An effective and reliable shakeout system will address many of the ongoing issues that concern foundry owners and managers – process productivity, casting quality, and environmental compliance, to be specific. A new vibratory system nearing completion now is set address each of those points for an Italian foundry group.
The Vincenti family’s VDP Group operates three foundries in northern Italy, producing gray and spheroidal graphite iron castings, for compressor systems, hydraulics, mechanical, heavy construction, and various other industrial markets. Its headquarters plant is at Schio, in the Veneto region, where it has five electric furnaces and three molding lines producing castings weighing as much as 100 metric tons.
In 2018 the group acquired a second foundry at Camposampiero, in the same region, which now operates as VDC. (A third foundry now called VDZ was added in 2019.) VDC has four furnaces and a green-sand automatic molding line for flasks up to 1,150×800×(400+400) mm, weighing up to 400 kg.
Until the current project got underway, the VDC foundry’s mold shakeout operation had been an area of concern, failing to meet the process requirements, with high sand carryover and generally poor performance. It put the foundry’s operators in search of a new system to handle molds and sand, in line with their process goals, including durability and availability.
VDP Group had selected General Kinematics equipment in the past, and recognized the process quality and performance reliability. They have found GK equipment to be long-lasting and of high quality. “Throughout my career in the foundry sector, I have had the opportunity to work with General Kinematics on some very ambitious and challenging projects,” recalled Massimo Ceschel, foundry director at the VDC plant, “and I had a great experience working with the GK team, from the development of the project and the positive, innovative ideas that GK brought to the table, to the final result.”
VDC contacted General Kinematics about the shakeout operation there. They wanted to improve worker safety by eliminating airborne dust; contain the heat released from the process and materials; enhance the quality of the castings being processed – and at the same time to conserve energy and reduce casting scrap.
Their choice for a new shakeout system is the GK VIBRA-DRUM®, comparable to a unit already chosen for the VDP foundry, so they knew what to expect when the installation is complete in summer 2023.
General Kinematics’ VIBRA-DRUM® sand and casting conditioners gently tumble castings and provide accelerated casting cooling by equalizing of sand/casting temperatures and evaporating moisture. The tumbling action reduces sand lumps to original grain size and blends sand to equalize shakeout sand temperature.
Among the advantages VDC knew to expect from the VIBRA-DRUM® is improved sand return, because the system will improve the process of sand attrition and cooling. In addition, they look forward to a better sustainability for the operation, because GK’s Two-Mass drive system driving the vibratory process consumes up to two-thirds less energy than direct-drive machines.
A further expectation is a significant reduction in scrapped casting and reworks following shakeout.
General Kinematic’s field service team will be on-site at Camposampiero in August, to assist with the installation and start-up.
“I have never had a chance to install any GK VIBRA-DRUMs yet,” Massimo Ceschel commented, “but I am familiar with the technology and very excited to finally be able to follow and manage this project. I’m optimistic that this important investment will give VDC a competitive edge by increasing our quality and efficiency.”
With its earlier VIBRA-DRUM® installation VDP reported that working conditions improved compared to previous equipment. The volume of airborne silica dust was reduced and heat from the sand and castings was contained within the VIBRA-DRUM® as the castings cooled to acceptable temperatures for handling.
“Our choice of technology for the casting, cooling, and handling in our foundry, VDC, is based on our previous positive experience using the same type of solution at our VDP foundry,” according to Franco Vicentini, one of the group’s managing partners. “The General Kinematics VIBRA-DRUM allows us to perform a gentle shakeout of our most delicate and complicated castings, avoiding damage, and at the same time it provides a fully enclosed system, helping us to keep our foundries clean.”