A properly implemented thermal analysis system helps a foundry operate efficiently and safely, enhancing quality while reducing waste. These systems combine a sampling cup, a temperature probe, and specialized instruments to read the sensors, allowing recording and analysis of a continual temperature profile. They can also verify temperatures for molten pouring systems to ensure quality and consistent production.
This kind of system has been part of the metal foundry industry for decades and is a critical element of properly maintained production plants. It provides much more accurate results than optical temperature measurements, which can make only a rough estimate of surface temperatures and are often influenced by environmental factors like fumes. The parts of these thermal analysis systems, however, such as thermocouples, handheld pyrometers, and samplers, must be carefully chosen to match your needs. Properly implemented, a thermal analysis system can deliver the following benefits:
During metal casting, temperatures must remain in the acceptable range determined by the metallurgic and quality department. While lower temperatures can cause casting problems, higher temperatures require more energy, are harder on refractories, reduce the number of eutectic cells in iron, require cool-down times, and can cause their own casting problems such as surface defects. Cast products that are kept within the acceptable range will be of a consistently higher quality with fewer defects.
Increase Production Efficiency
Improperly regulated temperatures are associated with a lot of downtime. Cooling and heating take time, and as discussed above, irregular temperatures can cause defects in the final product. These imperfections will need to be corrected or the entire product scrapped and redone. Foundry production requires consistency for daily operations to run well. A strong thermal analysis system allows producers to rectify any inconsistencies in temperature before they cause problems further down the production line.
Reduce Material Waste
Material waste from the casting process must be carefully and properly disposed of to minimize potential land contamination from chemicals like zinc. Waste from production may end up in landfills, or it may require further disposal steps like incineration to ensure safety and compliance.
Some waste from the casting process, like packaging elements, waste from ancillary processes and slag, is inevitable. However, temperature fluctuations can greatly increase the volume of waste that requires processing and disposal. This means greater administrative and labor costs as well as the raw disposal costs. Additionally, with an increased need for disposal comes an increased possibility of mistakes in the process. Investing in an accurate and reliable thermal control system means fewer defective products, less waste, and less risk.
Keep Foundry Workers Safe
Foundries must keep working conditions compliant with safety protocols at all times. Because of the increased risk of working with the volatile chemicals involved, foundries must take extra care to not expose workers to unsafe molten metal temperatures and to keep the temperature exposure within safe limits. Too much temperature fluctuation makes it harder to determine these exposure limits, putting employees at risk. There are both internal and external heat risks for employees in foundries, including
- Heat rash
Consistent temperatures allow workers to complete shifts without worrying about exposure limits, and any unsafe temperatures will be detected sooner, reducing the risk of sudden, external exposure to high heat while working with molten pouring systems.
Production equipment can be damaged by improper temperatures, either suddenly or from wear over time. Equipment that is exposed only to consistent temperatures will last longer and produce better materials. This further reduces waste, cuts down on repair and replacement expenses, and increases overall efficiency. Remember that damaged equipment doesn’t just cost money; it can also pose health and safety risks to the workers who use and maintain it.
Can low-quality foundries benefit from thermal analysis systems?
Even foundries that work from junkyard metals without the aid of a spectrometer lab can see massive benefits from increased temperature control—perhaps even more so. These foundries need elegant temperature monitoring systems because they do not often check for silicone, copper, or other metals and often rely on visual inspection of slag to determine temperature. This puts the foundry at an increased risk from unstable metallurgical properties. Accurate temperature measurement and control with a thermal analysis system stabilizes production for these low-quality foundries while also delivering the benefits listed above.
How do I select the right temperature equipment?
Your thermal analysis system is only as good as its components. Which options will work best depends on your plant’s setup and production needs. Factors to consider include
- Desired temperature range
- Size of the area to be measured
- Environmental conditions
- The materials you work with
Carefully consider your options from all angles, accounting for all aspects of your molten metal application needs to ensure you’re setting your plant up for long-term success. This will maximize the benefits of stable temperature measurements and ensure your system lasts for a long time.
At SYSCON, we offer multiple solutions for foundry temperature control and provide a wide range of handheld pyrometers, wall-mounted pyrometers, analysis systems, calibration checkers, and thermocouples, including types S, K, B and R. Our experts are ready and available to talk you through the process of selecting the system that best fits your needs.
For more tips on maintaining safe, efficient, high-quality production, browse our blog.