Compacted-graphite iron production process developer SINTERCAST A.B. launched a monitoring technology to track and record the progress of each ladle as it progresses through a foundry. The Ladle Tracker™ technology was tested and commissioned at the Tupy foundry in Saltillo, Mexico, the developers noted.
In the SinterCast Ladle Tracker process, a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag is affixed to each ladle and RFID reader antennae are installed at critical locations throughout the foundry, such as furnace tapping, treatment stations and pouring. The system documents the time of the ladle at every position; ensures that every ladle reports to every step in the process; and, ensures that each step is completed within the allocated time.
Peripheral information can be incorporated into the process database, including temperatures, ladle weight, wire-feeding results and chemistry.
The flexible hardware platform can be configured to suit the layout, process flow, and production volume of any type of foundry, for casting iron or any other metal, SinterCast noted. The main features and process opportunities of the Ladle Tracker technology include:
• Real-time process control to ensure that every ladle reports to every station and that time limits are adhered to, including automated lockouts.
• Daily, weekly and/or monthly reports of ladle movement to identify where and why ladles drop out of the process and to identify and resolve process bottlenecks.
• Establish production KPIs to link operator performance directly to productivity and to quantitatively measure process improvements.
• Ladle movement and process data (temperatures, weights, chemistries, wire-feeder data) can be uploaded to the foundry database for process traceability and customer assurance. No information is stored on the RFID tag.
• Foundry supervisors and managers can view real-time process data on remote computers via internal network connections.
"The Ladle Tracker™ technology provides a new opportunity for foundry managers to measure, control and improve process flow and productivity," stated president and CEO Dr. Steve Dawson. "Our longstanding focus on compacted graphite iron (CGI) process control has led to our company mantra: "you can't control what you can't measure." Now, we are bringing new measurement capability to other areas of the foundry to improve process control, productivity and confidence. We look forward to introducing the Ladle Tracker technology, both as a complement to our core CGI technology and as a stand-alone product to provide additional insight and assurance for foundry managers."
Learn more at www.sintercast.com