The car you drive today is more responsive and dependable than the vehicle you drove in the not too distant past, largely because it is equipped with more advanced computer controls to regulate engine performance under a wide range of driving conditions. Even most home appliances today come equipped with surprisingly sophisticated computers to ensure efficient operation. So it should come as no surprise that advanced computer control systems are now playing an important role for induction furnace melt shops.
Melt shop computers are being used to help the furnace operator manage furnace charging, run the melting system, limit power demand, keep maintenance and production records, and communicate with other foundry computer and data systems. They are making a major contribution to improved productivity and reduced operating costs.
Melt shop computer systems are being used in foundries of all sizes and include freestanding units located in the control room as well as computers built into individual induction power supplies. Among the newest and most advanced built-in computer systems is the Melt-Manager® Plus™ manufactured by Inductotherm and available in its VIP® induction power supplies. This computer helps the furnace operator run the melting process for both single- and dual-output induction power supplies. Using charge weight information from furnace load cells, the on-board computer calculates the kilowatt hours needed to reach the desired metal pouring temperature, reducing the likelihood of wasteful, unwanted, and possibly dangerous overheating of the metal in the furnace.
With its familiar and easy-to-use Windows® software and touch-sensitive flat panel, full-color video screen for both graphic display and control input, this melt shop computer also collects key operational data in real time and maintains all system logs, alarm histories, diagnostic information and other operational data. This data can be exported in a standard format for use by external devices via the computer’s standard Ethernet link.
The computer also can be used to schedule and launch a preheating cycle to prepare the furnace for the resumption of melting operations after an idle period. When used to control the crucial sintering process of the refractories, the computer helps to ensure that the proper sintering schedule follows the refractory manufacturer’s detailed instructions.
Offering both local and remote placement options, the Melt-Manager® Plus™ is available in a variety of languages and even stores and displays its own user manual, as well as documentation for other components of the melt system.
Charles Fink is vice president - Sales, North America, for Inductotherm Corp.