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Matching technology to sustain a future

One dilemma for a foundry supply company is how to meet customer expectations whilst developing equipment and solutions that can stretch boundaries and open up new options for potential clients. For an industry giant, looking to those producing less volume has opened up new options for those foundries that in the past could only dream of owning their equipment.
With a reputation for innovative vertical moulding solutions, DISA Industries A/S has long been a sought after partner for foundries with high volume needs who have turned to the DISAMATIC range that can produce up to 555 moulds/hour. But the same innovative thinking that gained DISA this reputation is now attracting a new batch of customers for the company thanks to its flaskless Matchplate® technology for the production of castings in shorter runs with frequent pattern changes.
Speaking at the recent DISA Customer Symposium in Denmark, general product manager Bo Haugboelle told Foundry Trade Journal that DISA technology is now available for a wide range of foundries, whatever their moulding needs. “Whilst we are always striving for better casting quality or increased productivity for our existing customers we are also conscious that we need to find ways to reach new customers where capital investment might be difficult for them. They want to invest in automation and the Matchplate family of machines are ideal for medium sized capacity customers.”
DISA currently has 120 DISA MATCH® machines operating globally with the main markets for this technology being China, India and the US. “Many customers for these machines are not looking for high productivity solutions, their priority is to automate the process. We are finding ourselves needing to address a different segment of the market.”

A new breed of customers
With five vertical equipment solutions, DISA has taken the needs of the medium end of the market into consideration and foundries producing smaller amounts of a variety of components can now seek solutions from this leading industry partner.
“Most of these customers originate from horizontal technology and are converting to vertical so it is a really interesting time for us and of course for them,” Haugboelle said. “Lower volume producers also may need help in finding total solutions throughout their foundries and they may not necessarily have all the knowledge in-house so we can help them make the change and see real benefits in terms of productivity.
“When coming from the jolt-squeeze route, customers turning to DISA MATCH moulding solutions can consolidate down into less lines.”

Solutions provide value to the customer
DISA has also expanded its core technology to encompass wide-ranging requirements for medium and small sized production runs. 
Having specialised in high-volume, high-quality, complex cores, the company can now also satisfy the needs of jobbing foundries with the installation of multiple parting lines.
One of the latest products to market for DISA is its double index system which has yielded impressive results for many customers. For example Suzhou Ishikawa Iron Manufacturing Co in China installed a DISA 231-x with double index and a DISA SBS shuttle system with two pouring units in 2012. The company has witnessed a 30 per cent increase in productivity giving higher casting quality whilst pouring fewer kilograms per second.
With 400 projects world-wide under their belt in the last 50 years and 1,500 moulding lines, DISA Industries has proven itself as a solutions provider, but some years ago these solutions were confined to a specific breed of foundries. If you wanted a fast, hungry beast of a machine the Danish manufacturer came up trumps but changing times, tight budgets and customer aspirations have led to that distinctive DISA blue colour being present in all manner of foundries in all parts of the world. 
Vice president of global OEM sales, Flemming Juel Jensen summed up the company’s “uncompromised focus” on the current and future demands of the market. “We are really trying to live up to the commitment we have for customers.
“It is no secret that DISA wants to have a good business and make money – that is sustainability. If we have that then we can be there long-term for our customers.”

Vald Birn - a fascinating insight
Although low volume customers are becoming more frequent for DISA now, high volume foundries are still very much a part of the mix. 
Vald Birn A/S has been a supporter of DISA Industries for many decades, installing its first DISA in 1972. Now, 22 machines later, the foundry is still one of the best “showrooms” DISA has. With 440 employees and a €78m a year turnover, Vald Birn is one of northern Europe’s largest foundry groups. Located in Holstebro, Denmark, the company produces cast iron components for the automotive, pumping and hydraulic industries. Around 70 per cent of production is nodular iron. Capacity is 45,000 tons/year although the company is currently operating at around 40,000t; of this 8,000t is machined in-house.
Speaking to delegates from the DISA Customer Symposium who were able to tour the extensive VB facilities, commercial director, Peter Frost Jepsen, said: “Prior to the economic crisis we had 700 employees but we were only producing a couple of thousand tons more. So we can see that the crisis made us more efficient.
“We used to have eight moulding lines but didn’t operate them all. We now have five DISAs for our moulding requirements – a DISAMATIC 2070 MK2 line, plus two DISA 230 lines, one DISA 240 and one DISA 270 line – furthermore, we have DISA equipment in the core shop and DISA in our fettling shop.”
Of the 2,000+ active casting parts produced by VB, about 40 per cent require cores so the core shop is a particularly critical part of the production process at the company. There are many small cores. The heaviest is around 40kg which creates its own challenges in terms of coating. Water-based core coating requires speedy drying and a combination of methods are used from gas and microwave ovens to the DISA CORE 300 for high volume parts. More complicated coreboxes are produced on a DISA CORE 40MP. The core shop and core storage facilities are located in close proximity to the DISA moulding lines.
On visiting the site, delegates got to see the foundry’s capabilities and how DISA has worked with them over several decades to accommodate production expansions. 
Contact: DISA Industries A/S, Hojager 8, DK-2630 Taastrup, Denmark, Tel: +45 44 50 50 50, web: www.disagroup.com