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Automated moulding line solves Italian foundry’s production dilemmas

The desire to meet increasing customer demand with absolute attention to quality led one Italian foundry to turn to a leading global foundry machinery supply company to offer a space saving solution. The challenge being to increase productivity and quality consistency within a very limited floor plan.

Although FAIL Foundry (Fonderia Acciaio Inox e sue Leghe) had two existing manual moulding lines, the company was not able to produce enough castings to meet customer needs; predominantly due to the lack of space inside the foundry, compounded by the slow and non-mechanised nature of the existing moulding lines.

Cue Omega Sinto Foundry Machinery Ltd which rose to the challenge by working with FAIL to incorporate the latest moulding technology into the foundry’s daily routine. Omega Sinto replaced the existing large moulding line with a 20tph mixer fitted with the RFID mould recognition system, compaction table, fast loop, auto-strickle, rollover, coating drier, pouring and cooling lines, mechanical and thermal reclamation, and an automatic 200 mould capacity vertical storage facility. The new line can now achieve 20 complete moulds per hour using phenolic urethane binder. 

The process

The boxless moulds are produced on a size 3 fast loop with a 20tph pivotal mixer. The mixer has three pumps for phenolic urethane – the part 3 pump has temperature sensitive controls to ensure that the mould cure time is constant, irrespective of sand temperature. The mixer has the option of facing with thermally reclaimed sand and backing with mechanically reclaimed sand or producing a mould with a blend of thermal and mechanical reclaim sand. With a microchip in each pattern, the RFID system ensures that every mould is made to the correct recipe and the production of each mould is logged. Once the pattern is filled and vibrated on the compaction table, it passes to the next station where an auto-strickle will wipe away excess sand from the top of the mould. The mould then begins the curing process and travels along the ten-station fast loop until it eventually reaches the automatic rollover and is stripped. The empty pattern returns to either the pattern change station or the fast loop for another production cycle.

The stripped half-mould then travels to an inspection station, infra-red pre-drier before progressing to the coating station where the mould surface is painted with an alcohol-based refractory coating. The mould then moves to a fully enclosed flame-off station where the coating is ignited and dried.  Potentially hazardous fumes are extracted away from the working area.

The moulds are then cored, closed and placed on cast iron pouring pallets. The moulds on pallets are sent to the vertical mould storage system for storage before pouring; this enables batches of moulds to be stored and made ready and then called for once the specific metal heat is achieved. As the location and specification of each mould inside the storage system is recorded, it is easy to identify the location of the required moulds and send them to the respective pouring line – either in batches or individually. Once the moulds have been poured and cooled sufficiently they are sent to the two-tier powered roller cooling line. This line is also equipped with fume extraction to ensure that all cooling fumes are extracted away from the foundry environment.

Once final cooling has been achieved, the moulds are sent to the Gamma 9LL for knock-out and sand reclamation. After mechanical reclamation, part of the reclaimed sand is sent to the PX 1G furnace for thermal processing. Both mechanical and thermal sands are then pneumatically conveyed back to the mixer for re-use.

Outcome

Undoubtedly, 20 complete moulds per hour has been achieved by employing the latest generation Spartan mixer fitted with temperature sensitive part-3 pump and RFID pattern recognition system. A further main factor in increasing productivity is the mechanised fast loop and its associated components.

Due to the limited floor space, it was essential to utilise the vertical mould storage system to free up floor space for the increased volume of moulds. The quality improvements were again due to the mixing efficiency of the Spartan mixer with the facility to provide three types of sand for the mould face, together with a high efficiency mechanical and thermal reclamation plant providing high quality sand. The working environment also improved due to the fume extraction on the pouring and cooling lines and the coating drier (flame-off station).

By incorporating the latest moulding technology from Omega Sinto together with the practical foundry engineering of FAIL, the foundry has been able to increase productivity, improve production flexibility, provide a cleaner working environment and still maintain a high level of quality and consistency.

FAIL Foundry overview:

  • Three induction furnaces – 1500kg, 1000kg and 150kg capacity.
  • Casting range 0.5kg to 700kg.
  • Output of 700 tonnes per year.
  • Steel castings in austentic stainless steel, martensite stainless steel, ferritic stainless steel, duplex and superduplex, alloys for high temperatures, nickel based alloys, low-alloy steel
  • 70 per cent of FAIL’s production is for the domestic market, 30 per cent is exported to Belgium, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.
  • Customers: food, paper, chemical, cryogenics, energy, mechanical, military and nuclear sectors.

Contact: Omega Sinto Foundry Machinery Ltd, Morley Way, Woodston, Peterborough PE2 7BW UK. Tel: +44 (0) 1733 232231 email: sales@ofml.net  web: www.ofml.net

FAIL Srl (Fonderia Acciaio Inox e sue Leghe), Via Galileo Galilei, 18 42020 San Polo d’Enza – RE Italy Tel: +39 0522 873 436.