries, are particularly important for a number of other critical infrastructure sectors, including fluid and chemical handling, communications, defense and military, emergency services, energy production and distribution, food and agriculture, healthcare, nuclear and transportation industries. Without the necessary metal castings available, each of these critical manufacturing sectors will be at serious risk of failure and at risk of not being able to adequately support and protect the American public. The impact of a failure in any one of these sectors would be disastrous for our country and its efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic. 

CISA has issued guidance regarding the identification of critical infrastructure during the COVID-19 outbreak. This guidance specifically identifies non-ferrous foundries as a part of the critical manufacturing sector, and accordingly are included in the list of workers and industries that should continue to report to work during any COVID-19 related shutdown.

Non-ferrous foundries should consider this information, in conjunction with the statements and requirements of their state and local officials, as they determine if they will maintain production operations in the event that a "stay at home" order is issued in their state.