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The foundry industry consists of many stages from mining to the actual casting of the metal and iron. While most of the materials used in the foundry industry are mined from the earth as ore and minerals that are heated and liquified, many recycled iron and steel products are also heated and liquidated before being poured into molds and turned into new steel and iron bars. This type of recycling brings scrap yards, automobile salvage yards and neighborhood recycling programs into the foundry industry. Trucking and rail services are also involved in the process of creating new steel from old and discarded steel scrap, as they transport the raw materials to the foundry where the scrap is turned into new steel.
While the foundry industry is not responsible for the creation of many finished items, it is responsible for creating the raw castings that are finished by other factories. Once the raw materials have been heated to a liquid and poured into molds, the foundry industry process often requires use of large drop-hammers to pound the hot iron bars into a specific size and shape. Many different steel types and iron types are created by the mixture and addition of certain minerals to the molten iron while it is still in the large cauldrons.
Steel is produced by the foundry industry to be used in other industries to create steel stampings, forgings and other types of very strong components. Iron is poured into molds and cast into many different shapes and configurations, most of which require final machining to complete the creative process. In some applications, iron ingots are produced by the foundry and the ingots are shipped to manufacturers who heat and cast the iron into specific items.
Iron is subject to special recipes that each foundry adheres to, making one foundry preferred over another by some customers who use the iron to manufacture a particular component or part. This type of individualization between the iron produced sparks competition within the foundry industry. This also leads to very competitive salaries for those in charge of mixing the materials to create the superior iron product. Due in part to the heat and smoke that is produced during the act of melting the materials to produce iron and steel, there are various illnesses that are found only within the foundry industry and are often very serious if not caught in the early stages.