Foundry & Die Casting Robotics

Foundry & Die Casting Robotics

Aluminum melts at around 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit (650 degrees Celsius); and carbon steel melts at around 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit (1,500 degrees Celsius). Temperatures like those make foundries unpleasant places for people, but ideal locations for robots. Tending die cast machinery, ladling molten metal, spraying mold release, and trimming excess metal are all excellent robot applications. Producing quality castings demands consistent process timing, and that's another benefit from deploying advanced robotic technology in the foundry. Acieta has implemented many foundry systems for tasks like unloading die cast machinery, pouring and material removal, and understands the special requirements of this challenging environment.

Material Handling

Pouring molten metal takes a steady hand, and nothing is more stable than a robot. Optimized to deliver the same quantity every time, a robot skims dross and ladles metal more repeatedly than any human, which eliminates turbulence and spills. The same goes for loading inserts and extracting solidified castings, where the die is cooling while open. Plus, the robot can reach between dies too hot for a human — saving energy and reducing cycle time.

Material Removal

Sprue — the unwanted runners, risers and flash — is inevitable in casting and must be removed before pieces move to downstream operations. A robot can carry a grinding wheel or other cutter to trim away this unwanted material or could load cast shapes into a de-gating or trimming press. In a high-volume cell, one robot could unload and place the pieces while the second wields the cutter, or when volumes are lower, a single robot might do both jobs — changing tools, as needed.

Spraying

Dies often need a film of lubricant spraying over their surfaces while open. This is difficult for a human to do consistently. Access is poor, mist obscures the view and fatigue quickly occurs. This leads to excess lubricant in some areas and insufficient lubricant in others. The result is uneven die cooling and casting defects. For a robot it's a straightforward task. It just follows the programmed path every time.

Foundry Operations

Sand casting foundries are a little different, yet have many similar tasks for robots. Handling sand castings is one example where damage is reduced. Metal skimming and pouring, core assembly and extraction are others.

Benefits of deploying foundry and die cast robotics include:

  • Higher output per hour and per shift, because the robot doesn't take breaks or get tired.
  • Less scrap, because dies, cores and sand molds don't get damaged, and because the process is performed consistently, so metal is poured the same way and there's far less temperature variation.
  • Higher material yields. Only a minimum of dross is skimmed each time and pours are consistent with just enough going into the cavity to ensure a complete fill.
  • Safer working environment. The dangers of molten metal may be obvious, but foundries and die casting shops have other dangers, too. Heat, dust, noise and fumes all conspire to make them hazardous workplaces.

Acieta: The Robotic Foundry Systems Company

Implementing foundry and die cast robotics demands extensive automation experience, combined with respect for hostile environments. Acieta is very familiar with die cast systems and by partnering with FANUC, has access to an impressive family of advanced robots. Working together, we have completed many successful robot applications for foundries, die casters and more

To discuss known automation opportunities or discover new ones: