Modernized Molding, Mold Handling is a 'Leap Forward' for MacLean

May 5, 2020
Sinto’s turnkey installation for high-throughput and low-maintenance sand-mold production delivers up to 150 molds/hour for aluminum casting.

MacLean Power Systems is a supplier of engineered metal parts for electric utility, communication, and civil infrastructure — and the operator of a new sand-molding line for aluminum castings in Alabaster, AL. The Sinto America system installation was completed earlier this year, part of a $5.3-million improvement program for the foundry there, to introduce advanced mold-making and -handling operations, with a focus on continuous improvement.

“Our vision for the modern foundry is to provide a state-of-the-art, clean, safe, and world-class sand-casting operation,” MPS group president Jim Tanner stated at the project launch in 2019. “There is a growing demand for aluminum castings to support grid hardening and power infrastructure repairs.”

“The opportunity to modernize our foundry with the latest in molding, pouring, mold-handling, and analytics has been very exciting,” according to Duane Pinkston, general manager. “While it has been challenging, we have found that leaping forward with industry-leading technology and equipment partners, such as Sinto, has made a world of difference, not only from a planning and installation standpoint, but from an operational perspective, as well.” 

Sinto America completed installing its FBO-IIIS molding machine, mold handling system and Sinto IIoT Analytics package in February. The machine has a 20×24×8/8-in. mold size, with patented aeration technology that enhances pattern filling and density.

Functions also include automatic core-setting and lubrication, “count-down visualization” for molding cycles, and complete monitoring with Sinto IIoT Analytics. The ability to visualize any operational malfunctions helps to reduce downtime and maintenance, promoting maximum productivity.

The molding machine is paired with a customized mold-handling system, for production at a rate of 150 molds/hour. Molding and pouring operations are elevated, and together with sand-containment and automatic sand collection features, this helps to simplify clean-up. Pouring sequences are coordinated with an automatic dosing capability, and mold tracking and early push-off options are available.

Mold handling also is monitored using the Sinto IIoT Analytics package.

“Top-notch equipment coupled with complete visibility through Sinto’s Smart Foundry Analytics has been a huge advancement,” Pinkston added, “and we are ready now to lead the metalcasting industry into the future.”

He continued: “We have found that these improvements greatly improve our casting finish, quality, on-time delivery and domestic manufacturing capabilities in order to better meet the ever-increasing needs of our customers in the utility and power markets.”