A leading French foundry has renewed its faith in automatic grinding after Koyama machines supplied by P.S. Auto Grinding met performance and reliability expectations for clean, consistent and superior finishing with the added bonus of a dramatic improvement in health and safety to foundry personnel.
Such was the success of the installation of the equipment that AFC Redon is now in a trusted relationship with P.S. Auto Grinding which will see the foundry invest in two machines a year to continually develop its automated finishing plans.
AFC Redon, is a French foundry dedicated to the production of all grades of nodular iron castings from 0.5 to 20kg using Disamatic technology. The foundry houses its own design office, and specialises in automotive security parts and is part of the family group ‘La fonte Ardennaise’, headquartered in Viviers au Court in the Ardennes. AFC Redon is one of five foundries in the group, with a total annual group capacity of 130,000 tons. In 2014, they began to automate the cutting and grinding operations.
Initial operations with the foundry’s first automated grinding center, purchased from another supplier, failed to meet performance and reliability expectations resulting in the need to find an alternative provider, which is when P.S. Auto Grinding stepped in to help.
Automatic grinding improves efficiency
AFC prides itself on being a foundry of excellence where “the least finishing is the best finishing”, thus automatic grinding is considered to be an important characteristic. As a leading supplier of world-renown Koyama automatic grinding machines P.S. Auto Grinding Ltd was keen to prove to the foundry that they had the solution to the problem. They recommended a production unit of two 400i machines with one operator. AFC has also optimised the performance by equipping the machines with metal tray tilting tables and grinding only one casting type at a time.
The production units reached full production within 48 hours of connection and commissioning. In the first production unit, AFC recorded only three hours of maintenance outage over the first year of operation.
In 2017 the machines had been in operation for two years and another four machines have since been added, utilising three operators per shift with three eight-hour shifts per day. The results have been phenomenal.
Safety and comfort for workers improved
Heavy duty personal protection has been discontinued for light protection. No accidents have been reported since the introduction of Koyama and personal safety has been dramatically improved. The company reports that operators no longer experience the aches and pains due to the physical nature of hand grinding.
In addition, the quality of castings has been improved. Grinding finish is clean, consistent and superior to the previous hand grinding method.
In terms of the ease of introducing the equipment into the production process, the company says the machines have been well received by the staff. Programming is quick and easy, minor adjustments, if required, are equally straightforward. The life of the main diamond wheel exceeds 150,000 pieces and may be re-coated.
P.S. Auto Grinding Ltd is the European distributor for the equipment, which is produced by Koyama in Japan, and currently offers a set of options to complement the machines. The robotised, automatic grinding machines range in capacity from 1kg to 400kg.
A number of companies are now realising the benefits of Koyama technology; there are currently over 400 machines operating in 22 countries across Europe.