Furnace efficiency – maximise aluminium yield and cut casting costs

StrikoWestofen has developed a new guideline, which helps aluminium foundries to get specific cost drivers under control. The guide shows where problems can occur and which technical solutions are available to solve them.

Metal loss and excessive energy consumption are two of the biggest threats to aluminium die-casting profitability. Depending on aluminium grade, a metal loss of just 1% of an annual melting output of 5 000 tons could equate to an average financial loss of 70 000 EUR, while around 25% of the total cost of die-cast parts is associated with energy consumption.

Both are common issues that can be readily addressed by focussing on melting and dosing furnace processes and efficiency.

The new guideline developed by StrikoWestofen seeks to help aluminium die casters tackle these specific cost drivers by identifying where problems can occur and the technical solutions available to help remedy them.

Speaking about the series, Dr. Theodoor van der Hoeven, VP Product Development, StrikoWestofen, commented: “Any metal loss that occurs between melting and casting reduces the available yield, which in turn negatively impacts return on investment. Complete elimination of metal loss still is an impossibility, but what many aluminium die-casting foundries don’t realise is that with the right measures and optimal conditions, yield can much higher. Using our StrikoMelter furnace, for example, it can in fact be as high as 99.75%.”

“This is exactly why we wanted to produce a simple and informative guide which looks at each distinct process from furnace to casting, explains what might lead to metal loss at each stage, and presents measures die casters can implement to mitigate that risk.”

The metal yield guide spans melting, transfer and dosing, and examines how losses due to oxidation, spillage and contamination (impacting quality and therefore potential scrap rate) can all be minimised. The guide also includes advice on how aluminium die-casters can cut metal loss by reducing the overall number of processes involved.

Also featured in the resource series, ‘5 ways to save energy when melting and transferring metal’, the guide provides advice on reducing energy consumption.

“Aluminium die casting is an energy intensive process and given that the melt-shop alone can account for as much as 77% of the overall energy costs involved, identifying energy hot spots and having practical tips on improving energy efficiency in those areas can make a big difference to a foundry’s bottom line,” continued van der Hoeven.

The downloadable guide looks specifically at savings linked to data monitoring, optimising melting furnace shaft fill, melting periods during low utilisation, energy efficient metal transfer and dosing and at maintenance measures.

For further details contact Ceramic & Alloy Specialists on TEL: 011 894 3039 or visit www.ceramicalloy.co.za