SYSCON Sensors Blog

9 Benefits of a Thermal Analysis System for Foundries

May 11, 2022 8:55:17 AM / by Townsend Thomas, Jr.


Ninety percent of manufactured durable goods and practically all manufacturing machinery use metal castings. It goes without saying that producing them more efficiently and in less time would be a major benefit for foundries.

One way to do this is by using a thermal analysis system.

Using thermal analysis instruments to check the temperature and analyze chemical composition within molten metal can help increase quality  and consistency, thus increasing melt capacity. Let's look at why you may want to invest in a thermal analysis system.


What Is a Thermal Analysis System?

A thermal analysis system combines a special purpose sampling cup, a temperature probe, and a specialized input device to read the sensors. It is a system that includes an instrument capable of recording and analyzing a continuous temperature profile and one or more sensors to take the measurement. The same system can be used to provide temperature verification during pouring operations, which is critical to obtaining the desired results. Systems like this have been used in the metal foundry industry for decades.


How Does It Work?

Today's thermal analysis instruments work by pouring a sample of the molten metal into a special cup containing a thermocouple sensor. As the metal cools to the solid-state, the instrument records the temperature vs time. The “cooling curve” is then analyzed and critical information regarding the chemical composition of the material can be determined. 

The result helps increase melt capacity and reduces waste by allowing for corrections that improve melt quality.


Benefits of a Thermal Analysis System for Foundries

There are many benefits foundries experience when they use a thermal analysis system. Here are nine of the most significant advantages foundries get from utilizing a thermal analysis system.

1. Provides Accurate Temperature Readings

To ensure the quality of the completed product, it is necessary to maintain a constant temperature throughout a pour. If the molten metal is excessively hot, it will alter the chemical and physical properties of the alloy, making it unable to fulfill required standards.

If the temperature is too low, solidification will prevent the molten metal from filling all the cavities and apertures of the mold. Weaknesses in the casting can also occur if the metal begins to solidify before the mold has completely filled.


2. Eliminates the Need for Manual Readings

Manual readings are not required with a thermal analysis system. This can be an important benefit because it allows workers to focus on other, more important things. It may also mean fewer mistakes and less fatigue for the workers who are responsible for recording the data.


3. Optimizes the Melting Process

The melting capacity is the most significant cost for foundry since it restricts output. Foundries use thermal analysis equipment to discover faults with the melt. It may reveal if there is a need for additional ingredients to balance carbon, silicon, or other elements. Corrections are then made based on the data obtained, which will improve the melt quality.


4. Decreases Scrap

One of the main reasons many foundries scrap their metal is because they aren't in control of the chemistry. By optimizing the melting process and increasing the quality levels through the use of thermal analysis instruments there is less scrap to throw out.


5. A Thermal Analysis System Is Cost-Effective

In the long term, a thermal analysis system is cost-effective. It doesn't just help reduce scrap and improve metal quality, but it also allows for a reduction in labor costs. The time it takes to find issues with the melt can be reduced when using a thermal analysis instrument, which frees employees to work on other tasks.


6. Using a Thermal Analysis System Is More Chemically Accurate Than Manual Methods

Manual methods for evaluating the chemistry of melts are often inaccurate or take too long to be practical.

The use of thermal analysis instruments allows foundries to gather more data. This helps to provide a better idea of what adjustments need to be made to the melt to improve burnout or tapping consistency.


7. Stabilizes Production for Low-Quality Foundries

Even low-quality foundries can benefit from using a thermal analysis system.

These low-quality foundries don't use specialized chemistry and frequently acquire iron and steel from junkyards. They also operate without a spectrometer lab and use inexpensive cupola melting.

Low-quality foundries use the color of the slag to assess their quality control in carbon. They also do not check for silicon, manganese, chromium, copper, or other metals. Using a thermal analysis system in these instances can help them to avoid losing their entire melt because of unusable chemistry.


8. Controls Silicon and Carbon in Moderate-Quality Foundries

Moderate-quality foundries are more advanced than low-quality ones, but still don't have a lab. The material they use is limited to known scrap.

These foundries use electric melting or cupola melting. Because of the procedures they have in place, they seldom encounter problems with uncontrolled manganese, chromium, or copper. Thermal analysis instruments can help control silicon and carbon in these foundries.


9. Boosts Production for High-Quality Foundries

High-quality foundries use cupola melting and control their chemistry by means of a lab. Melting is done in an electric furnace, but the alloy is controlled through the spectrometer lab with combustion analysis.

This type of foundry uses all scrap metal and has a wide range of metallurgical knowledge and experience. In order to pass quality control, the iron's chemistry must adhere to strict standards.

The use of spectrography can provide good results, but adds a production time of 10-15 minutes, causing a delay in the melt cycle and having to wait for lab results. With the high-powered medium frequency melting furnaces, this delay can cause a 20-25% lost melt capacity.

If the carbide stabilizers are consistent from heat to heat, thermal analysis equipment can be used to analyze carbon and silicon. This will speed up the lab process and decrease production time.


Create a Higher Quality Product in Less Time

By optimizing the melting process and increasing the quality levels through the use of thermal analysis instruments there is less scrap to throw out, which saves both time and money. In addition, using a thermal analysis system provides more accurate data than manual methods, which allows for better melt control and increased production rates.

Thermal analysis systems are an important part of any foundry. By reducing scrap, improving metal quality, freeing up labor time, and providing more accurate data than manual methods, the systems can speed up the lab process and decrease production time. In addition, thermal analysis systems can be used in low-quality, moderate-quality, and high-quality foundries, making them a valuable tool for any foundry.

Topics: molten metal analysis