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Higher and more consistent – a regulated option thanks to induction melting

Achieving a consistent temperature is of course a critical part of proceedings to ensure a quality melt and a quality casting, so when temperature regulation became an issue at the bronze foundry of Italian light metal foundry Kupral SpA, they turned to world-leading induction technology from Inductotherm Europe Ltd to solve the conundrum.

Electric induction melting in the form of a 200kW 1000Hz VIP Power Trak® with Melt-Manager® technology and a 750kg small steel shell furnace has been installed to replace an old gas-fired furnace. The result is not just a more constant temperature, but also the ability to achieve higher temperatures – a win/win for the Italian foundry that prides itself on achieving the highest quality components for its customers. The installation also included a cooling system consisting of an air blast radiator and pumpset.

Energy efficient solution

The equipment has been supplied to melt bronze to 1300°C. The furnace is mainly used in a bailout configuration with Kupral only occasionally tilting the furnace to empty it, which means they have been able to use k type thermocouples which regulate the temperature. As bronze ingots are added, the molten bath temperature reduces and as such a signal is fed back to the VIP via the max demand input (4-20mA), this raises the power until the desired temperature is reached at which point the power is reduced to holding power. In times where energy efficiency is essential, this is a particularly powerful solution for the foundry, enabling them to meet the demand in the most cost-effective manner.

Sam Wainwright, area sales manager at Inductotherm Europe Ltd, says the customer is pleased with the outcome. “They have made comments regarding how good the equipment is at keeping a constant temperture and the VIP more readily achieves a higher temperature when compared to the old gas furnace. This improves casting quality for several of the bronze alloys, obviously consistency has played a massive role in this too,” he tells Foundry Trade Journal. “The first melt was cast and then machined and even then, during commissioning, they were amazed at the difference in quality.”

Located in the Brescia area of Italy, Kupral SpA is a family-owned chill-cast non-ferrous alloy foundry and machine shop. It’s a sizable business with 23 gravity diecasting cells in the aluminium foundry and nine gravity diecasting machines in the bronze foundry supported by a well-equipped machine shop. The 100+ employees operate on eight thousand square metres of production facilities, fifteen thousand square metres of land, and as part of long-term supply chain partnerships to supply customers in the automotive, earth moving, gearing and elevator/lift sectors.

Immediate improvements

This latest melting technology investment in the bronze foundry, where castings range in weight from 200g to 100kg, is already reaping rewards with improvements that will enable Kupral to continue to meet the exacting demands of its global customers. The bronze foundry supplies OEM and MRO industries around the world, production focuses on industrial power transmission and mechanical applications such as: gear blanks produced in solid bronze or with bronze cast on an iron or steel hub, bushings, brake components, speed reducer and bearing components, combustion control devices, steering control components, and structural parts used in all-terrain vehicles, off-road machinery, and recreational equipment.

The move to induction technology makes sense to ensure a fast, efficient and precise method of heating the melt with much more precise controllability, regardless of batch size. The new equipment has been embraced by Kupral and will enable the company to be able to continue to meet their commitment as a reliable supplier of quality components, which can be supplied as-cast or fully machined for the most demanding environments. Inductotherm Europe Ltd can design and supply small precious metal melting furnaces, medium size non-ferrous, iron or steel melting furnaces, and large high power iron or steel melting furnace systems, depending upon the customer’s specific needs.

Contact: Jon Stear, managing director, Inductotherm Europe Ltd, The Furlong, Berry Hill, Droitwich, Worcestershire WR9 9AH United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (0) 1905 795100, email: [email protected] web:

Inductotherm will be exhibiting a wide range of induction melting equipment and capabilities at GIFA in Dusseldorf, Germany in June in Hall 10 on stand B42, including: induction melting furnaces, automated pouring systems and general heat treatment systems.