With this rise in demand, sustainability is becoming an increasingly important issue. As a specialist in mixing technology, Eirich has been working in this field for decades and understands the challenges the industry faces. At this year's GIFA – the leading trade fair in the world for the foundry industry – Eirich will be unveiling a new exhibition concept and presenting technologies that are designed to help save resources and energy, as well as demonstrating how digitalization is becoming the key to sustainable production.
Every year the foundry industry consumes over 100 million tons of sand. Although this natural resource is the foundation upon which optimum casting results depend, the importance of the quality of the molding material has often been overlooked in the past in production. At the same time, focus is shifting steadily onto other goals such as minimizing the use of resources and reducing energy consumption with the aid of intelligent systems. At this year's GIFA trade fair, the specialist for mixing and processing technology will be presenting its self-optimizing control system for the recycling of sand in a circular process. Stephan Eirich, CEO of Eirich: “Molding sand is an in-demand raw material, and the reprocessing and recycling processes are complex. This makes it all the more important to ensure that this ‘black gold’ is used efficiently. At Eirich we have developed intelligent sand management technology that reduces the amount of raw materials and energy used throughout the entire production cycle. Thanks to the smart process, consumption of resources is reduced and waste is minimized.“
Smart molding sand preparation with an inline tester
For foundries wanting to combine optimum molding material quality with the highest in cost effectiveness, the eco-friendly EVACTHERM® process from EIRICH for cooling used sand and reprocessing it under vacuum in conjunction with the QualiMaster quality control system has been the leading technology for many years. Here, just one machine – an Eirich Intensive Mixer – combines the process steps of mixing, cooling, and bentonite activation in a single unit. What this means is that, during reprocessing under vacuum, the temperature of the sand can be adjusted and controlled regardless of the ambient temperature. Because the cycle is closed, unlike with conventional cooling no fines escape in the process. This saves resources, as valuable raw materials remain within the closed cycle. At the same time, this technology also reduces emissions and saves costs for removing and depositing the waste in a landfill.
Quality assurance for the molding material is a central element of the Eirich solution. At the heart of this is QualiMaster AT1, an inline tester that will be presented live by Eirich at the trade fair. The Internet-of-Things compatible device takes samples from every batch and determines control parameters like compactability and shear strength. If the values for the molding material deviate from the requirements then the system initiates an optimization process. Stable closedloop process control guarantees continuously high quality of the molding material and, ultimately, ensures a reduction in waste and scrap in terms of the parts that are subsequently cast. In addition, QualiMaster AT1 also offers the option of measuring important process parameters such as gas permeability and springback.
The intelligent sand management technology is further assisted with the patented software tools SandReport and SandExpert. SandReport analyzes the entire molding material preparation process and receives all relevant batch data from the molding material system – the moisture correction system AC1 and the inline tester AT1. The digital tool includes full production analysis and ensures the quality of the molding material through traceability. The composition of the molding material is automatically calculated in advance with the aid of SandExpert. This means that the right molding material for the relevant production requirements is always available at the molding line. This saves resources and guarantees stable processes with maximum flexibility in terms of production planning.
Innovative mixing technology meets gamification
The strong digital competence of Eirich is also reflected in the design of this year’s trade fair concept. The long-established company has completely redesigned its trade fair appearance and will be presenting its smart molding material preparation system digitally via an app that uses a touchscreen interface. Interactive tools are used to demonstrate the entire system, and the technologically advanced vacuum technology is explained with the aid of animations and visualizations. This also makes it possible to digitally present entire processes such as the material flow, and production processes can be better illustrated via specific scenarios – for example, the addition of an additive. Visitors are introduced to the technology in a fun, playful manner, at the end of which each one of them can complete a “molding material license.” “As an exhibitor, we kept finding that although visitors are impressed by large machines, these are unsuited to getting across the significant advantages of our integrated systems. With our digital touchscreen app, we aim not only to make the smart technology more tangible, but we also want to give people insight into the diversity of our products without having to set up all of our machines on site,” explains Marie-Luise Liepe from the Technical Sales department at Eirich.
GIFA is the world’s leading show for the foundry industry. The trade exhibition takes place from June 12-16, 2023, in Düsseldorf/Germany. The Eirich stand can be found in hall 17 at booth C61.