Dosing Furnace Aluminum Foundry Pilots Digital Dosing Optimization to Improve Productivity
The aluminum die casting business Alupress, is piloting a new data-driven solution to improve productivity at its Hildburghausen foundry site in Germany. The solution was developed in cooperation with StrikoWestofen.
The automotive parts specialist has adopted Monitizer Refill Monitor to optimize metal supply for its dosing furnaces. Developed by StrikoWestofen in partnership with Norican’s in-house Digital Lab, the solution uses sensor data to continuously check furnace fill levels against the metal consumption of the die casting process. It then presents the analyzed data as informative online dashboards which clearly show in real time when each furnace will need refilling, with which alloy and the amount of metal required.
Enrico Sonnefeld, head of maintenance at Alupress Hildburghausen explains: “Our melting furnaces are located quite a distance from our die casting halls. To accurately check the real time fill levels of our 32 dosing furnaces takes time, and the logistics involved mean there is always a risk of refilling with the wrong alloy, overfilling or underfilling. As well as being unproductive, these factors can also result in undesirable stop/starts, for instance if melt is not ready, downtime and also problems further down the line with casting quality – in particular if fill levels have dropped too low.” As part of the pilot, eight of Alupress’ dosing furnaces have been connected to the new digital solution.
“This was actually one of the things that impressed us about this innovation”, added Enrico, “because the data collection mechanism used is supplier agnostic, we can connect any of our furnaces to Monitizer Refill Monitor. We also didn’t need to have any pre-existing digital infrastructure or IIoT experience.”
Florian Kulawik, Development Engineer at StrikoWestofen, commented: “Alupress has configured its dashboards to display overall furnace fill level as a percentage, and also the exact time left until the furnace is at 40 % capacity, as refilling before this point produces optimal results in terms of melt quality and for continuous production. Clear colour coded indicators change as the threshold is reached. The dashboards can be accessed in the melt shop and are displayed on a dedicated monitor in the production hall. The forklift operators responsible for transferring the liquid metal from the melting furnace to the production hall also have securely authorised access to this real time data via a tablet in the vehicle to ensure optimal fill levels are maintained.”