Westomat dosing furnaces prove economy compared with ladle systems
Practical data collected by the StrikoWestofen Group prove that Westomat dosing furnaces are currently the leading technology in terms of efficiency and quality of the melt. During a five-day test conducted under real-life conditions, a Westomat was compared with a conventional ladle system with a holding furnace. The energy consumed by the Westomat was as little as one third of that required by the ladle system, and the metal yield was as much as five times better. In addition, operating costs and downtimes of Westomat furnaces are far below those of conventional ladle systems. The closed Westomat system is also extremely thermally stable: in contrast to ladle systems, temperature fluctuations do not occur, so the overheating of the melt required by those systems is not necessary with the Westomat.
Data collected in practical experiments prove that, at a mere 8.1 kWh per hour of operation, Westomat dosing furnaces of 1200 SL type only consume about one third of the energy required by conventional holding furnaces with an automatic pouring ladle. This makes them the most energy-efficient systems available at present. Furthermore, they achieve maximum dosing precision. In a five-day test cycle conducted under real foundry conditions, StrikoWestofen also demonstrated the efficient use of the raw material. The closed furnace system showed metal losses of no more than 0.06 percent, thus outperforming conventional ladles by a factor of five. It was also possible to permanently improve the quality of the melt in comparison with the ladle system. This is because, in the pouring process using the ladle, oxides from the surface of the bath are often introduced into the melt. This reduces the quality of the metal and increases the reject rate. “The introduction of oxides into the pouring process is virtually ruled out for our Westomat dosing furnaces as the melt is removed and added below the level of the bath,” explains Rudolf Riedel, manager of the StrikoWestofen Group. Furthermore, Westomat dosing furnaces maintain the bath temperature constant, with maximum deviations of two degrees Celsius from the target value.
Profitable in the long term
Besides the lower energy costs, dosing systems of the Westomat type feature considerably lower service and maintenance costs in daily use. The pouring process does not need to be interrupted during filling but can continue unhindered. In contrast to ladle systems, Westomat dosing furnaces rapidly recoup the slightly higher operating costs in the second year of operation. “In combination with our high-performance ‘ProDos’ and ‘VPC’ control systems, our Westomat systems are currently the benchmark worldwide in terms of efficiency and dosing accuracy,” Riedel explains. “In addition, thanks to their automated process cycles, they are extremely user-friendly and make a variety of exhausting manual work unnecessary. Thus, they stand for high process reliability and stability as well as constant quality of the melt.”