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Lift off for furan moulding plant

With an annual capacity of 20,000 tonnes and a manpower requirement of just ten workers, the latest moulding plant at one of Italy’s principal foundries provides a master-class in how to manage an increase in demand for both size of castings and quantities.

When VDP Fonderia SpA approached a tried and trusted supplier, they had confidence that their demand for consistency, quality and delivery could be met because of a 20-year relationship which had proven itself in the past. IMF responded with the design and installation of a new moulding plant for the production of flasks using an automatic transfer and elevated car. The result is a plant that can produce up to four moulds per hour in box sizes of 2.5m x 3.6m of castings up to 10 tonnes in weight.

The investment was made to satisfy the growing needs of the energy, ship building and mechanical sectors VDP supplies and has seen the foundry be able to deliver the quantities needed in the necessary time frames.

The only way is up
The design incorporates a novel racked storage system which can store up to 132 moulds thanks to high speed elevators. The plant uses an automatic transfer and elevated car system which has a lifting speed of 40 metres per minute, a transfer speed of 120 metres per minute and a maximum elevation of 18 metres. The vast construction facilitates the cooling of very large castings and enables the foundry to use available space in a vertical way.

The company is used to working vertically with existing model stores located on several levels to offer a speedy and efficient method of storage, managed by an automated system for easy transfer to different departments.

IMF has supplied VDP for 20 years and this latest project tested their skills in pushing boundaries but, together with VDP, the solution was found and the plant is now up and running and meeting its objectives. As part of the order, IMF also supplied a 60t/hr furan mixer to feed the plant.

Technology – the only answer
Using the principal adopted by car manufacturers, VDP operates a CRM-style computer system to ensure everything is made to a specific schedule and literally comes together at a set time. This highlights a dedication to detail and the ability to control the production cycle and eradicate stock and supply problems.

VDP prides itself on its abilities to respond to customer needs and has continued to invest in the latest technology at its modern foundry in Schio (Italy). The foundry provides a variety of nodular and grey iron castings from 10kg to 100 tonnes in weight using electric melting and both manual and automated processes throughout the site.

Specific features include automatic handling systems, continuous mixers, four automated storage logistics and quality control systems.

The company incorporates both automatic moulding plant for smaller castings and hand moulding to manufacture various products in a wide range of large sizes.

Five electric melting furnaces with a capacity of 17-60 tonnes/hr produce a melting output of approx. 140 tonnes/day and the ladles are operated using an automatic handling system. What the company describes as a “mighty robot on rails” operates on the furnace line.

Commenting on the latest venture Ciro Radice, executive vice president of IMF, said: “We are delighted that the new moulding plant is helping VDP meet its commitment to customers and maintain quality castings. It is a large-scale plant and the lift and racking system is an important part of it. IMF is happy to work with customers to improve their facilities and help them cope with production demands.”

Contact: IMF – Impianti Macchine Fonderia Srl, Tel: +39 0332 542424, email: [email protected] web: