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Modern foundries have become havens of energy saving techniques. Old but cost effective methods of pouring have been abandoned to embrace new ultrasonic methods of pouring. For foundries, the process of pouring is not just another procedure to be followed in the holistic process of casting. Poring today has become an art of modern technology. It has to done in a certain manner to ensure minimal energy consumption along with efficiency and convenience.

Traditional art of pouring :

In traditional foundries, one never gave much importance to the pouring process. Pouring was done by means of ladles. Later, the subject of energy saving took center stage and ladles began to be preheated. Steel and non-ferrous foundries began to use burners equipped with low-mass and low thermal conductivity ceramic fiber panels and inserts. This increased burner efficiency from 58% to 62%. Then came the issue of loosing vast amounts of energy due to radiation. To reduce the level of radiation the ladle was covered with a lightweight ceramic-fiber surface material. This material successfully reduced the ‘tap’ temperatures of the furnace during a transfer. It also effectively controlled the wear and wear of the furnace lining. This ultimately saved energy leading to a high and improved scale of productivity and profitability.

The system of filters :

Filtering systems began to be used in non-ferrous foundries at the turn of the century. It was found that filter systems were cost effective and, at the same time minimized energy consumption. These foundries used disposable ceramic filters fitted in front of the mould. This actually improved quality of the product to be finally cast. Aluminum and copper based foundries used such ceramic filters to make an average handsome profit of $800 every year per ton of good castings. The basic requirement to using the filtering system is adjusting furnace patterns to fit the filtering equipment.

  • Good superior quality of casting products as the filtering system serves a dual purpose of not only pouring the molten metal but, also filtering it to pure quality. Good castings ultimately lead to customer satisfaction and high production rates.
  • Filtering also ensures that there is less possibility of waste and scrap being found and accumulated during later stages of casting
  • Filtering ensure time consumptions leading to higher turnaround rates. Castings are produced in larger numbers within a short period of time. The filtering system makes the pouring method efficient, fast and productive
  • There is reduced consumption of all elements of time, energy, labor, fuel and even metal.

Modern Pouring Techniques : The Ultrasonic system :

This energy saving system was first introduced in UK. The basic principle applied is the conversion of electric energy into acoustic energy through a niobium converter. The logic behind the usage of this technique holds that filters emit a lot of ultrasonic energy whilst pouring. Niobium converters absorb this ultrasonic energy and prevent any corrosion.

Advantages :
  • There is no preheating which saves a lot of time and effort. Specifically, this means a 95% reduction time in all preparatory activities.
  • The niobium converter ensures that the molten metal poured into the cast is of a fine texture with a grainer surface. This makes for durable and tougher casting items.
  • Usage of ultrasound pouring systems actually leads to optimal customer satisfaction and demand leading to a continuous rate of production and profitability.
  • The niobium converter also reduces the temperature level of the molten metal. This actually reduces cooling time increasing the mechanical density properties of the cooled metal. In addition, the converter also manages to increase the fluidity and flexibility of the molten metal. This makes it possible for the molten metal to be molded into any shape and size.

Methods of Saving on Energy Consumption:

Pouring techniques used in small foundries: Small foundries tend to use the Ontario based system of ladle pouring where the ladle is preheated by placing or fixing the ladle in a slightly turned or tipped position to a wall in front. This wall has to be built of refractory materials making it possible for the preheating burner to be inserted into the ladle. This leaves a small gap between the ladle and the wall. These two elements in conjunction with the heat reflection going from the wall back to the original source of the ladle bring down energy consumption levels. Many small foundries use a dip-in, mechanized ladle heater fuelled by electricity to control and maintain energy output.

Modern corporate foundries are not afraid of high-cost energy saving pouring systems. They invest in ‘robotics’ and ‘autoladlers’ to achieve faster rates of production. These devices also do away with human resource management deliverables and reduce dependency of machine on man.

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