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Messe Dusseldorf
Best Process Solutions
Best Process Solutions rotary electric vibrator.
Cyrus GmbH
General Kinematics Vibra-Drum system optimizes processing of castings and sand, and optimizes production thanks to its energy-efficient two-mass principle.

Combining Effort, Improving Productivity and Results

June 1, 2018
Two experts in vibratory cleaning systems work together to install a first-of-its-kind (in Germany) sand and casting conditioning system.

One secret to productivity in manufacturing is to combine production steps whenever possible, thereby conserving energy inputs and reducing overall time in production. It explains why sand casting operations put so much focus on systems for handling casting after they are removed from the molds.

The General Kinematics Vibra-Drum® casting-cooling and sand-conditioning system has been well established for these processes. It’s a “two-mass, sub-resonant tuned” vibratory system for transferring castings of varying size and weight while loosening the mold sand still adhering to them parts.  The continuous tumbling action loosens the sand from the castings and accelerates casting cooling by equalizing the sand/casting temperatures and evaporating moisture. At the same time, the action reduces sand lumps to granular size, and blends the shakeout sand to equalize its temperature.

Because the tumbling action is gentle, the Vibra-Drum keeps the castings in a bed of sand; the parts are never dropped or subjected to excess impact during shakeout.

Although it’s a proven and widely adopted system, Vibra-Drum recently made its first appearance in a German foundry, at Eisengiesserei Baumgarte, a producer of ferrous castings for machinery, pumps, rail systems, and general industrial use. The installation also includes two mold-transfer conveyors, a reversible feeder/shakeout, a transition feeder, and a sand separator. GK Europe GmbH, a subsidiary of General Kinematics, developed the installation with Cyrus GmbH, another developer of vibratory transfer machinery.

“We were set on a classic system,” according to Eckhard Winter, the foundry’s managing director, referring in general to systems that perform casting cooling. In such a traditional system, hot castings are separated from the sand before the cooling process. In the new system selected by Baumgarte, castings are cooled and sand is conditioned at the same time and in a single machine.

In addition to the reversible feeder/shakeout
and sand separator, the installation will include
a transfer feeder designed by Cyrus GmbH.


The foundry’s managers were concerned initially that the combined processing method would not be effective, including concern that the castings would not reach the correct temperature within the sand. “We were also worried that the castings would get stuck or catch into the drum, and that by using a very short shakeout/sand separator after the drum, an aggressive action would be needed to separate the residual sand sticking to the castings, which would cause damages,” according to Winter.

They became convinced of the system’s effectiveness by visiting Vibra-Drum installations at two Italian foundries that have been using the systems for several years, with excellent process results and castings quality. “It left a very positive impression,” Winter said. “Without those visits, we would never have taken this step.”

He now describes the “step” as an “investment in the future … a milestone.”

The cooling line was manufactured and delivered by GK Europe GmbH in Düsseldorf, in cooperation with Cyrus on the project. Cyrus is more experienced with foundry-scale vibratory systems for the European market.  “We are happy to cooperate with other companies whenever we can find good synergies and complementary lines of products,” according to GK Europe managing director Davide Gado.

“What we want to do is offer our customers the best of both worlds,” added Dr. Michael Schulte Strathaus, Cyrus GmbH managing director.

The Baumgarte installation included the Vibra-Drum and two 8.5-degree, inclined and balanced (to avoid transmitting vibrations to the floor) mold transfer conveyors, all engineered by GK; and a two-way feeder/shakeout, a feeder to transfer sand and castings from one mold-transfer conveyor to the other, and a separator installed behind the Vibra-Drum, all provided by Cyrus.

Strathaus commented that the Vibra-Drum technology has significant advantages over traditional casting coolers, starting from the premise that castings and sand are processed together, with the castings constantly protected from impact during the cooling process and therefore avoiding surface damages (as may occur in traditional shakeout and cooling systems.)

The use of a proprietary Moisture Addition System, together with the proper air exchanges, ensures well-controlled cooling of even delicate castings, and at the same time a constant moisture and temperature level of the sand at the discharge of the Vibra-Drum. Trough heaters are used at the infeed end of every piece of equipment to prevent the moist sand from sticking and building up in critical transition points.

Finally, the constant movement of the castings within the sand surrounding and protecting them performs a sort of pre-cleaning of the castings surface by polishing the surface of the castings. The result, explained Gado, is that shot-blasting operations performed downstream are improved significantly, and contribute to lower the overall running costs. In addition, the core sand is completely removed from the cast parts and can be easily separated where required.

The Vibra-Drum brings a further advantage to Eisengiesserei Baumgarte, where until now “the cooling period for our castings was too short,” Winter noted. In order to reach temperatures required for further processing, it was often necessary to maintain specific cooling times — which caused delays in the production process. “Which is why,” Winter continues “this new system improves not just the quality of our products, but also our productivity.”