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SinterCast Expanding Control, Analysis for CGI Production

July 5, 2011
New Automated Base Treatment Control Revised Process Database Efficiency Benchmarking

SinterCast AB is introducing a series of technological updates to the third generation of its compacted graphite iron (CGI) process control technology, known as System 3000. This includes Automated Base Treatment Control, an extension of the feed-forward measure-and-correct process control that allows System 3000 to accomplish automated feedback control of the wire-feeding base treatment operation. The control logic is based on the automated input of chemistry, temperature, and weight for each ladle, plus the actual recovery measured from preceding ladles. The base treatment control capability is provided by a System 3000 package with two wire feeders that process accuracy and efficiency.

Another change involves the Process Database. The System 3000 is capable now of collecting process data from the melting, molding, pouring and shakeout operations, and from the chemistry and quality control laboratories. These data are compiled into a single database, together with the SinterCast process control results, to provide improved process control and production traceability.

With Efficiency Benchmarking, the System 3000 production results are compiled in monthly process efficiency summaries so foundry managers can compare their CGI production efficiency to SinterCast's best-in-class customer, for key production parameters. The benchmarking results provide a quantitative basis for implementing process changes and monitoring the continuous improvement of each foundry's CGI production process.

Following the System 3000 re-design of the thermocouple pair, and a two-year program of testing and recalibrating used thermocouple pairs, SinterCast has increased the preventive replacement limit from 200 cycles to 250 cycles. The increase improves thermocouple durability and cost efficiency by 25%, according to the developer

With the adoption of the SinterCast CGI microstructure image analysis routine by the international ISO 16112 standard for CGI, that capability is available now to SinterCast foundry customers as a separate software program for use in Image Pro Plus image analysis software. The results can be ported to any commercial spreadsheet or database software for process documentation, quality control and traceability.

Finally, SinterCast has added process control capability for ductile iron. The new technology incorporates the core SinterCast thermal analysis principles for CGI process control, including a Dewar-type stamped steel sampling device to provide uniform and consistent solidification conditions. A patented, ductile-iron sampling device consists of two spherical sampling chambers with different diameters to provide two different solidification rates. The thermal analysis measurement provides results for microstructure and shrinkage sensitivity that can be used for process control and/or quality control purposes. SinterCast aims to secure field trial commitments to begin during the autumn of 2011.

"We are excited to introduce the extended functionality of our core compacted graphite iron technology and to present our ductile iron thermal analysis development to the market,” stated SinterCast AB president and CEO Dr. Steve Dawson.