“Time to market” has long become a major a competitive factor. With the promise of accelerating the pace of innovation and optimising foundry processes, Hüttenes-Albertus (HA) opened its unique HA Center of Competence at the end of 2017.
Many internal and external customers have already made use of the facility in Baddeckenstedt, Germany, located at approximately 50kms from Hannover. Looking ahead to GIFA 2019 HA will show that a comprehensive range of advanced chemical casting products is just one part of the success story. Functioning as an extended arm of the foundry industry, the company’s Center of Competence (CoC) and a sophisticated service concept shorten the path from prototype to series production. The CoC’s wide range of services cover literally everything that a foundry would have great difficulty implementing during series production.
The CoC is equipped with pilot and industrial equipment that reproduce almost all of the process steps within a foundry including mould making, core shooting, casting and more. New ideas and solutions for all mould and core production processes can be tested in practice without having to interrupt the customer’s processes. Early cooperation on product and process development between HA, foundries and machine and tool manufacturers can significantly reduce the timeline from prototype to series production. In close partnership, the various aspects of solution development can be implemented simultaneously in the CoC, rather than in sequence as is usually the case.
Extended metallurgical capabilities
In recent weeks, the CoC’s metallurgical capabilities have been significantly expanded. HA is now able to analyse samples taken from melts from cast materials based on all common ferrous and non-ferrous alloys. This is now possible, in part, thanks to the acquisition of a state-of-the-art spectrometer. In addition, a portable Celox Foundry measuring instrument from Heraeus is now available to check the active oxygen content in cast iron, steel and copper melts. A new measuring station for the thermal analysis of cast iron alloys will also be commissioned shortly. A Melt Tester from MK has also been installed in the CoC, which enables cast materials based on non-ferrous alloys to be tested. Thanks to this new tester, thermal analyses and dross tests of Al-based melts are now possible, as is the determination of density indexes.
As a result, experienced HA engineers now have access to a full spectrum of technical possibilities to support their consulting and development work in the field of metallurgy. Special services for customers include, for example, the holistic analysis of casting defects and support in identifying solutions.
3D printing services
Another major advance has seen the installation of a 3D printer from ExOne at the beginning of 2019, which was specially configured for HA and now also enables rapid prototyping for customers. With the new S-Max Plus system, almost all 3D printing processes can be imaged with sand. This enables the rapid production of additive castings with different binder systems (phenolic resin, inorganic resin and furan resin). The system is also suitable for printing very large and complex moulded parts. HA will not only be using the 3D printer for its own development projects, but also for joint projects with its partners and customers. In cooperation with ExOne, for example, new binders and additives for 3D printing will be developed.
Visit HA at GIFA in Hall 12, Stand C 50.