Technical Improvement

New Furnace halves Energy Costs for Hattori Diecast

| Editor: Nicole Kareta

Hattori Diecast has become the first Japanese company to order and install a StrikoMelter melting furnace from StrikoWestofen. The company produces automotive parts for major brands including Toyota and specialises in aluminum parts such as computer housings, air-bag sensors, sump valves, accumulators and cylinders.

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Hattori Diecast installed the StrikoMelter to increase productivity and reduce costs.
Hattori Diecast installed the StrikoMelter to increase productivity and reduce costs.
(Source: Norican Group)

Eyeing Efficient Growth

Unsatisfied with a melting furnace that had been in operation at its plant for 15 years, Hattori decided to decommission it and began looking for a new furnace that would support its growth and productivity ambitions and reduce key monthly melt shop costs, from gas consumption to maintenance.

The team at Hattori were familiar with StrikoWestofen through the Westomat dosing furnace already operating in the factory, and also thanks to its wider reputation in Japan where over 400 dosing furnaces have been sold.

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With an additional understanding of the local insight and support offered by Norican Group which has operated in Japan for over 30 years – and keen to gain a march on competitors by seizing the advantages of world class technology, Hattori invited StrikoWestofen to tender for the project.

Inspection in China

The technical qualities of StrikoMelter have aroused Hattori's interest. To maximize efficiency and minimize metal loss, StrikoMelter is equipped with a shaft geometry and special burner technology that allows preheating, heating and melting processes to be combined in a single furnace shaft. During a visit to China, the performance of the StrikoMelter 1 MH II-B 4000/1500 under live operating conditions was personally inspected and found to be good.

In close cooperation with Norican, the permits for the transport of goods over 45 tons within Japan were secured on site prior to installation. By knowing the Japanese government's support structures, Norican Hattori also helped reduce the cost of purchasing the melting furnace and provided on-the-ground knowledge, logistical support, engineering expertise and warehousing space for parts for the duration of the project.

Completion on Schedule

Project constraints meant StrikoWestofen had 16 days to complete the installation which included the removal of the old machine and sintering. Four engineers worked together on the project full-time. The installation work began with the removal of the old furnace and the craning in of the new StrikoMelter. These tasks required sections of wall and the factory roof to be taken out and rebuilt even under adverse weather conditions. Impeccable project coordination combined with the team’s dedication meant this was all completed within a week.

Another logistical challenge was the size of the Hattori plant, which at 10,220m2 is small for an aluminum foundry. With parts of the plant remaining in operation, the installation team had to work around staff, which was made difficult by the limited space. Overcoming all challenges, the melting furnace installation and refurbishment works were completed on time. As soon as equipment was operational, the team at Hattori received training on how to use the StrikoMelter. To ensure high-performance is maintained, Norican will visit Hattori every week for the first 3 months to monitor each status and optimise performance.

Transforming Operations

Overall, the StrikoMelter has halved furnace-related energy costs thanks to a 43% reduction in gas consumption and the cutting of metal loss from 6% to just 2% when compared with the previous melting furnace. Moreover, Hattori has benefitted from less cleaning and its engineers have been able to conduct more maintenance in-house, such as replacing the air fan filter and checking the bath temperature.

Mr. Sasaki, Casting Department Subsection Leader at Hattori Diecast said: “Remaining a leader means investing in the very best technology, so when looking to replace our melting furnace, we wanted a machine that would keep us at the forefront of die casting – globally. While the savings unlocked by our new StrikoMelter speak for themselves, it is also important to note that the quality of parts and simple operation of the machine both exceeded our expectations."

Yoichiro Sakai, OEM sales, Norican Group, Japan said: "We look forward to helping many more Japanese operators to seize the benefits of market leading StrikoMelter technology.”

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