Die Casting Technology Energy-Efficient Furnace for Heck + Becker
At its Die Casting Technology centre in Hessen, Germany, toolmaker Heck + Becker carries out casting tests for tool acceptance testing and for fine-tuning innovative casting processes.
It does this with the help of a fully automated die casting cell with a clamping force of 3,200 tons. Around 150 tons of aluminum a year are processed here – in small batches that's up to 3,000 parts.
Until then, a natural gas-fired furnace had been used for melting and an electrode furnace for holding, which together kept the aluminium at a temperature of about 670 °C around the clock. As well as high energy consumption, the gas-fired furnace also resulted in metal losses of approximately 3.5 %.
A StrikoMelter shaft melting and holding furnace, which preheats, melts and holds in a single, highly efficient system was the solution. The new MH II-T 3000/1500 Plus+ furnace boasts a melting capacity of 1.5 t/h and – thanks also to its improved insulation – saves over 250,000 kWh of energy a year. This equates to a reduction in CO2 of around 350 tons. What's more, metal losses fell to 1.5%.
Björn Velte, Manager of Building Services at Heck + Becker, is a key figure in the company's efforts to improve energy efficiency – and has high ambitions in this respect: "Our management team have been encouraging the systematic and comprehensive improvement of the energy efficiency of the site as a whole since 2013. And we don't shy away from larger investments to achieve this. We had already cut our CO2 by around 190 tons a year with a new compressed air system and new lighting."
"Although we are "only" a testing foundry, we were also very aspirational when it came to our new melting furnace. On the one hand, we wanted to utilize our capacity efficiently despite a varying workload and deliver the right metal quality to our customers, on the other hand we wanted the very best in terms of energy efficiency and resource conservation. Here, the StrikoMelter sets the benchmark."
The team at Heck + Becker ordered their new StrikoMelter with virtually all the available energy-saving and automating add-ons: hot gas baffle, bath filling level laser, shaft filling level monitor, partial load efficiency, and feed system with automated material loading.
They had only a brief window between the end of June and the beginning of August 2019 – between two casting tests – to exchange the old system. In this short time, the old system had to be dismantled, the customer's installation site set up, and the new system commissioned.
Dirk Wiechmann, Project Manager at StrikoWestofen, has this to add: "The Heck + Becker project demonstrates that investing in energy efficiency and the latest furnace technology makes sense – and not just because of higher production volumes. Because of lower metal losses and significant energy savings, the new StrikoMelter will pay for itself in a few years. In addition, the combined preheating, melting, holding and the automated furnace loading mean the process is less dependent on manual intervention."