Eisengiesserei Baumgarte is the first German foundry to decide to install a VIBRA-DRUM® castings cooler and sand conditioner. The system, which also includes two mould transfer conveyors as well as one each of a reversible feeder/shake-out, a transition feeder and a sand separator will be delivered by GK Europe GmbH, the European Headquarter of General Kinematics Corporation along with Cyrus, a German manufacturer. The two Companies have entered into a strategic cooperation to offer the maximum flexibility and the most innovative solutions to their customers.
To begin with, says Eckhard Winter “we were set on a classic system.” The Managing Director at Eisengiesserei Baumgarte is referring to various casting cooling options. In deciding for the VIBRA-DRUM®, his company has selected a system used by no other foundry in Germany. In a traditional system, hot castings are separated from the sand before the cooling process. In the new system, castings are cooled and sand is conditioned at the same time and in a single machine. The experts at Eisengiesserei Baumgarte were, however, initially concerned that this method would not be effective or provide the desired results. It was not just a matter of whether or not the castings could actually reach the correct temperature within the sand. Winter: “We were also worried that the castings would get stuck or catch into the drum, and that by using a very short shake-out/sand separator after the drum, an aggressive action would be needed to separate the residual sand sticking to the castings, which would cause damages”.
But these reservations turned out to be completely unfounded. The turning point was a visit to two Italian foundries that have been using the VIBRA-DRUM® for years, enjoying excellent process results and castings quality. “That put an end to our doubts,” says Winter. “It left a very positive impression. Without those visits, we would never have taken this step.” After all, this was a “huge investment in the future” for Eisengiesserei Baumgarte. Winter: “We have reached a milestone.”
The cooling line is manufactured and delivered by GK Europe GmbH (General Kinematics). The company, with its European headquarters in Düsseldorf, has sold more than 100 of these machines to companies around the world, according to Managing Director Davide Gado. The deal with Eisengiesserei Baumgarte marks the introduction of the VIBRA-DRUM® technology in the German market. In order to expand on this success, the company has entered into a cooperation at European level with Cyrus GmbH, another German specialist in the field of vibratory technology.
“We are happy to cooperate with other companies whenever we can find good synergies and complementary lines of products.” In this case, since GK is largely active in the heavy-duty industry, that would be when it comes to smaller, middle-sized and value engineered solutions, which are, ultimately, Cyrus’ specialty. “What we want to do” says Dr. Michael Schulte Strathaus, Managing Director at Cyrus, “is offer our customers the best of both worlds.”
And the ball is already rolling. In addition to the VIBRA-DRUM® and two 8.5° inclined and balanced (avoiding transmission of vibrations to the floor) mould transfer conveyors, delivered by GK, the Eisengiesserei Baumgarte system features a two-way feeder/shake-out, a feeder to transfer sand and castings from one mould transfer conveyor to the other, and a separator installed behind the VIBRA-DRUM®, all provided by Cyrus. “We believe the VIBRA-DRUM® has what it takes”, says Schulte Strathaus.
The technology has significant advantages over traditional casting coolers: the highlight of the process is that castings and sand are processed together, with the castings constantly protected from impacts during the cooling process and therefore avoiding surface damages, compared to other traditional shake-out and cooling systems. The use of a proprietary Moisture Addition System, together with the proper air exchanges, ensures a very controlled cooling of the most delicate castings and at the same time a constant moisture and temperature level of the sand at the discharge of the VIBRA-DRUM®. Trough heaters are used at the infeed end of every piece of equipment to prevent the moist sand from sticking and building up in critical transition points. And there is one final advantage: the constant movement of the castings within the sand surrounding and protecting them performs a sort of pre-cleaning of the castings surface by polishing the surface of the castings. The result, explains Gado, is that shot-blasting operations performed downstream are drastically improved and contribute to lower the overall running costs. In addition, the core sand is completely removed from the cast parts and can be easily separated where required.
But the VIBRA-DRUM® has more to offer for Eisengiesserei Baumgarte. Up until now, says Managing Director Winter, “the cooling period for our castings was too short.” However, in order to reach temperatures required for further processing, it was often necessary to maintain specific cooling times. Which kept causing delays in the production process. “Which is why,” Winter continues “this new system improves not just the quality of our products, but also our productivity.” He is certain that there will be no more production delays once the machine is installed.