Climate-friendly melt shop conversion from cupolas to induction furnaces.
The conversion of melting operations from thermally fired cupolas to CO2 neutral medium-frequency induction furnaces is a major trend of the foundry industry. One of the technology leaders in this field, ABP Induction offers the IFM series of high-performance induction melting furnaces with a state-of-the-art process control for demanding foundries worldwide. ZML Industries S.p.a. of Italy has now made use of ABP Induction’s technology and equipment.
ZML Industries have been part of Gruppo Cividale since 2006 and is considered a leader in the field of aluminium die-casting, grey cast iron or ductile cast iron, as well as in the production of coated wire. The company is a sought-after partner on the European market for the most prestigious brands in the household electrical appliance, automotive and mechanical engineering industries.
Depicted on the front cover is an ABP medium frequency induction melting system, type FS 20, 1 000 kW/250 Hz, for melting cast iron and steel alloys
The tradition steeped foundry was faced with the decision to fundamentally modernise its own facilities. Previously, the site in Maniago, Italy, had relied on cupola furnaces, but now it needed to switch to more flexible and environmentally friendly induction furnaces. Unlike cupolas, induction furnaces generate fewer emissions, slags and waste. With the introduction of induction furnace melting it was estimated that the overall CO2 direct emissions of the cast iron division will be reduced by 95%. What’s more, users are more flexible in day-to-day production, including fluctuations in production and regular switching between varying grey and ductile iron grades. The respective compositions of the casting alloys can be adjusted precisely. The energy is induced directly into the melting material without any chemical reaction. ABP Induction’s IFM crucible induction furnaces are known in industry for their repeatably fast melting times, high reliability, operational safety and serviceability. The capacity of IFM furnaces ranges from eight to 65 tons with available power supplies between one and 42 megawatts (MW). They can be employed for ferrous and non-ferrous alloys.
ZML selected 2 IFM 9 (23.2 ton) / 12MW Twin-Power and 2 IFM 6 (9.9 ton) / 6.1MW Twin-Power furnace system, for production of grey iron and ductile iron components. The final commissioning of the overall melt shop is slated for September 2022. The first deliveries will take place in December 2021, and production with the IFM 9 tandem is scheduled to commence in March 2022. Demolition of the cupola furnace plant at the site will take place afterwards. Delivery of the IFM 6 tandem is then scheduled for June 2022 at the current cupola installation site. The ABP furnaces will be the core of the transformed highly-automated melt shop from scrap charging to iron preparation and transportation.
An ABP medium frequency induction melting system consisting of two IFM 9 vessels, from ABP’s line of medium-frequency coreless furnaces for melting and holding ferrous or non-ferrous metals similar to these will be installed at ZML Industries, Italy
ABP was able to convince ZML to make the change because of its expertise in the field of induction furnace technology and its experience in the conversion from cupola furnaces to induction furnaces. This was topped off with compelling references from manufacturers that have achieved exceptional performance and production results since installing ABP induction furnaces and the ABP Twin-Power converter system. ZML employees, who already had had previous experience with the ABP IFM furnaces, particularly appreciated the quality and the operational performance of the equipment. Finally, the comprehensive ABP service package, which is the responsibility of Carutti Srl in Italy, was convincing for a successful start of a long lasting business partnership.
Efficiency of operating the ABP induction furnaces type IFM is based on different modules. Thanks to the Twin-Power principle, the converter power can be freely distributed to both furnaces. As such, increased inverter utilisation, lower maintenance costs and lower investment costs compared to separate power supplies can be achieved. In addition, the melt processor Prodapt Enterprise, and the ABP customer portal MyABP provide intelligent solutions for the progressing digitalisation and networking of processes at ZML. The melt processor Prodapt Enterprise is responsible for the demand-oriented control of the energy supply for melting, holding, cold start-up and sintering between the two furnaces. Operating data and other manufacturing information are recorded and displayed in the MyABP portal and processed for targeted data exchange with the plant management system.
Additionally, two ABP medium frequency induction melting systems consisting of two IFM 6 vessels will also be installed at ZML Industries, Italy
The technical furnace parameters, captured via the digital inverter control, are converted into recommended actions for energy-efficient charging via the patented OptiCharge system. When starting up a batch with a partial charge of ferromagnetic melting material, small portions of this material are automatically refilled. This results in measurable energy savings and production increases in daily production operations compared to uncontrolled charging. Studies show that induction furnaces produce less than half the scope 1 and scope 2 CO2 emissions for melting one ton of cast iron compared to cupolas. Thanks to the ABP equipment, not only will ZML Industries will reap the benefits of this technology in the future, but so too will the environment.
ABP Induction technical paper:
Cooling Industry 4.0: Cooling systems in the digital age
by Benjamin Kramm, Jürgen Schmidt, Robin Czarnetzki, Moritz Spichartz, Marco Rische, all of ABP Induction Systems. A full copy of the paper is available from ABP Induction Systems
The fact that no process can ever have perfect efficiency is a generally accepted principle. The performance of a process that cannot be put to technical use is lost for the user, either in the sense of wear or waste heat. In low-power density processes, heat generated can still be removed by means of convection, heat conduction or forced air cooling, but a vast number of today’s modern processes rely on liquid cooling. The rapid development in all technical fields does not stop at these cooling systems. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the current state of cooling systems in the age of Industry 4.0.
Cooling actually means heat transport. Heat is taken from a place where it is not needed and transferred to a place where it is desired. Within the circle, the initial location is called the source, and the second is called the sink. Together with the heat transport, both form the cooling circuit (see Figure 1).
Fig 1 Cooling circuit principle
But how and where does the famed Industry 4.0 play a role now? According to the Industry 4.0 platform, an initiative sponsored by the German government, “this refers to the intelligent networking of machines and processes in industry, using information and communication technology” . We are thus examining the possibility of obtaining information from a cooling system or influencing it on the basis of information (Figure 2).
Fig 2 Circuit extended
Outlook and conclusion
Digital information processing and networking is progressing at an unstoppable and breath taking pace. These days, young graduates from vocational schools and universities have grown up with mobile devices, and the technical innovations in their professions are regarded as a matter of course. It can therefore be assumed that this will become more and more widespread at all levels of systems engineering; in the medium term, Industry 4.0 will also be a commonplace feature in cooling systems. The greatest challenge here will arguably be to consolidate the numerous proprietary solutions of the manufacturers into a meaningful whole and to derive a benefit from them. Systems for central data collection, management and use, such as myABP, will play an important role here.
Systems that relieve users of everyday tasks and notify them of problems will probably offer the greatest added value. For example, these systems could automatically suggest appointments for necessary work, request necessary materials or replenish consumables.
Fig 3 Control fittings of the induction furnace
ABP Induction Systems GmbH, headquartered in Dortmund, Germany develops and manufactures induction melting furnaces and induction heating equipment for the foundry, steel and forging industries including suitable automation solutions. These induction systems are used for melting, holding, pouring and heating metals and are used in the manufacture of components for the automotive industry, mechanical engineering, energy industry (particularly wind power) or the construction industry (e.g. pipes, valves or pumps).
In the field of high-performance induction systems, ABP Induction sees itself as a technology leader. In Germany, the company is also the market leader and the world’s second largest manufacturer. The equipment is manufactured in Dortmund, in Vadodara in India and in Shanghai, China. 65% of the equipment made in Dortmund is exported. Worldwide sales and service are handled by a total of eleven branches of ABP in all major markets.