Technologies and concepts bound to increase the client's benefit and to conform to the increasing amount of environmental regulations are decisive criteria for the future of foundry technology. In view of the people-intensive casting process demands rise for process automation systems. In pressure die casting plants automation systems allow for production lines that are particularly efficient. A prerequisite, however, is the ideal interaction of pressure die casting machine and extracting device (e. g., robot), die spraying device and dosing furnace. Due to the high degree of automation, the operator is confronted with an ever increasing amount of controlling units that ground on differing manufacturer-specific logics. By standardizing interfaces a high potential of valuable rationalization may be unlocked. Applying a standard solution would equal "it works". Thereby, a standardized pin assignment of the basic functions will not lead to unexpected hazardous movements during installation and initial operation. Such a standardisation may be incurred through VDMA-Specifications.
VDMA-Specifications are an assembly of technical rules and agreements, that a group of enterprises jointly develop. Those rules define the "state of the art" and serve as corporate industrial norms. VDMA-Specifications have a "normative" stand, that is they are listed in standardisation data files and distributed by Beuth Verlag same as for DIN Norms.
During first discussions with the experts, it became clear that initial operations of pressure die casting cells were delayed due to an deficient definition of interfaces, unclear contact assignments or duplicate pin assignment. This calls for inquiries to the OEM and is thus costly and time-consuming. A VDMA working group was initiated that gather manufacturers of pressure die casting machines like Bühler (CH) and Frech with manufacturers of handling devices, die spraying devices and dosing furnaces such as ABB Automation, Reis, Kuka, Wollin, StrikoWestofen, Foundry 4 Thermdos und Rauch (A). Intending to seize the problems the group quickly agreed, that a standard would deliver a solution "with plug and work" and would be the safer alternative on top! The fact that competitors leave beaten paths and are apt to gather for a roundtable shows well that those difficulties may not to be ignored.
The groups common efforts produced three VDMA-Specifications:
DISPO 010 - Interface between the high pressure metal die casting machine and extracting device
DISPO 020 - Interface between the high pressure metal die casting machine and die spraying devices
DISPO 030 - Interface between the high pressure metal die casting machine and metal feeding devices
The definitions in the VDMA-Specifications simplify the communication between user and supplier and make planning and implementation more efficient throughout commissioning. Those three VDMA-Specifications are published in German and English and may be obtained through Beuth Verlag (www.beuth.de). VDMA members may procure them free of charge via the VDMA foundry machinery group: foundry(at)vdma.org.
In order ensure that the standards achieved are met just as well by an even more complex bus interface it is mandatory to exactly define the signal exchange as well. An expert group is set to work out a solution on the basis of a PROFIBUS. Drafts do exist already for the aforementioned periphery in German (VDMA 24494, VDMA 24495, VDMA 24496).