You are a foundry engineer and have 30 years of experience in the foundry industry. What have been the biggest changes during this time?
An interesting question that is often asked but cannot be answered in one word. Undoubtedly, it is the degree of automation, and here first and foremost the use of robots, which is now indispensable in foundries. There is also no alternative to new inorganic binder systems for molds and cores as a contribution to reducing emissions.
As an energy-intensive industry, foundries have an important role to play in terms of environmentally friendly production processes. A major rethink has taken place here in recent years, and the first foundries are on the way to developing more and more energy-neutral production processes. Light metal foundries in particular play a major role here.
A rather negative aspect is the increasingly obvious shortage of skilled workers. Here, universities, colleges and technical schools in particular are under obligation.
What role does dry ice blasting technology play in the foundry industry?
With this innovative process, it is important to emphasize not only the environmentally friendly aspect, but also the result of the blasting process. For example, you cannot get a core box clean that quickly with any other cleaning process. Moreover, this type of cleaning is gentle on the ingot molds, the molds or the core boxes.
How do you rate dry ice blasting technology compared to alternative cleaning methods?
Due to the sudden temperature difference, the layer to be removed (for example, binder coating in core boxes) is cooled down considerably and becomes brittle. This creates cracks in the layer, in which the dry ice particles settle and sublimate to a gaseous state due to the impact. As the volume of the carbon dioxide increases greatly in the process, the layer to be removed is detached. This means that the dry ice skips the liquid aggregate state during the phase transition. Therefore, no solid or liquid blasting material remains after dry ice blasting. When used correctly, the surface to be cleaned is not damaged, so there is no abrasion (removal of material). This is the great advantage of this process and, by the way, the objects to be cleaned do not have to be dismantled.
As an engineer, what services do you offer to foundries?
First and foremost, it is a temporary cooperation directly in the foundry to solve problems, for example, in melting technology and metallurgy, in molding and core technology processes, in complete production processes and the like. One of the main focuses is the reduction of scrap. We offer support in the detection, interpretation and prevention of scrap and structural defects and implement the solutions together with the foundry staff directly on site.
Last but not least, we offer training for foundry employees in metallurgy, mold and core making technology, process technology and quality assurance.
In addition, our www.giessereilexikon.com, an encyclopedia of bundled expertise, is available free of charge to any interested reader.
What major trends do you see coming to the foundry industry, what changes will there be?
Here I would just like to point out key points which will occupy us in the next few years: Digitalization - virtual reality - environmental protection and saving raw materials - additive manufacturing - further automation.
Dipl.-Ing. Dr. mont. Stephan Hasse