Pittsburg State Wins DOD-Sponsored 2024 Cast in Steel Competition

July. 1, 2024 |DOD News

After months of preparation, 45 teams from 36 universities across America traveled to Wisconsin’s Milwaukee School of Engineering on April 23 to compete in this year’s Cast in Steel competition. Sponsored through a partnership between the Steel Founders’ Society of America (SFSA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) Innovation Capability and Modernization (ICAM) office, the annual competition brings together hundreds of students to highlight the importance of advanced manufacturing skills.

Teams were tasked to use advanced metal casting tools and principles to design and manufacture a working version of a Halligan bar – an essential multifunction tool for firefighters to access building spaces, vehicles, and other emergency uses. To test the effectiveness of each team’s design, judges from the History Channel’s “Forged in Fire” series put the bars through rigorous testing to determine the bar’s ability to pry, puncture, and chop through obstacles as would be needed by qualified firefighters.

After four rounds of exciting tests, Pittsburg State’s “Graduate Gorillas” Halligan bar won the overall prize. When asked about the impact the competition has on the students, Nathan Minuth of Pittsburg State’s winning team said, “Cast in Steel is an amazing competition. Getting students to walk all the way through a project from talking to a customer and understanding what the customer wants, then producing the end product is a huge part of understanding the industry.”

Now in its sixth year, Cast in Steel has proven to be a great opportunity to expose college students to the creativity and opportunities of metals manufacturing, and directly supports the National Defense Industrial Strategy’s strategic priority of promoting the prestige of industrial careers. "Our number one challenge in manufacturing is ensuring we have a properly sized, skilled, and motivated future workforce. We have fewer people entering the workforce than leaving the workforce," said Raymond Monroe, SFSA executive vice president.

Following the competition, close to 15 representatives from industry participated in a networking event to match students with metals manufacturers from across the nation. Since the first Cast in Steel competition in 2019, nearly 30 percent of the 900 competitors have been placed in positions across the DOD’s metals manufacturing supply chain. Mr. Anthony Di Stasio, Director of DOD’s Manufacturing Capability Expansion and Investment Prioritization (MCEIP) directorate stated, “The investments we make in efforts like Cast in Steel give us the opportunities we need to recruit the next generation of Americans charged with building and maintaining the arsenal of democracy.”

To learn more about this year’s entries, or to become involved in next year’s competition, please visit:https://www.sfsa.org/subject-areas/castinsteel/

Since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2024, ICAM has awarded nearly $700 million through its Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment program to projects that bolster the defense industrial base. ICAM is part of the ASD(IBP)’s MCEIP directorate, in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Resilience. For more information on MCEIP, please visit: https://www.businessdefense.gov/ibr/mceip/index.html

About the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy (OASD(IBP))

The OASD(IBP) works with domestic and international partners to forge and sustain a robust, secure, and resilient industrial base enabling the warfighter, now and in the future. OASD(IBP) also utilizes a new Defense Industrial Base Consortium Other Transaction Agreement (DIBC OTA) to solicit new ideas for research or prototype project solutions for critical Supply Chain Resiliency Focus Areas. It underscores the Department's ongoing dedication to safeguarding the integrity of our crucial supply chain and furnishing our warfighters with requisite materials and technologies promptly. To learn more at the DIBC OTA, please visit: https://www.dibconsortium.org/oa-24-01/