Fiber-Reinforced Ladles Extend Service Life, Add Process Benefits

Jan. 21, 2011
High performance, low-maintenance, and long service, plus non-wetting and insulating characteristics

Ladles made from reinforced fiber-glass material — Pyrotek’s RFM® AutoPour ladles — have gained popularity with metalcasters as a result of their high level of performance, low-maintenance, and longer service life, as well as their non-wetting and insulating properties. These ladles are fabricated in a low-density refractory composite material and are designed especially for high-pressure diecasting, sand casting, squeeze casting, and gravity diecasting operations. Customer feedback indicates quality performance and longer service life compared with conventional steel or fiber-laminate ladles for melting and pouring operations:

• A foundry reported that prior to using RFM, service lives of two to six weeks were common with fiberlaminate ladles. The new replacement AutoPour ladles consistently achieve six months of service life and more than 150,000 shots. The foundry also reduced its total of oxide-induced scrap and improved casting repeatability from ladle to ladle.

• A diecaster had a goal to reduce the process temperature in its dip well, and lower the holding temperature of the melt by a minimum of 25°F from the previous level of 1,420°F. Pyrotek developers proposed incorporating a 30-kg RFM ladle. Installed in April 2008, this change to RFM is effectively reducing the metal holding temperature in line with the diecaster’s goals. The benefits include lower energy usage and reduced oxidation, and hence less metal losses.

Customers have found that the non-wetting surface of Pyrotek’s ladles effectively prevents skull buildup. Metal buildup in the ladle can cause a short shot that leads to insufficient biscuit length. Since the robot removes the casting from the die by gripping the biscuit, inconsistent biscuit length can prevent proper robotic removal. This situation results in disruptive machine downtime and the need for operator intervention. Metal buildup in the ladle is also a primary cause of non-fill defects that result in scrap parts in a casting operation. Skull buildup is avoided with the RFM ladles and the pouring volume remains the same, allowing a consistent biscuit length.

Since the introduction of the RFM AutoPour ladle, a range of metalcasting customers report they have recorded greater efficiency in robotic removal of castings.

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