At the end of 2017, Hüttenes-Albertus, a leading international manufacturer of chemical products for the foundry industry, opened its new HA Center of Competence (HA CoC) in Bad Deckenstedt near Hannover, Germany.
The HA CoC offers facilities to cast, shoot cores and build moulds. New processes and products can be fully tested and optimised before they are used. Thus HA will be able to develop products for their customers faster and in a more targeted manner until they are ready for the market and to successfully launch them in foundries.
As a producer of foundry chemicals, Hüttenes-Albertus is the link between foundries, with their casting requirements, and machine manufacturers, with their technical possibilities. In the past, customers often started by creating a new production line design for their new product in close collaboration with the machine manufacturer. Only once the new plant was ready did the foundry approach HA to find the right chemical products to produce the casting. This was often too late to provide customers with solutions tailored to their processes or castings, which then still had to be put into commission. As a result, valuable time was lost.
By working together with the foundry, the machine manufacturer and other partners at an early stage in product and process development, HA aims to reduce the time required for this phase. In the CoC all parties involved can work on a topic at the same time and not sequentially as before.
A comprehensive machine park offers the opportunity to optimise the interaction of foundry chemistry and machine technology. To this end, HA cooperates with virtually all renowned manufacturers of foundry plants.
The machine park’s facilities include:
- melting and casting plants
- core shooting machines for Cold-Box, inorganics and other core production processes
- sand mixing plants for Cold-Box and inorganic processes
- continuous mixers for the no-bake process
- coating area, including robotic handling
- drying oven with a range of special features
- extensive measuring technology
Potential daily production output of the pilot foundry plant
Max. 2 tons (Ferrous and Non-Ferrous-Alloys)
approx. 600 per day
Installation of core packages
20 core packages (up to 19 cores per core package)
Core package coating
20 per day (by hand or with robots)
40 core packages per day
40 moulding boxes per day, max. 150 kg grey cast iron per moulding box
40 moulding boxes per day, max. 300 kg aluminium per moulding box
Max. 40 castings per day
Development: How do we go from an idea to market-ready innovation?
HA’s path to innovative, customer-focused solutions is the result of a powerful research and development on the one side. The second pillar comprises practical testing and technological cooperation with customers and partners, e.g. machine manufacturers.
On their own, good ideas and new developments from the laboratory are of no use to foundries. Benefits – and thus success – only emerge when these innovations serve the actual needs of the foundry and can also be optimally used under industrial conditions with the appropriate machines and systems.
HA wants to be faster and more targeted in bringing products to market, which can then be used immediately in production by their customers.
The Center of Competence allows HA to do just this: This is where a cooperative partnership takes place between the company, its customers and machine manufacturers and where new developments from the laboratory are extensively tested before they are implemented.
HA involves customers and machine manufacturers from the outset: Product visions, customer specifications and requirements for machine technology are discussed and projects defined. In the course of developing solutions, HA experts are constantly in close contact with customers and partners.
Major innovation topics
HA’s aim is to help their customers with foundry chemical product innovations to optimise processes, to improve efficiency and to increase environmental sustainability.
Environmentally compatible production and increased part complexity are two challenges that foundries are facing today. HA is developing new generations of Cold-Box binder systems that manage this balancing act: fewer emissions and uncompromising performance.
Inorganic binder systems may have outgrown their infancy and are now delivering efficient, high-quality results, but their development is far from over. HA foundry specialists and chemists are working hard to further improve these products. The company is working on a variety of challenges, including optimising storage stability and using inorganics in iron casting.
HA is pursuing a number of different objectives and advances in the area of coatings. Firstly, we aim to ensure that binder systems and coating materials harmonise as well as possible in order to prevent certain defects in iron and steel castings. Other development topics include water-based coatings for inorganically bound cores and coatings for 3D printed cores.
Service: Design Conception and Prototyping
HA customers can carry out all of their prototyping in the CoC. The CoC has everything that is needed to produce cores and moulds, and to cast all metals. This means that it is not only able to carry out prototyping from core production to casting, but also to provide other services that can then be outsourced by the foundry. HA wants to act as an extension of the foundry and offer everything that a foundry, in the midst of series production, would have difficulty implementing internally.
Examples of joint project work
• Design conception for cores or/and casting and for the production process
• Together with selected partners the CoC finalizes the concept, the production and the commissioning of tools for both IOB and organic processes.
• The pre-teaching of robots including the design and production of appropriate gripper in cooperation with selected partners.
• Feasibility studies on the design and concept for a new production line or modification of an existing line dedicated to specific parts.
Training courses and conferences
The CoC’s comprehensive service concept also includes the ability to hold training courses and conferences. Alongside the foundry pilot plant, where all aspects of moulding and casting can be carried out in practice and experienced first-hand, our modern administration and training building offers well-equipped seminar rooms for up to 70 participants.
Training courses and conferences at the CoC can be combined in an attractive way, for example, with an eventful stay in nearby Goslar, the thousand-year-old imperial city at the foot of the Harz mountains. The stunning, old town, with its picturesque alleys, is listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site and delights guests from home and abroad.