The melting furnace charging phase is a really important production process. The pickup of material by crane, timing of addition, materials addition order…all these actions are, generally speaking, in operators’ hands.
With ITACA Charge, ProserviceTech extends the well-known concept of integration, guided procedures and process analysis also to this process phase:
- Optimization of furnace charging time;
- Optimization of furnace induction yield;
- Improvement of foundry capability;
- Automatic charge recalculation;
- Furnace charge automation.
ITACA Charge is an active system that can work at different integration levels.
In the Stand-Alone version, it guides the operators through the charging of recipes and materials, using a time-based procedure and different addition steps in order to improve charging and melting efficiency.
The internal database of recipes and materials is the core of ProserviceTech control philosophy. Each material is associated to:
- A description
- One or more positions of dosing and stocking (i.e. bunker 6, silo 3, etc.)
- Addition step (i.e. charging, trimming, etc.)
- Physical properties (density, granulometry, min size, cost, etc.)
- Max amount that can be added.
There are no limits to the number of materials that can be added/modified.
A special remark is focused on the function yield that can be simple percentage, complex functions or functions deriving from auto-learning algorithms. This because the same material can have different behavior when added in different phases and the system must keep this aspect in consideration.
Once the materials database is created, it is possible to create the recipes database.
Guided procedures: avoiding operator mistakes
For ITACA Charge, the recipe is a loading procedure that the operators must follow definitely: materials, quantitiesand number of steps (if the charge has to be done in one or more steps). The operators are guided through different actions, with time-based procedures, in order to decrease charging and melting time.
Each material is linked to a pick-up bunker and consequently to a specific set of rules of working:
- The charge car is divided into 3 unloading zones and each material is assigned to a specific area, in order to maximize the efficiency of the induction;
- The recipe is automatically recalculated in case of mistake (or intentional choices) on type and/or quantity of released material;
- Corrective materials are optimized in order to reach physical-chemical targets, through the connection with ITACA Meltdeck;
- ITACA Charge ensures total traceability of charged materials, times, power and energy for each batch;
Not only “software”
The integration with existing (or brand-new) load cells is the second “natural” step for the foundry. It seems a trivial operation, but there are many aspects that can strongly affect the measurement made by the system:
- Load cell sensitivity;
- Rope length;
- Rope swinging;
- Lifting acceleration and speed;
- Lifting time.
Everything is considered by ProserviceTech.
Fully Automatic Charging system
The full version of ITACA Charge, additionally to all the features previously described, provides the interfacing and control of the charging crane. In this case, the request can arrive directly from the melting furnace operator and the system starts to prepare the furnace charge. ITACA Charge splits the recipe in a charging program that is sent to the charging crane and to the dosing machines (or to some specific displays, in case of manual dosing) and manages the queue list of the charging and trimming operations, granting optimization and adherence to the procedure and the established priorities. For each operation, ITACA Charge manages the start, acceleration, path, speed and deceleration of the charge crane and decides if it is convenient (or not) to bring the material to destination or to try with another taking.
The main goals of ITACA Charge are to reduce and optimize the charging and melting time and to minimize the variance of the liquid iron reducing, in this way, also the need of trimming . Thanks to ITACA Charge, our customers increased charging and melting yield, reducing the global charging time by 23% and ensuring additional 6000 tons capability per year.