NovaCast Systems AB, which supplies production process control packages for license by foundries, introduced a new sampling device it developed — a tellurium-free product called the PrEco (Precision Eco- logical) cup. According to the developer, PrEco provides a safer work environment for the operators at the same time that it derives and supplies the necessary information much faster.
In foundries' metallurgical processes, sampling cups are used to evaluate metallurgical conditions on an intermittent basis during the refining stage of specific ferrous alloys. According to NovaCast, a bonus feature of the PrEco cup is that the metal sample it holds can be used for spectrographic analysis as well, and it can be recycled straight back into the melt.
“This is an important proof point in showing our commitment to help the foundry industry reduce its environmental footprint,” stated NovaCast CEO Håkan Fransson. “This is only the beginning. NovaCast will continue to take action to reduce the use of harmful substances and scarce resources.”
The cup is used together with NovaCast’s ATAS MetStar adaptive tool for analyzing, stabilizing and optimizing metal production, and helping to improve casting yield and quality.
ATAS MetStar is part of the ATAS (Adaptive Thermal Analysis System) program that can be adapted to various production layouts and configured to show exactly those parameters that production personnel need in their work. It allows them to predict micro/macro shrinkage in castings, thereby increasing production yield, lowering energy consumption, and reducing their environmental footprint.
Tellurium is a harmful substance that has been used in measurement cups to be assist in the process of extracting chemical data from melt samples. When metal is poured into the cup, Tellurium vaporizes, contaminating the surrounding air where workers may inhale some of the harmful substance.
“In the long run this creates an unsafe work environment and with our PrEco cup we have proven that Tellurium is not necessary,” explained technical manager Per-Eric Persson, who has been responsible for the PrEco cup project development. “Samples made with cups containing Tellurium should not be recycled, since they may contaminate the melt, (and) it will create defects such as degenerated graphite and micro porosities.”
“As part of our long-term commitment to constantly find the most responsible way of doing business, we turned our attention to our cups,” Persson detailed. “We decided to look at it unconditionally, and came to the conclusion that since the cup is a consumable the best thing would be to have no cup at all, and that is how we arrived at our No Cup-vision. We are not there yet, but one day we will be.
“On our way to eliminate the cup completely, we have started eliminating the harmful substances from the cup,” he continued. “As Tellurium is the biggest culprit we just knew it had to go! The determination and momentum from that realization was fruitful and that is why we today are very proud to present our PrEco cup.