Thirty-seven years after the first Disamatic system revolutionized metalcasting worldwide, these vertical molding machines still have not met their match. And, with the addition of the DISA Matchplate molding machine focusing specifically on the needs of jobbing foundries, the metalcasting industry may be witnessing the start of a new revolution.
As part of its portfolio of foundry equipment and solutions, DISA has developed a comprehensive range of powerful vertical flaskless molding machines combining high quality with high throughput. Experience gained together with customers all over the world in designing and deploying this technology has provided DISA with a unique, in-depth understanding of the needs of hundreds of individual customers in the global foundry industry.
New market, new needs — "But there were still many foundries whose needs we were not addressing well enough," admits sales director Jan Johansen. "The Disamatic has never been a ideal option for smaller foundries producing smaller runs with frequent pattern changes."
A market survey revealed that these foundries were a potentially very interesting segment for DISA. "We faced two challenges," Jan Johansen continues. "The first was to understand the special demands faced by jobbing foundries. The second was to develop a molding machine that would enable them to achieve higher quality with more flexibility, lower costs and higher profits."
High speed and high quality to match — The solution was a new flaskless molding machine based on matchplate technology, combining the superior engineering of the Disamatic, with vertical sand shot and squeeze, together with the horizontal molding techniques already familiar to smaller foundries.
"We applied Disamatic quality standards of rigid design and engineering craftsmanship with extremely small tolerances and exceptional precision to the DISA Matchplate in order to ensure excellent mold-to-mold consistency and a mismatch of maximum 0.15 mm," Jan Johansen explains.
The new DISA Matchplate, combining high-quality molding with high-speed throughput of 160 molds per hour (120 with core setting) was introduced in late 2000, with the first machine going on line at Benton Foundry in Pennsylvania.
"The 2024 inch chamber meant that we could transfer our existing pattern plates to the new machine without any alterations," recalls Benton president Fritz Hall. "In the first months of operation, the DISA Matchplate delivered a superior mold quality with harder, firmer, and more consistent molds than we can make on our other equipment. We are turning out higher quality castings with better parting lines and a finish that requires less grinding. Add to that a consistent throughput of 160 molds per hour and you have something you suddenly realize you can't do without."
Built for the future — The DISA Matchplate is designed to address the future needs of jobbing foundries in a market where customers will be demanding smaller, just-in-time deliveries of high-quality castings at competitive prices. Standard features on the DISA Matchplate include a PLC to optimize the molding cycle, an operator video display unit, quick pattern change, computer integrated manufacturing technology that enables preprogramming of pattern data to avoid errors and save time, chamber/mold blow-off, in-chamber spray, and much more.
Variable down sprue — A critical aspect of a new molding machine is its compatibility with other existing equipment and tooling, and production parameters such as sand quality. The DISA Matchplate meets all of these requirements and more. A variable down sprue, for example, enables it to adapt easily to existing tooling using existing gating systems. The down sprue is fixed to the wear plate in the cope chamber from below. This means that it does not penetrate the squeeze plate and can be moved freely to accommodate different pattern plates.
"We often use a pattern for as little as an hour at a time," Fritz Hall continues, "and the ability to freely change the down sprue location for the next pattern is a major advantage."
Flexibility is also a question of complete confidence in operation. "Maintenance on the DISA Matchplate is straightforward and our operators were quick to learn its operation and appreciate its user-friendliness," Fritz Hall relates. "And, they also appreciate a range of other big benefits such as easy core setting and quick pattern changes plus quietness and cleanliness. You can stand right next to a DISA Matchplate going at full speed and hold a perfectly normal conversation."
"I think DISA have really hit the mark with this machine," Hall states. "Simple conversion, high-quality molding, easy operation, superior castings quality, and consistent throughput at the speed they advertise – there's no-one else out there that can beat that."
Robert Leffler is the general sales manager for DISA Industries Inc. For more information, visit www.disagroup.com