Compared to other industries, the foundry industry has always faced significant challenges in developing environmentally friendly processes and machinery. It is well known that foundries face a particular challenge; substantial energy needs that are satisfied by burning fossil fuels. This has always made it unlikely that the industry would spearhead green innovations.
A second challenge within the industry has been the size of foundries globally.
Traditionally the foundry industry has been made up from small foundries with unique processes and product combinations. This limited the development of machines and processes which could benefit the entire industry. Further combined with the small margins typically associated with casting, this has reduced the capacity for significant investment in major process changes.
Regulation creates a final challenge for the development of new foundry technologies. Traditional processes such as casting shakeout and the use of melting furnaces are often subject to rigorous regulation, so changes often engage lengthy permitting procedures. This has meant smaller foundries unable to invest in new equipment continue to use outdated equipment and therefore their emission of cases such as CO2 and SO2 remain unchanged.
Technology as a driving force
With the advent of Industry 4.0 we are starting to see significant developments in foundry machinery. The industry as a whole has woken up to the importance, and the financial impact, of being more environmentally friendly. One need only look at the introduction of the EcoMetals tour at this year’s GIFA to see the changing attitudes.
The three main processes which drive energy consumption and pollution across foundries are generally:
- Mold preparation
- Melting raw materials
- Casting and shakeout
- Energy Efficiency
The U.S. Energy Information Administration Environment identifies the generation of electricity as the top source of foundry greenhouse gas emissions. Foundries who focus on a reduction in their energy consumption not only impact on the environment but also will positively affect their bottom line.
Research by the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department at Pennsylvania State University found that when energy reduction strategies were used in conjunction with waste reduction techniques significant cost improvements were found. They recommend using a Green Value Stream Map to highlight key areas to review performance.
Technology also plays an important role in helping foundries reduce their waste output. The type of waste that foundries produce depends on their output. For example, when sand molds are used the main waste factor will be the sand. When sand can be reused and recycled a foundry can significantly reduce their overall waste.
Whilst green sand is routinely recycled, it still has an “end life” due to it becoming too fine for reuse. Machines developed to wear sand less not only increase the life of the sand used.
One of the innovative machines JML Industrie will be presenting at GIFA 2019 significantly reduces the wear of the sand, as there are no mechanical parts in contact. Not only can the sand be reused more frequently but the equipment parts also see a significant reduction in wear, increasing the lifespan of the machine.
For the non-ferrous and steel foundries the presence of lead, zinc and cadmium generates harmful waste. A report by Ijsee estimated that molding and core sand make up 66% to 88% of total waste from ferrous foundries.
Chemically-bound sand used for cores and shell molds is more difficult to reuse and can become waste after a single use. When additional materials are identified in sands after use treatment may be required prior to disposal. Equipment and processes that reduce toxicity improves the negative impact on the environment as well as disposal costs.
The industry as a whole is working to reduce the amount of waste generated. This includes recycling initiatives and policies to reduce toxicity. On advanced sand mixers, it is possible reduce waste and improve overall quality by delivering the exact sand recipe and quantity along with a fully automatic filling sequence.
The net result of more efficiently managing waste and controlling energy consumption is that foundries are becoming more environmentally friendly. Internal programs and policies help to conserve energy, reduce waste and enhance efficiency. Adoption of ‘right-first time’ production has a significant impact on the above.
Reduction of waste and quality improvements
Reviewing the advancements in environmentally friendly technologies it is clear these improvements also drive higher quality output for foundries. Focusing on quality, and getting production right first time, automatically reduces waste and energy consumption. This is both positive for the environment and for production overheads.
As the industry develops we will continue to see innovations which reduce the environmental impact of foundries. As Industry 4.0 becomes common place improvements in efficiency and output will assist in the reduction of the industry’s environmental footprint.
JML Industrie’s commitment to the environment
Recently JML Industrie launched a range of environmentally friendly equipment. A new logo has been designed to help customers recognise that the equipment is a step towards greener foundry production.
JML Industrie will be showcasing two of their newest innovations at GIFA 2019.
Booking a meeting
If you would like to talk to JML Industrie about how they can help your foundry stay ahead of the competition you can book at meeting using the details below. JML Industrie will also be at GIFA this year (15H14).
+39 349 368 1640
Eric de Rooji
+336 24 43 34 77
+336 46 58 06 42