StrikoWestofen: Westomat increases efficiency and productivity of European aluminium foundries
Westomat dosing furnace or conventional ladle system? This is the decision which more and more operators of foundries in Europe are confronted with when modernizing or expanding their systems. This was also the case with the Celikel foundry in the region of Kocaeli (Turkey) and with another large foundry in Coventry (United Kingdom). For both companies, the focus was on increased productivity of the systems and improved quality of the castings. Against this background, they decided on the dosing furnace technology from StrikoWestofen in Gummersbach. Thanks to the high availability of this technology and the considerably reduced reject rate, these investments pay for themselves during the first year of operation.
In particular industrial companies with high costs for materials and energy – such as aluminium foundries – constantly have to ensure optimum operating states for their systems in day-to-day production. Excessively high energy input, machine downtimes, material losses due to contaminated melts and high reject rates significantly reduce profitability. “Especially with regard to these aspects, our Westomat dosing furnaces have their strengths,” explains Rudolf Riedel, manager of the StrikoWestofen Group headquartered in Gummersbach. “We thus offer an advanced technology which allows foundry systems to be operated in a cost-optimized way.”
More efficiency thanks to closed system
Some of the special features of Westomat dosing furnaces are their process reliability, the extremely low effort required for cleaning and the high quality of the melt. “The closed system minimizes temperature fluctuations and oxide formation. In addition, the melt is removed below bath level, thus also preventing the entry of oxides and significantly increasing the quality of the melt,” says Peter Reuther, Sales Director Europe at StrikoWestofen, on the advantages of the system. “The result is a considerably improved productivity in comparison with conventional ladle systems. Up-to-date empirical surveys conducted with a large customer in the UK show that 15 to 20 additional castings in one 24-hour shift are not uncommon. Extrapolated over a whole year, we are talking about an additional productivity of about 20,000 euros per dosing furnace here. This corresponds with an increase in productivity of about 1.5 percent.” A total of 14 StrikoWestofen dosing systems of varying sizes are operated by the British automobile supplier. Negotiations on another twelve systems for a new production location are pending.
These benefits also convinced the operators of the “Celikel” foundry located in the Turkish province of Kocaeli near the Black Sea. The company produces aluminium die-cast parts for household appliances and automotive applications and has been operating several StrikoMelter melting systems for more than ten years now. “We had the opportunity to experience StrikoWestofen’s products and services in day-to-day foundry operation. And we decided on the dosing systems from Gummersbach when planning our new facility,” says Erdem Aydogmus, Foundry Manager at Celikel in Turkey. “We are expecting the ten dosing systems which have now been installed to give us a decisive competitive advantage. In particular low metal losses, low energy consumption and a low reject rate have a great influence on the unit costs. The use of the Westomat dosing furnace allowed the metal loss to be reduced by about 80 percent and the energy consumption by approx. 30 percent compared with a bale-out furnace with a ladle system. At the same time, the plant availability increased, and consequently the productivity rose too. As a by-product, this allowed us to make a sizeable contribution to improving the carbon footprint.” Being a manufacturer of components for the automotive sector, Celikel is also especially interested in a high dosing accuracy and an optimum, reproducible metal quality. “These two aspects really show what our Westomat dosing furnaces are capable of,” says Reuther contentedly. “The closed furnace system gives a higher constancy to the temperature control of the melt. As Erdem Aydogmus adds, “The Westomat dosing system makes an important contribution to allowing us to produce as many high-quality castings as possible in ongoing operation while consuming as few resources as possible.”