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GIFA's 'Technology Summit' unveils world's most advanced production tool.

The 50,000-plus visitors at June's GIFA exhibition in Germany were treated to a glimpse of the future through live demonstrations of a variety of new products.

DUSSELDORF, Germany - A decade from now, foundries across the globe may trace many of their technological advancements back to 1999. With the rare occurrence of both the AFS CastExpo and GIFA in the same calendar year, 1999 may be regarded as one of the most important years of new technology introductions the global foundry industry has seen, especially as it enters a new millennium.

When the final tallies were counted at the Dusseldorf Fairgrounds, GIFA had featured nearly 900 exhibitors and had attracted 53,000 visitors, both marked improvements over the 1994, the last time the exhibition was held. In addition, exhibition space jumped by 20% to 46,000 sq meters in 1999.

The U.S. had the fifth-largest exhibiting presence at the show with 54 firms (up 12 since '94), following Germany, Italy, France and Great Britain.

In addition to the equipment exhibition, several other programs were held that interested foundrymen. The International Committee of Foundry Technical Assns. (CIATF) held a 2-day "Technical Forum" lecture event titled, "Intelligent Pouring - Innovative Casting," that delivered 50-plus papers on practices in material aspects, melting and casting technologies, simulation techniques, mold/core production, diecasting and environmental questions. Further, an art casting exhibit was sponsored, as well as impressive exhibit that focused on casting applications and a "working foundry" to promote the industry.

As North American foundry officials who attended the show can attest to, it is nearly impossible to encompass the entire 8-building show. So while this article isn't inclusive of all new products unveiled to the foundry world during GIFA, it provides a sampling of many of the innovations that foundrymen should be aware of, including many of which were highlighted to us by North American foundrymen in attendance.

And, as had been done with modern casting's AFS CastExpo coverage (April '99) readers may request information through this issue's Reader Action Card, or may submit their information requests electronically through the modern casting web site (www.moderncasting.com) for a faster response. Additional coverage of these and other new products can be found in future issues.

The "Technology Forum International '99," drew a total of 96,000 visitors. In addition to GIFA, it consisted of METEC (metallurgical technology); THERMPROCESS (industrial furnaces and thermic production processes); MINETIME (world mining technology) and GEOSPECTRA (geotechnology and applied earth sciences). The next GIFA will be in the Spring of 2003.

FERROUS MELTING/POURING

Unveiled at GIFA was Inductotherm's Multi-Trak multiple-output (up to four furnaces or more) power supplies for high productivity through maximum equipment utilization. The system is based on the 8-year-old DualTrak (400 installations) system, which was developed to supply simultaneous power to two furnaces. The new system can be configured to provide the high levels of metal production previously associated with large arc furnaces and high-capacity cupola melters, without requiring a high-capacity induction furnace. In a 100 ton/hr, 50-mW system with four 30-ton furnaces, for instance, two furnaces could be melting at 20 mW each with the remaining power allocated to one or both of the other furnaces for melting, holding or sintering. One of the furnaces is in the field today (Technicast), with another two in construction.

Also receiving interest at the exposition was the Meltminder 200, the PC-based induction melt shop control and management system that operates on Windows NT. Introduced at CastExpo this year, the system enables operators to monitor and control the entire melting process, from charging to melting to tapping. Managers benefit from an accurate range of data and reports to monitor, evaluate and plan melt shop operations and maintenance. The furnace maker also displayed its wide-body steel shell furnaces, which have gained in customer interest over the last year. The short, wide design gives foundries greater flexibility when faced with a lower overhead melt area and/or allows them to minimize scrap processing costs through charging larger size scrap or return castings.

ABB's exhibit focused on the European release of its new FS series coreless induction furnaces (1-4 ton capacity) and new power supply for mid-sized foundries. Benefits include an air-cooled converter, accessible construction and reduced overall maintenance. The firm also introduced its new unheated Pouromat unit for the automated pouring of cast iron, including ductile iron. based on the firm's PressPour furnace structure, the new stopper-rod unit is designed for greater pouring flexibility and rapid iron changeovers and is reported to offer benefits of: ease of cleaning for magnesium (Mg)-treated melts, smaller heels and minimal heat losses. There are currently two installations in Europe for the system.

Exhibited for the first time was the Swiss-based SLS Engineering's Puma Pouring Robot. Developed within the last two years, the system's key features are: freely programmable pouring curve and ladle movements that can be adapted (three independent axes) to fill molds of various heights and pouring depths; a fully automated pouring system via a sensor scan that regulates the level in the pouring cup; pouring is halted by weight measurement, resulting in a higher yield; and fast ladle changes are possible through its stationary ladle quick changer (which was demonstrated on a two-ladle system). The firm currently has eight installations worldwide, including the Renault foundry in France.

Progelta exhibited the environmental features on its new cored wire treatment station for ductile iron production. The system is reported to capture and remove 100% of the effluent from the foundry. In the U.S., the new system is currently in use at Brillion Iron Works, Burnham Corp. and Grinnell Corp.

In addition to showcasing its current line of cored wire technology at GIFA, Odermath introduced its newly patented Mg-cored wire designed to increase yield and reduce treatment time for ductile iron production. Compared with traditional cored wires containing granular material, the surface area of the Mg has been greatly reduced, slowing down the rate of evaporation and increasing the time available for the Mg to be absorbed by the liquid iron. The reduced vaporization rate reduces turbulence, allowing the injection speed to be increased. Initial trials, without process optimization, resulted in a 12% relative increase in yield over conventional granular wire methods. Odermath also is developing a new range of MTS treatment stations that utilize a straight-line wire transport to make wire injection more affordable for small foundries.

Foseco introduced its MSI 90 68E automatic metal stream inoculation system for use with mechanized and automatic pouring systems. The system consists of a control cabinet, dosing equipment and a cable package to accommodate both electrical and compressed air supplies. In addition to the equipment and its monitoring systems, the unit can be integrated with PC Connect software that allows sophisticated calibration and data collection, as well as the ability to run and monitor the unit remotely, either within the plant or with a modern, from the supplier's offices.

NONFERROUS MELTING/POURING

On display at Georg Fischer Disa was the AluPour modular pouring system for horizontal green sand molding lines. As opposed to conventional gravity pouring of sand molds, the unit features an active pouring technology from the bottom of the mold, which can control the fill velocity at all times. According to the manufacturer, the low turbulence pouring method can virtually eliminate gas inclusions and also can allow lower pouring temperatures that result in a more uniform matrix formation, higher properties and surface quality. With a pouring furnace arranged on the side, the system provides different pouring variations and ease of configuration to existing lines. Further, because the pouring position remains the same, existing patterns can continue to be used with only the sprue system being relocated to the drag.

Nabertherm introduced its new line of Liquitherm fuel-fired crucible furnaces to complement its current offering of electric power melting and holding furnaces. The new gas-fired furnace line is designed to provide aluminum foundries with short melting times, high efficiency, low noise levels and high melting performance. The firm also introduced its newer, broader range of electric melting and holding furnaces at the show.

Metaullics showcased its new aluminum chip melting system that was introduced last year. Suited for large-volume casting producers that perform in-house machining operations, the furnace is in place at several U.S. wheel operations. With the unique vortex design, the chips under the metal melt quickly and the dross is rapidly brought to the top as the metal enters the reverberartory furnace. The firm also showed its box filters, which allow aluminum melters to dip out of the center of the box for the pouring of cleaner aluminum.

ABB Flexible Automation introduced its Robocast robot for molten aluminum ladling, which is reported to offer greater flexibility than linear pouring while also increasing reliability and providing reduced cycle and set-up times. In operation, a zero-based measuring system controls the accurate quantity removal of molten aluminum from the holding furnace with a leveling ladle. A special S4C control system ensures safe and quick transportation to the molding line and, after pouring, the ladle is overturned to remove the remaining oxide skin.

Foseco also introduced its MTS metal treatment station process, which represents a combination of traditional melt treatment by using chemical agents and the cleaning/degassing of a melt via a rotor. The unit provides the opportunity to reduce total treatment times by up to 60% over tablet treating with subsequent rotary degassing. In operation, granulate treatment agents are placed in a hopper located on the machine, and both the treatment gas and granulated flux are introduced into the melt via the rotor and are homogeneously distributed through the entire crucible volume.

Pyrotek introduced its PHD-50 mobile metal cleaning and mixing system. The unit's spinning rotor head can be moved or tilted from vertical or horizontal positions to accommodate tight conditions and can perform bi-gas metal treatment or flux injection. The mobile unit offers replacement for sidewell pumps, is an efficient alternative to manual wand fluxing, maximizes melt mixing through its submerged propeller and can reduce the use of molten metal pumps. The firm also introduced its XL system of advanced ceramics for molten aluminum applications. Designed for individual applications, the ceramic system's product lines include: Standard - pouts, control pins, thimbles and foundry TCPTs; Light - hot-top tables, launders and header boxes; and Plus - pins and spouts, sprue bushes and filter boxes. Also exhibited were the new O'-Sialon bonded silicon carbide sheaths for the most demanding chemical attack applications.

Vesuvius showcased its new rotary degassing unit previously marketed by Becker & Piscantor, a crucible manufacturer the firm acquired late last year. The new unit is reported to offer faster attachment while offering improvements in efficiency and reliability. The firm also exhibited the Vapex clay-bonded stopper rod for iron and steel foundries.

MOLD/CORE CONSUMABLES

The focus of the Ashland Specialty Chemicals exhibit was on the Isomax binder system that was introduced at CastExpo in March. Dubbed by the firm as the most innovative coldbox development since the process' introduction 31 years ago, the amine-cured binder system's main feature is its bench life (up to 24 hr) that eliminates binder set-up in the hopper. The binder system was demonstrated at the Loramendi exhibit on its new SLCK core machine with sand that had been mixed at 5:30 a.m. and blown into cores at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. According to the firm, the product, which is offering shell-like core strengths, 90% reduction in amine odor and lower VOCs, is being trialed at primary targets throughout Europe and at four primary targets in the U.S. In addition to the system's shelf-life advantages, a found benefit during trials has been ease of maintenance and equipment clean-up when the product has exceeded its useful life. The firm also introduced its Ecocast product line, a phenol- and formaldehyde-free exothermic riser sleeve for iron and steel castings.

In addition to sharing its nobake (Sigmaset, Alphaset) and coldbox (Sigmacure and Betaset) binder products, Borden Chemical showcased its expansive product line in lost foam coatings as the European market prepares for even greater application of the process. Specifically addressed were its Styro Kote and Poly-Shield coating lines, which are used for a variety of specific casting types (thin-sections, cylinder heads, etc.) and permeability and insulation requirements - for both ferrous and nonferrous metals.

The Huttenes-Albertus (Delta-HA in the U.S.) exhibit was the first since the firm merged with Delta Resins last year. Key among the products highlighted at the expansive exhibit was the Technikure family of resins, based on HA's "Biodiesel" technology that improves productivity and reduces resin requirements while also lowering VOCs. On display was the core package produced by Navistar for a V8, 7.3 liter engine block.

In addition to displaying its Flow-Rite filters for iron (XT) and steel (STL) applications, as well as its inoculant-filter application and its new line of ceramic foam filters, Hamilton Technical Ceramics showcased its FlowRite Al foundry filter. According to the firm, the product's dense network of round cells provides an engineered balance of flow rate, dimensional stability, filtration efficiency, strength and cost, and priming problems are virtually nonexistent. Because the filter is of a low-density design, aluminum casters can now remelt their gating systems with greater confidence, as the filter's buoyancy allows easy slag off.

Foseco also showcased its SIVEX-FC ceramic foam for the easy remelting of aluminum gates. These products remelt without melt contamination, are machinable and are easily primed. Also on exhibit was the Feedex HD line of exothermic, high-strength sleeves for ductile iron and steel applications. Combined with a special breaker core design, these products effectively feed casting sections while dramatically easing riser removal due to the reduced feeder contact area.

In addition to announcing the international companies and partnerships under the Volclay name (in eight nations), Volclay International Corp. distributed information on the new MaxiBond product under launch in the U.K., a calcium-bentonite clay with fast bond development that provides high green strength properties with minimal mulling.

CORE MACHINES

Among the many products at the Laempe (Laempe + Reich in the U.S.) exhibit was the LFB series core machines for a high-production, 24-hr continuously operated foundry. Designed for cold and hot hardening processes, the machine has shoot volumes from 10-150 liters, has single or multiple shooting heads, accepts vertical and horizontal tooling up to six parts and features an automatic tool changer. On the market for less than a year, there are currently 25 units in production, including Mazda, Montupet and Waupaca Foundry and Robinson Foundry in the U.S.

In addition to the 3-year-old LL machine for traditional jobbing foundries and LT rotary station unit, the firm also displayed capabilities in core processing cells that can perform all handling duties out of the machine. According to the firm, robotic use has increased substantially with foundries such as Waupaca, Bruhl, Peugot, Mazda and JIK (Isuzu) all putting in robotic cells. In addition to its new vacuum-degassing unit that lowers the out-of-the-box cure time for higher productivity at less of an environmental impact, the firm also displayed its new patented coating tanks and engineering services.

On display at the Hottinger exhibit was a CB-22-HA2S machine, which, along with the CB-32-HVA2S (horizontal and vertical) and the CB-32-HAD2S, comprises 9 cells at the new Ford Cleveland Casting plant. Designed for horizontally parted coldbox cores, the HA series machines offer the use of several sand magazines at once for economic production of different cores. In addition to the coremaking machines at Ford Cleveland, the cells include 20-some robots that work in tandem with one another, and the fully automated system features only operators for controlling the process, with zero manual labor.

In another exhibit, Hottinger Systems (a new company under the Hottinger group) showcased several new products. One was the CoreVision image processing system that automates core and core package quality control and eliminates human error in monitoring production. Developed over the last two years, the system consists of direct lighting from multiple locations, a camera that takes an image of the core package and the acquisition of data over a series of images. In demonstration, a piece of thread was placed on the core to simulate a crack-defect, and within 8 sec, the system alarms the operator with the area in question highlighted on the computer screen. Mainly used for thin-wall cores like water jackets, the product was introduced last year with installations in Germany and at Ford Cleveland. The firm also introduced its R&D CoreLock System (which eliminates the additional core-shoot) in which plastic locks are placed in the cores and are then compressed together. Also showcased were the firm's new simulation services for turnkey coreroom engineering and its new coreroom controller.

In addition to demonstrations of the SLC series core blowers and information on the new Key-Core line installation at Eisenwerk Bruhl and core production cells at several brake disk foundries, Loramendi's exhibit featured its new LAV 3-D artificial vision system. The system detects defects in three-dimensions and allows precise comparative analysis with tolerances of up to 0.1 mm in a processing time of 8 sec. The exhibit also illustrated the firm's service capabilities in process modeling and 3-D visualization.

Georg Fischer Disa launched the GFD Core 3000, a new version of the GRD horizontal core shooter, which uses the Pisa X-Trude process. The unit is more flexible than its predecessor, taking larger boxes and extrude heads.

MOLD MACHINES

Georg Fischer Disa launched its newest vertical parting green sand molding line, the GFD Disa 230, which produced its first mold in February. Key advantages of the machine are increased precision and improved filling of the mold chamber, allowing a larger range of parts produced by the process. The machine is capable of producing up to 460 noncored molds/hr. It was demonstrated with a full robotic solution for core feeding and casting extraction. In addition, the firm introduced the GFD ComPac 532 T for horizontal molding lines. The dyna-mechanical process (combining dynamic impulse and mechanical squeezing) consists of a valve for pre-compaction and a plastic pad for mechanical squeezing that adapts to the contour of the pattern. Advantages of the 120 mold/hr machine include uniform mold stability, higher edge compaction and maintenance-free compaction tools.

Exhibited and dry-cycled for the first time ever was Loramendi's Loramatic VMM 5070 (with automatic coresetter), which marked the firm's introduction into vertical flaskless molding. Among the key features of the machine is the double-sided squeeze, which is adjustable to obtain optimum and uniform mold compaction for near net shape castings. The machine also has been designed for easy access and maintenance, and two additional supports for the front pattern plate guiding have been included to strengthen the mechanism, lengthening the life of the guides and bushings. The machine runs on existing vertical pattern plates and is reported to be capable of producing 400 uncored molds/hr. The machine is slated for installation in a Spanish foundry this summer. In addition, the firm displayed its new Air Shock and Press Horizontal Molding Machine.

While Heinrich Wagner Sinto dry-cycled nearly it entire range of molding machines (including a fully assembled HSP molding plant), the Seiatsu Air-Flow Squeezing Machine being installed at Wescast's new iron manifold foundry in Wingham, Ontario, was also on display. Capable of producing 240 mold/hr, the machine is based on the airflow molding technique (in use at 300-plus foundries worldwide) that is comprised of two steps: sand precompaction by compressed air and subsequent compaction by hydraulic squeezing. Other newer products displayed were the ALS 2010 NT Server-based production monitoring system and the introduction of the FBO III machines to much of the European audience.

The highlight of the exhibit was the firm's new sand mold injection pouring for the low-pressure green sand production of aluminum and iron. More than 2000 visitors were taken to a pilot facility in nearby Duisburg to see the low-pressure casting of gray iron camshafts in green sand molds (lab success reached in May). Following laboratory success for aluminum in 1996, a test plant was sold and a production order is expected shortly. For more information, see "Technology in Progress," p. 72-73.

The HFM exhibit showcased the 9-year-old firm's flaskless molding system. The firm's molding process is based on a high-vacuum technique that enables the production of molds with sharp, complicated contours and deep impressions (such as brake drums and ribbed motor housings without cores). Updates to the system include new linear transducers, faster maintenance and pattern changeover improvements, and more choices in equipment controls.

Foundry Automation showcased its Adiabatic impact molding machine, which features an automatic pattern change that occurs within the machine's cycle time. Two machines were installed at GM's Toluca plant this summer for the casting of gray iron engine blocks at a rate of 120 molds/hr. The firm also is building two 100-liter coldbox machines for the plant.

KunkelWagner's display featured its new EPM automatic molding machine, which brings its molding technology to smaller and medium-sized foundries. Available in 5 standard types, the machine (which does not require pit construction) provides foundries with the ability to produce up to 78 molds/hr. In addition to two recent installations in Minnesota, the firm has installed four other machines since its development two years ago. Information also was available on its new D-HPM machines capable of 225 mold/hr, which are currently under construction for installation at a large U.S. automotive casting facility, which will mark the third installation in the world. The firm's molding machines can be equipped with an Airpressplus system for precompaction through airflow squeezing and compaction by hydromechanical squeezing.

SAND PREPARATION/TESTING

On display at the Eirich exhibit was the 150-ton/hr Evactherm RV32 vacuum mixer that is being installed at Wescast's new Wingham, Ontario, plant. In addition to 16 installations overseas, Wescast and Frazier & Frazier mark the first North American installations of the unit. The product provides simultaneous green sand preparation and cooling in a standard, simultaneous cycle time, at 25% less cfm and zero water effluent. In addition, the firm also displayed its R series, water-metered mixing system for smaller foundry operations.

In addition to dry-cycling its large-sized automatic mold closer, IMF demonstrated its new 40 metric ton/hr nobake sand mixer designed to optimize mold fill efficiency for maximum compaction properties. The unit is easily lowered/raised for transporting nobake sand large molds. The third in construction, it will be installed at Schmolz and Bickenbach in Krefeld, Germany.

Georg Fischer Disa unveiled its Minilab IPVF-C multipurpose sand testing unit, which was introduced for commercial use earlier this year after experience in the firm's Mettmann foundry. With the preparation of a cylindrical standard test specimen, the unit determines compactibility, green compressive strength, splitting strength, twin transverse shear strength and transverse strength.

In addition to displaying a core sand mixer, a new mutter design and Simpson/Gerosa sand test equipment, Simpson Technologies unveiled a new hand-held, battery-powered mold hardness tester. The device's easily exchangeable heads allow rapid measurements of AFS B and C scales, penetration mold hardness and scratch tests. An alphanumeric display provides information on the name of the operator, the name of the mold or pattern being tested, and the date and time of each test and of the last calibration. Point-to-point, average, scan and transfer modes all are possible with the new unit.

PERMANENT MOLDING

In addition to releasing a new, larger-sized four-cavity piston casting machine and the gravity-pour bench machine used by Ford Essex, Nemak and Teksid, Fata Aluminum displayed working models that demonstrate the firm's capabilities in automating coresetting, pouring, and cleaning/finishing into one integrated system.

Among the models was the FBP/2 newly patented low-pressure casting machine with two mold carrier stations. Following the initial casting in the first station, a rotary-powered device moves the mold into the second station (where coresetting or casting unloading occurs) and simultaneously transfers the second mold into the casting station. Further cycle time improvements can be realized through using a single robot with an automatic gripper change.

In addition to highlighting its low-pressure permanent mold casting machines, Kurtz showcased its year-old control unit that can be retrofitted with any existing low-pressure permanent mold casting machine. Using a time-controlled pressure increase, filling levels can be compensated in several options to guarantee a constant starting height of metal in the riser tube for efficient, reproducible production.

HWS Mecana SA also shared information on its new gravity rotating system for cylinder head production, which utilizes a die-holding cradle and retrieval system.

SAND RECLAMATION

Vulcan/Richards Engineering shared information on its thermal sand reclamation unit, which offers a unique combustor "active fluid bed" design to eliminate expansion problems inherent to thermal reclamation. The firm recently shipped a 12 ton/hr thermal reclamation unit to Nemak, which is reported to be the largest thermal sand reclaimer ever constructed.

In addition to demonstrating its capabilities in lost foam systems and foundry engineering, a focus of the Gemco exhibit was on its new Sand Cleaner. The unit is a cold mechanical reclaimer that removes the residual bentonite on the grains via a grinding stone (similar to that found in cleaning/finishing rooms). On exhibit were examples of coldbox cores produced with the reclaimed sand at the Netherland's De Globe Foundries. According to De Globe and other German installations (DaimlerChrysler, Fritz Winter and Eisenwerke Bruhl), 85% of the sand can be returned to the coreroom, with the balance needed only due to system losses.

IMF also shared information on its gas-fired thermal reclamation system, which is based on direct combustion through fluid beds and gas. According to the firm, three gas-based plants are operating in Spain, along with a 3-ton/hr, around-the-clock installation in a French Foundry.

Consolidated Engineering Co. (CEC) introduced DFB (Deep Fluidized Bed) technology for the smaller aluminum casting operation. The DFB continues to offer the same three-in-one (sand removal, reclamation and heat treating) processing for high-volume operations, but does it in a batch method, and also offers improvements for decoring effectiveness. The premise is that the airflow in the bed of foundry sand provides enough lift to hold sand in suspension, causing a constantly circulating, highly efficient heat transfer. The line offers flexibility for operations with different processing times and temperatures across part ranges.

Sogemi displayed its Simplex thermal sand regeneration plant with fluidized bed. The firm has 12 installations worldwide, including a 5-ton/hr installation at Ferrari. A unit is slated for introduction into the U.S. later this year.

Procedyne exhibited its technology for heat treating, sand core debonding and sand reclamation, which has been installed at Teksid's Monclova, Mexico, operation. Patented in 1995, the system employs fluidized bed technology to remove sand cores from aluminum castings such as intake manifolds, cylinder heads and engine blocks while also performing reclamation and heat treating functions.

CLEANING/FINISHING

In addition to unveiling two new series of hanger-type blastcleaning machines, Georg Fischer Disa demonstrated its latest GFD Disamat, which has been installed at five foundries since its development last year. Its enhancements include the ability to handle castings from 5-100 kg, full access to grinding/cutting the casting on five surfaces, more stability and a cycle time reduction. A module also makes it possible to develop a tailormade program for each type of casting.

With a number of newly acquired firms exhibiting for the first time under the USF Surface Preparation Group banner, the firm demonstrated the Trowal-THM series continuous belt machine that is offered as a result of the recent acquisition of Walther Trowal. Used for deburring, descaling, cleaning, roughening, matt/satin finishing and shotpeening, the continuous machine features a unique transport system utilizing a horizontal troughed belt that constantly rotates the parts as they proceed through the continuous machine design. Because the troughed belt is always in the horizontal position, uncontrolled rolling of the parts is prevented, allowing the most complex and delicate castings to be easily processed.

Vulcan Engineering Co. showcased its integrated robotic vision system. In use, the system offers random position pickup from a belt, riser cutoff, debur/deflash, trim press load and unload, as well as coresetting into a mold on the same pass. Installed at a large U.S. automotive foundry earlier this year, the system is used for part recognition, measurement and analysis and part acceptance/rejection.

ABB Flexible Automation demonstrated its new robotic unit (I-R) that introduced waterjet cutting and six-axis robotic control to allow abrasive waterjets to be used in three dimensions. Used for cutting of contours, deburring, degating, grinding and removal of sand cores, the unit is currently in use at A-CMI. ABB Flexible Automation also unveiled a new foundry-adapted robot, the IRB 6400, which is designed to withstand the harsh foundry environment. The unit is designed with superior tightness and strength harnessing in mind. In addition, the firm also introduced its Deflashware software program, which simplifies programming and controls. Integrated with turntable setups near cells, officials say that the ease of programming and technology advances allow robotic cleaning/finishing to now be applied to more conventional sized jobbing foundries, allowing one operator to handle several machines.

Serf (represented by The Mouat Co. in the U.S.), showcased its capabilities in automated system approaches for both aluminum and iron applications. Among the 120 installations worldwide is CMI-Wabash, which has seen improvements from 2/hr to 280/hr with the system, which can be used to perform milling, drilling, sawing and all testing in conjunction with the trim press technology.

First-time exhibitor Magaldi introduced its Superbelt steel conveyer belt, which has been installed at five plants, including a large Scandanavian automotive foundry. The high-tensile steel mesh is fitted with steel pans 6-8 mm thick that partially overlap each other, with both elements joined together by rivets. According to the firm, the design eliminates the maintenance issues surrounding traditional rubber or apron conveyers, and a 10-year working life is average with the steel belt conveyer.

HWS Mecana showcased its layout and engineering for engine block finishing systems, similar to what it designed for Eisenwerke Bruhl and VAW. New for the firm is its offering of fully integrated systems for engine block cleaning and finishing, which the firm provides from the molding line through all cleaning and finishing functions, just prior to machining.

Reis Robotics exhibited its new RV40 model with head axes specifically designed for utilization in foundries. All bearings and moving parts are specially sealed and enclosed to withstand extreme environmental conditions. With a design based on the company's successful RV-Series, the increased path speed and expanded work envelope are particularly suited for the precision demands of spraying, checking, machining, cutting, gluing, coating and complex handling tasks.

RAPID PROTOTYPING

Zimmerman CNC introduced its prototype CNC layer milling center (LMC). The LMC makes it possible to produce highly complex patterns with very deep pockets due to cutting in layers and the automatic building up of the work piece by gluing each layer. The fully automatic process is reported to produce functional models and molds with series-level quality.

SpeedForm exhibited its SpeedVac 960 vacuum differential pressure casting method for rapid prototypes. The process technology is based on the precision casting (wax melting) process and incorporates modules for wax part production, preparation/production of mold blocks, and melting and casting of metals. To date, the firm has reported success with aluminum, zinc, magnesium and copper alloys, with additional alloys under trial.

SOFTWARE

Vulcan displayed its automation systems and technology capabilities in developing fully integrated computer systems to move information from existing PLCs to the middle manager's desktop. Software can be tailored to fit foundries' process control and recordkeeping requirements. Since offering the systems (known as VAST) as add-ons last year, two full systems have been installed at two investment casters for process control and monitoring of raw material and castings.

CT-Castech's CastDesign system suggests the best location and size of risers and riser necks eliminating the need to calculate the geometrical module of the casting. It frees designers from the basic work of riser dimensioning to concentrate on optimizing the rigging.

Magma featured its new MagmaIron add-on cast iron module, which predicts casting structures and properties as a function of melting and treating practice, composition and solidification path, simulating the water front movement within the mold.

GussMan, foundry management software from Weitzman, will manage order processing, stock control, materials and production, and capacity and quality control. The software can be fully customized, shows high flexibility in allowing very individualized program designs and is available in any language required.

UES Software displayed upgraded versions of its Unix and Windows NT simulation software with three new modules. The first is 3-D mesh generation with one-step mesh from a .STL file. The second is an add-on that calculates thermally induced stresses and the third is a heat flow module that provides transient, non-linear heat conduction in 3-D and enthalpy formulation for phase change.

GlobeTech featured its ATAS thermal analysis system (32 installations), which is unique in that it uses an expert system (inductive learning) to interpret, explain and ensure that the foundry is conforming to the best practices as a result of system storage. The heart of the system is the alloy database and the ability to use thermal dynamic properties for control. Foundries also can list the remedies that should be taken. In addition, the firm launched its PQ-CGI process for compacted graphite iron (CGI), which BMW has used as a one-step method in producing a CGI block. The firm also showcased its IronCAD modeling program, which features a drag and drop 3D environment and a visual approach that allows the user to create and modify designs and enables all collaborators to share in a concurrent design process.

QUALITY ANALYSIS

Yxlon International featured its MU231 X-ray inspection system for light metal wheels with fully automated image processing. The system provides full inspection of a light-metal wheel in only 30 sec (16 views). Also on display was the MU2000 radioscopic X-ray inspection system operating via artificial intelligence to recognize flaws through comparison with a test sample.

Arun Technology showcased its Metalscan 2000 desktop metals analysis system. Designed specifically for quality control applications in foundries, the system features the company's CCD-based technology, and is reported to be compact, easy to use and powerful.

DIECASTING

Fondarex, a leader in vacuum diecasting technology, featured its MAXIP valve with a mechanical closing time of only 0.001 sec, gas and air evacuation during the complete cavity-filling process, blow out function for evacuation and initial piston and 50% more evacuation capacity than valves of the same size.

Buhler's extended model range of Classic, Evolution and Vision series machines is homogeneous, complete and optimally graduated for the full spectrum of diecasting applications. The same concept of control systems and operating philosophy are applied irrespective of machine size to offer maximum flexibility and uniformity in preventive and corrective maintenance and in training of personnel.

Two new machines were introduced by Techmire. The 24NTX is especially suitable for casting of very small components at high speeds to tight tolerances. It features a new heavy-duty clamping system that allows high metal pressures and injection velocities resulting in superior surface finish and part density. The 44NTX is available with closed-loop real-time control of the injection cycle, helping to make this machine ideal for the casting of components that require a high surface finish.

Astrolube was one of two lubricants featured by Chem-Trend. Astrolube uses dry powdered particles that are electrostatically attracted to and deposited evenly over the die surface for exceptional release and outstanding part finish. It provides extended die life, lower maintenance and is environmentally friendly. Safety-Lube provides high dilution, anti-solder protection, low in-cavity build up, excellent part quality and finish and extended die life.

Prince Machine's Full Sleeve technology makes it possible to produce squeeze castings using conventional horizontal die casting machines. This technology ensures a 100% full shot sleeve, eliminating all air in the sleeve. Together with the Pro-Filer real time closed-loop shot control system, this process allows the metal to be gently injected into the die cavity.

U.S. Pavilion Draws Traffic for U.S. Exhibitors

The U.S. Pavilion, cosponsored by AFS and Messe Dusseldorf North America, provided a forum for individual U.S. firms to band together under a collective exhibit. Complete with a visitor's lounge and translator services, the Pavilion (which was anchored by the AFS booth) also served as a gathering point for U.S. attendees as well as a location for several scheduled meetings throughout the week. The Pavilion also served as the main distribution channel for modern casting's special tabloid-sized "Guide to GIFA Exhibits & Technology Showcase" (above) as well as the May issue. Listed below are the firms who participated in the U.S. Pavilion:

A&S Mimet Trading, Inc. Admetco, Inc. American Foundrymen's Society/modern casting Brunswick Industrial, Inc. Carbo Ceramics The Centrifugal Casting Machine Co. CISA Export Trade Group CMI Novacast, Inc. CPC Didion International, Inc. Fargowear, Inc. Flow Science, Inc. Foundry Management & Technology Hormel Foods Hunter Automated Machinery Corp. The Industrial Machinery Assn. JES Chemical Corp. Loma Machine Manufacturing Corp. Pangborn Corp. Rex Roto Corp. Thermtronix Corp. THT Presses, Inc. Top Cat Airtools Tymac Controls Corp. Visi-Trak Corp.
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Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Petersen, Rolf J.
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Aug 1, 1999
Words:6202
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