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Conference reveals latest technology in coreless melting.

In terms of melting technology, experts agree American foundries have failed to keep up with the Joneses. But at the AFS International Coreless Induction Melting of Iron Conference held October 24-26 in Rosemont, Illinois, 141 foundrymen gathered for a weekend to discover the latest developments in equipment, refractories and melt procedures.

"A common factor of the foundries that went under in the last 10-20 years is that they haven't kept pace with what is state of the art in furnaces and other equipment," said conference co-chairman Ken Copi, Exolon-ESK. "If one thing works, they just keep doing it."

The first conference of its kind in 18 years, the program featured 34 speakers from the U.S., Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and England, and attracted participants from as far away as Australia. In addition, 13 manufacturers showcased their products in the conference's mini-exhibition.

Keynote speaker Ron Sharpless, Inductotherm Corp., discussed induction melting's impact throughout the world. He said developing countries such as Turkey and India are catching up or passing the U.S. in use of technology because ideas are more readily accepted there. Although much of the technology was developed in the U.S., nations on every continent are taking better advantage of it.

"The progressive foundries are those aware of the latest technology and taking advantage of it," Sharpless said. "These foundries seek out casting orders on an international basis--and get them."

New Equipment/Updating

While melting metal in coreless induction furnaces is almost fully automatic today, Hermann Ramcke, ABB Metallurgy, Inc., said one of the last meltshop jobs still done manually is one of the most difficult--the labor-intensive process of breaking out and removing worn refractory crucibles for periodic furnace relining.

Recent developments in coreless induction melting have resulted in quick lining removal systems, which remove the sintered crucible by an ejection device in a smooth, continuous stroke. After it is removed, it is tilted back to the upright position for relining.

"These systems reduce labor needed to manually remove the crucible, don't require the removal of spout or floor, eliminate hazardous conditions for workers and reduce damage to the furnace coil from air-powered chipping tools," Ramcke said.

William Duca, Duca Manufacturing & Consulting, discussed coil maintenance and upgrading.

Coils need to function in a hot, moist and dirty atmosphere and withstand vibrations. He told how to remedy situations in spacered and studded coils, cooling coils, parallel water paths, power leads and shunt insulation, as well as how to decide between repairing or updating.

"No matter what coil design is used, problems exist," Duca said. "So when a coil needs to be fixed, it shouldn't just be rebuilt back to factory standards. Existing problems should be identified so the coil can be updated accordingly." Also covered during the three days were the newest trends in composite linings, alloy recovery, dust collection, sintering/heating, PCBs, water cooling systems and foreseeable EPA regulations.

Starts with Scrap

In a presentation on statistical process control programs in the melt shop, Randy Mullinax, Alabama Ductile Casting Co., shared his foundry's approach to purchasing scrap.

He said because the melting process begins with incoming scrap, the control process should begin there, too. Control begins in establishing criteria for size, thickness, chemistry and physical appearance. At Alabama Ductile, one woman works full time climbing up into scrap trucks, taking samples and analyzing them.

"If scrap doesn't meet specifications, reject it," Mullinax said. "Dealers may downgrade it and sell it to you for a lesser price, but don't take it. If you take it once, they'll send it to you again. And you'll butt heads with your purchasing agent, since they want to buy anything at a reduced price."

Because, he noted, some dealers only want to make a sale, regardless of quality, foundries should rate them and buy only from the best. "Good scrap will pay for itself," he said.
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Title Annotation:American Foundrymen's Society International Coreless Induction Melting of Iron Conference
Author:Lessiter, Michael J.
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Dec 1, 1992
Previous Article:AFS reveals new research plan.
Next Article:Sand SQC cuts foundry defects.

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