New molding sand preparation equipment ready to go – just 9 weeks after a major fire at Schonlau-Werke in Geseke
The Gustav Eirich GmbH & Co KG machine factory at Schonlau-Werke in Geseke has installed a new molding sand preparation installation in absolute record time after a major fire destroyed the old plant. It has now delivered a first batch of molding sand just 9 weeks after the fire.
A major fire on Saturday, June 11, 2005 in the foundry at Schonlau-Werke in Geseke totally destroyed key production areas – including the molding sand preparation equipment. The first meeting between representatives of Schonlau und Eirich already took place on the following Monday, just 2 days after the fire. As it was clear that the future of the foundry depended on the swift reinstatement of production facilities in the areas that had been destroyed, both parties started to take stock of the situation the very next day.
Fig.: The site of the fire (© Geseke Fire Brigade)
The scene was one of total devastation – resulting in the following situation in terms of themolding sand processing facilities:
The only areas to escape damage were the following:
- the used sand line located in the cellar, starting underneath the mold installations, including the magnetic separator,
- the bucket conveyor transfer mechanism for the used sand.
- the cooling aggregates and the transport line for used sand including the used sand bunker with discharge (due to the spatial separation from the mixing plant).
The following were destroyed:
- the used sand line from the used sand silos to the mixing plant,
- the day silos for additives including the filling lines and metering worms,
- the mixing plant with scales and discharge plate,
- the majority of the finished sand line,
- all of the structural steelwork,
- the control systems and wiring.
As a large part of the plans relating to the existing machines, plants and buildings was destroyed in the fire, it was also necessary to re-measure everything. On the basis of the actual status, the planners and managers at Schonlau-Werke discussed various concepts and options for rebuilding the sand processing facility. Within three working days, the project drawings and a schematic diagram of the plant installations had been drawn up, the calculations had been performed and the technical specifications had been finalized. For Schonlau-Werke, one of the key considerations in commissioning the order was the achievable delivery time – and therefore the date on which production could restart. Following consultations with subsuppliers and the relevant internal departments, Eirich promised a date for the start of production in calendar week 33 – i.e. the time available for completion of the entire project was a mere 9 weeks. EIRICH were given the order for this project on 17.06.05 on the basis of the documents that had been put together and on the basis of the promised delivery date. The delivery scope essentially covered the following parts of the plant installation:
- 2 day silos for additives with metering worms
- 3 belt conveyors for used sand
- container scales for used sand, additives and water
- EIRICH intensive mixer DW 29/4 (effective capacity of 4000 liters)
- Discharge plate, module UE 25
- Belt conveyor for the finished sand
- Qualimaster AT1 for online quality control
- Molding sand centrifuge FS 5
- Control system for automatic operation using Siemens S7
- Complete mechanical and electrical installation
The detail engineering and planning work required to integrate all of the machinery, equipment and units into the production setup began immediately after the order was placed, in order to ensure that production of the installation parts could start on time. The core components of the new installation, such as the mixer, discharge plate, testing devices and control systems have all been developed and manufactured in-house by the Gustav Eirich GmbH & Co KG machine factory.
The heart of the new installation is an Eirich intensive mixer of type DW 29/4, which has an effective capacity of 4000 liters. It ensures that the molding sand is prepared to a consistently high quality. The control system (Siemens S7) for the sand processing system meets every requirement for a future-proof process control system. The interplay between the moisture correction PLC, the online Qualimaster AT1 tester and the SandReport software package delivers a statistical analysis of all of the measured values (humidity, temperature, compressibility, shear strength). This enables uninterrupted documentation and thus guarantees modern quality assurance in the foundry.
Fig.: The new location for the sand processing facility
While the order was being processed, a new location was chosen for the sand processing facility. The move offered various advantages, as it resulted in a shortening of the used sand and finished sand lines. There are also fewer transfer points than on the old installation, which means fewer emission points in the used sand area. The shortening of the finished sand line also offers advantages in terms of quality, as the compression of the finished sand which results from having a large number of transfer points and the evaporation of moisture which results from having a long line are both minimized.
The essential work that needed to be carried out in preparation for installation, including for example foundation work, was performed by Schonlau-Werke, and as a result the installation of the plant started on-time on July 25, 2005. Work ran in double shifts to ensure that the commissioning date of August 10, 2005 was indeed met. After a further four days, the first test run was performed with sand, whilst training was provided at the same time for the personnel. Production started on August 15, 2005, and both mold installations are now being supplied at a rate of 60 tons per hour.
The senior managers at Schonlau-Werke are exceptionally impressed with the professional competence and the smooth and timely manner in which the entire project was handled by Eirich.
The dedication and tirelessness of the employees at Schonlau-Werke also struck a chord – their desire to rebuild "their" company and make sure that everything was in place to ensure that the other installations could restart again on time was clearly evident.
Fig.: The installation, ready for production
With the new processing facility, Schonlau-Werke now have one of the most modern sand processing plants in Germany.
The facility is used to produce high-quality gray cast iron castings and nodular spherulitic graphite iron castings in small to medium sized production volumes on two automatic mold installations, with casting weights ranging from 10 – 120 kg.
The main clients are in the railway industry and in the fields of gearbox manufacturing and drive and filtration technology.
With 150 employees, the company generates a turnover of 15 million Euros.