Recently, Vulcan Engineering Co. delivered a new Truflo 3H automatic mold handler to Gartland Foundry in Terre Haute, IN — a horizontal indexing line with 56 mold cars and three molds per car. Worldwide, more than 150 Vulcan Engineering automatic handling systems have been installed for flaskless molds since 1984. Most of these units were designed for gray iron castings, requiring less cooling time than does ductile iron or other metals.
In the current design of these systems, numerous issues must be considered and addressed, now more than ever. The most significant of these are:
• Increased molding machine speeds;
• The demand for pouring other metals and alloys;
• Increased in-mold cooling times, required to improve cas t ing machineability;
• Rising customer demands for casting quality;
• Pro de lower operating and maintenance cost equipment;
• Workplace cleanliness.
The fully automatic molding line at Terre Haute is designed to operate at Gartland Foundry’s desired molding rate, and it has been integrated with the new molding machine, the existing sand handling, and molten metal delivery systems. The cooling time required for the various metals poured was designed into the new mold-handling system, as were other features to improve casting quality and foundry cleanliness.
Hydraulic proportional valving or electronic drives control all mold movements, so the molds can be handled very gently to eliminate parting line shift and molten metal sloshing while attaining the desired speed of the system. The hydraulic valve blocks and hard piping to the mechanical devices are pre-piped by Vulcan, for ease of on-site installation and startup.
Vulcan’s simple, but rugged equipment design ensures high uptime at low operating cost. High-efficiency motors, sealed for life bearings and ease of maintenance contribute to making this equipment very efficient and productive for it’s owner.
Having the mold cars move on hardened rail (rather than at an inverted angle that may wear out after a few months) lowers operating cost and contributes to high uptime. Vulcan warrants the rail against excessive wear for two years, and the mold cars provided with hardened flanged wheels equipped with sealed-for-life bearings.
Because more foundries are focused on cleanliness than ever before, Vulcan’s mold cars are sized to retain a large part of the sand that crumbles as the mold cools. This sand is then cleaned from the cars as the mold is discharged onto the mold dump conveyor.
Also, with Vulcan’s patent-pending end-transfer devices, spill sand that accumulates at the end transfers is contained and swept to a single collection point during the normal operation of the molding line. This eliminates stopping the line or the end of shift cleaning common with most end-transfer units.
An optional mold weight and jacket cleaner unit was incorporated into the mold handler. During the normal molding cycle this unit wipes clean the inside walls of the jackets and scrubs the bottom of the weight to remove sand sticking in these areas. The cleaner can be run in “automatic” or switched off if cleaning is not desired.
All of these design elements are enhanced by a control panel equipped with a Human Machine Interface, and a controls package that make running this equipment simple and helpful for the operator. The HMI touch-screen provides the operator full visibility of the molding line and hydraulic system with system and component diagnostics for quick solution of any line stoppage.