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Abstract

The problem considered in the paper is motivated by production planning in a foundry equipped with the furnace and casting line, which provides a variety of castings in various grades of cast iron/steel for a large number of customers. The quantity of molten metal does not exceed the capacity of the furnace, the load is a particular type of metal from which the products are made. The goal is to create the order of the melted metal loads to prevent delays in delivery of goods to customers. This problem is generally considered as a lot-sizing and scheduling problem. The paper describes a mathematical programming model that formally defines the optimization problem and its relaxed version that is based on the conception of rolling-horizon planning
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Abstract

The paper discusses the impact of the geometry of foundry pallet components on the value of temperature gradient on the wall crosssection during heat treatment. The gradient is one of the most important factors determining the distribution of thermal stresses in these items. Analysis of quantitative simulation was carried out to detect possible effect of the type of connection between pallet walls and thickness of these walls (ribs) on the interior temperature distribution during rapid cooling. The analysis was performed for five basic designs of wall connections used in pallets. Basing on the results obtained, the conclusions were drawn on the best connection between the ribs in foundry pallets.
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Abstract

Theory and practice of environmental protection in the case of foundries in Europe and Asia • Experience resulting from the cooperation with the foundries in a few European countries, China and India • Phenomena and factors affecting the pollution of the natural environment and the implementation of measures aiming at the environmental protection Every specialist dealing with foundry processes and their impact on environmental pollution must have encountered in their professional careers numerous situations in which the theory of environmental protection confronts the stark reality. The discrepancy between theory and practice can particularly be noticed in foundry engineering in developing countries where the contrasts between different countries and casting plants are extremely striking. The comparison of working conditions in European and Asian foundries provides a vast scope for further observations and analyses. Environmental protection seems not only a concern of manufacturers of castings, but also of their customers whose opinion exerts a significant influence on both the acceptability of working conditions and on the approach to environmental pollution adopted in metal casting industry. The article presents a number of examples of various outlooks on environmental issues in foundries manufacturing a wide range of cast steel and cast iron castings, where different technologies and production processes are applied.
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Abstract

The problem considered in the paper is motivated by production planning in a foundry equipped with the furnace and casting line, which provides a variety of castings in various grades of cast iron/steel for a large number of customers. The quantity of molten metal does not exceed the capacity of the furnace, the load is a particular type of metal from which the products are made in the automatic casting lines. The goal is to create the order of the melted metal loads to prevent delays in delivery of goods to customers. This problem is generally considered as a lot-sizing and scheduling problem. The paper describes two computational intelligence algorithms for simultaneous grouping and scheduling tasks and presents the results achieved by these algorithms for example test problems.
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Abstract

Mathematical programming, constraint programming and computational intelligence techniques, presented in the literature in the field of operations research and production management, are generally inadequate for planning real-life production process. These methods are in fact dedicated to solving the standard problems such as shop floor scheduling or lot-sizing, or their simple combinations such as scheduling with batching. Whereas many real-world production planning problems require the simultaneous solution of several problems (in addition to task scheduling and lot-sizing, the problems such as cutting, workforce scheduling, packing and transport issues), including the problems that are difficult to structure. The article presents examples and classification of production planning and scheduling systems in the foundry industry described in the literature, and also outlines the possible development directions of models and algorithms used in such systems.
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Abstract

Access to up-to-date information on technology, innovation, source publications, and the materials and services offered in a particular industry is very important for both industrial plants and departmental research centres. It should be noted that obtaining such information using publicly available search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Bindu (mainly used in China) is only apparently easy because, due to their versatility, they deliver results with great redundancy. This leads to the need to analyze large data sets by linguistic methods or "manually", which is very tedious and time consuming. In this situation, it was considered reasonable to undertake studies aimed at acquiring relatively simple IT tools, i.e. crawlers, which allow their users to selectively search for information in a particular problem area, which in this particular case is casting. The intention of this work was to collect and analyze the experimental material that would allow describing the characteristics of the above solutions from the point of view of the range of their application, the quality of the results achieved, and possible limitations and preferences taking into account user needs [1, 2].
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Abstract

The problem of materials selection in terms of their mechanical properties during the design of new products is a key issue of design. The complexity of this process is mainly due to a multitude of variants in the previously produced materials and the possibility of their further processing improving the properties. In everyday practice, the problem is solved basing on expert or designer knowledge. The paper is the proposition of a solution using computer-aided analysis of material experimental data, which may be acquired from external data sources. In both cases, taking into account the rapid growth of data, additional tools become increasingly important, mainly those which offer support for adding, viewing, and simple comparison of different experiments. In this paper, the use of formal knowledge representation in the form of an ontology is proposed as a bridge between physical repositories of data in the form of files and user queries, which are usually formulated in natural language. The number and the sophisticated internal structure of attributes or parameters that could be the criteria of the search for the user are an important issue in the traditional data search tools. Ontology, as a formal representation of knowledge, enables taking into account the known relationships between concepts in the field of cast iron, materials used and processing techniques. This allows the user to receive support by searching the results of experiments that relate to a specific material or processing treatment. Automatic presentation of the results which relate to similar materials or similar processing treatments is also possible, which should make the conducted analysis of the selection of materials or processing treatments more comprehensive by including a wider range of possible solutions.
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Abstract

The paper presents results of initial research on the possibility of applying microwave radiation in an innovative process of making casting moulds from silica sand, where gypsum CaSO4∙2H2O was acting as a binding material. In the research were compared strengths and technological properties of moulding mixture subjected to: natural bonding process at ambient temperature or natural curing with additional microwave drying or heating with the use of microwaves immediately after samples were formed. Used in the research moulding sands, in which dry constituents i.e. sand matrix and gypsum were mixed in the ratio: 89/11. On the basis of the results of strength tests which were obtained by various curing methods, beneficial effect of using microwaves at 2.45 GHz for drying up was observed after 1, 2 and 5 hours since moisture sandmix was formed. Applying the microwaves for hardening just after forming the samples guarantees satisfactory results in the obtained mechanical parameters. In addition, it has been noted that, from a technological and economic point of view, drying the silica sand with gypsum binder in microwave field can be an alternative to traditional molding sand technologies.
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Abstract

The paper outlines the methodology of virtual design of a foundry plant as a system. The most important stage in the procedure involves the development of a model defined as a set of data about the system. Model development involves two stages: defining the model’s architecture and specifying the model data in the form of parameters and input-output relationships. The structure is understood as configuration of machines and transport units, representing the sub-systems and system components. As the main purpose of the simulation procedure is to find the characteristics of the system’s behaviour, the merits of the iterative method involving analysis, synthesis and evaluation of results are fully explored.
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Abstract

The dimensional accuracy of a final casting of Inconel 738 LC alloy is affected by many aspects. One of them is the choice of method and time of cooling the wax model for precision investment casting. The main objective of this work was to study the initial deformation of the complex shape of a rotor blades casting. Various approaches have been tested for cooling a wax pattern. When wax models are air cooled and without clamping in the jig for cooling, deviations from the ideal shape of the casting are very noticeable (up to 8 mm) and most are in extreme positions of the model. When the blade is cooled in the fixing jig in a water environment, the resulting deviations compared to those of air cooling are significantly larger, sometimes up to 10 mm. This itself does not mean that the final shape of the casting is dimensionally more accurate with the usage of wax models, which have smaller deviations from the ideal position. Another deformation occurs when the shell mould is produced around the wax pattern and further deformations emerge while cooling the blade casting. This paper demonstrates the first steps in describing the complex process of deformations occurring in Inconel alloy blades produced with investment casting technology by comparing results of thermal imagery, simulations in foundry simulation software ProCAST 2010, and measurements from a CNC scanning system using a Carl Zeiss MC 850. Conclusions are so far not groundbreaking, but it seems that deformations of the wax pattern and deformations of the castings do in some cases cancel each other by having opposite directions. Describing the whole process of deformations will help increase the precision of blade castings so that the models at the beginning and the blades in the end are the same.
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Abstract

This article presents a practical solution in the form of implementation of agent-based platform for the management of contracts in a network of foundries. The described implementation is a continuation of earlier scientific work in the field of design and theoretical system specification for cooperating companies [1]. The implementation addresses key design assumptions - the system is implemented using multi-agent technology, which offers the possibility of decentralisation and distributed processing of specified contracts and tenders. The implemented system enables the joint management of orders for a network of small and medium-sized metallurgical plants, while providing them with greater competitiveness and the ability to carry out large procurements. The article presents the functional aspects of the system - the user interface and the principle of operation of individual agents that represent businesses seeking potential suppliers or recipients of services and products. Additionally, the system is equipped with a bi-directional agent translating standards based on ontologies, which aims to automate the decision-making process during tender specifications as a response to the request.
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Abstract

A measuring system was developed for the measurement of ejector forces in the die casting process. When selecting the sensor technology, particular care was taken to ensure that measurements can be taken with a high sampling rate so that the fast-running ejection process can be recorded. For this reason, the system uses piezoelectric force sensors which measure the forces directly at the individual ejector pins. In this way, depending on the number of sensors, it is possible to determine both the individual ejector forces and the total ejector force. The system is expandable and adaptable with regard to the number and position of the sensors and can also be applied to real HPDC components. Automatic triggering of the measurements is also possible. In addition to the measuring system, a device and a method for in-situ calibration of the sensors have also been developed. To test the measuring system, casting experiments were carried out with a real aluminium HPDC aluminium component. The experiments showed that it is possible to measure the ejector forces with sufficient sampling rate and also to observe the process steps of filling, intensification and die opening by means of ejector forces. Experimental setup serves as a basis for future investigations regarding the influencing parameters on the ejection process.
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Abstract

The article presents issues related to creating and realizing added value by logistic processes and processing in a casting enterprise. It discusses possibilities of improving systems of casts production by evaluating labour intensity of casts manufacture and analyzing manufacturing prime costs. Operations with added value, processes indirectly creating added value and operations without added value have been specified. The problem was presented on the example of materials flow design in a foundry, where casts are manufactured in expendable moulds and using automated foundry lines. On the basis of the Pareto analysis, a group of casts was specified whose manufacture significantly influences the functioning of the whole enterprise. Finishing treatment operations have been particularly underlined, as they are performed away from the line and are among the most labour-consuming processes during casts production.
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Abstract

The article presents the issues of costs analysis of iron casts manufacturing using automated foundry lines. Particular attention was paid to departmental costs, conversion costs and costs of in-plant transport. After the Pareto analysis had been carried out, it was possible to set the model area of the process and focus on improving activities related to finishing of a chosen group of casts. In order to eliminate losses, the activities realised in this domain were divided into activities with added value, activities with partially added value and activities without added value. To streamline the production flow, it was proposed to change the location of workstations related to grinding, control and machining of casts. Within the process of constant improvement of manufacturing processes, the aspect of work ergonomics at a workstation was taken into account. As a result of the undertaken actions, some activities without added value were eliminated, efficiency was increased and prime costs of manufacturing casts with regard to finishing treatment were lowered.
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Abstract

Precision casting is currently motivated by high demand especially for castings for the aerospace, automotive and gas turbine industries. High demands on precision of this parts pressure foundries to search for the new tools which can help them to improve the production. One of these tools is the numerical simulation of injection process, whereas such software especially for investment casting wax injection, process does not exist yet and for this case must be the existing software, for alloys or plastic, modified. This paper focuses on the use of numerical simulations to predict the behavior of injected models of gas turbine blades segments. The properties of wax mixtures, which were imported into the Cadmould simulation software as a material model, were found. The results of the simulations were verified using the results of 3D scanning measurements of wax models. As a supporting technology for verifying the results was used the Infrared Thermography.
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Abstract

The article describes the problem of selection of heat treatment parameters to obtain the required mechanical properties in heat- treated bronzes. A methodology for the construction of a classification model based on rough set theory is presented. A model of this type allows the construction of inference rules also in the case when our knowledge of the existing phenomena is incomplete, and this is situation commonly encountered when new materials enter the market. In the case of new test materials, such as the grade of bronze described in this article, we still lack full knowledge and the choice of heat treatment parameters is based on a fragmentary knowledge resulting from experimental studies. The measurement results can be useful in building of a model, this model, however, cannot be deterministic, but can only approximate the stochastic nature of phenomena. The use of rough set theory allows for efficient inference also in areas that are not yet fully explored.
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Abstract

This article presents a computer system for the identification of casting defects using the methodology of Case-Based Reasoning. The system is a decision support tool in the diagnosis of defects in castings and is designed for small and medium-sized plants, where it is not possible to take advantage of multi-criteria data. Without access to complete process data, the diagnosis of casting defects requires the use of methods which process the information based on the experience and observations of a technologist responsible for the inspection of ready castings. The problem, known and studied for a long time, was decided to be solved with a computer system using a CBR (CaseBased Reasoning) methodology. The CBR methodology not only allows using expert knowledge accumulated in the implementation phase, but also provides the system with an opportunity to "learn" by collecting new cases solved earlier by this system. The authors present a solution to the system of inference based on the accumulated cases, in which the main principle of operation is searching for similarities between the cases observed and cases stored in the knowledge base.
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Abstract

The paper presents a novel Iterated Local Search (ILS) algorithm to solve multi-item multi-family capacitated lot-sizing problem with setup costs independent of the family sequence. The model has a direct application to real production planning in foundry industry, where the goal is to create the batches of manufactured castings and the sequence of the melted metal loads to prevent delays in delivery of goods to clients. We extended existing models by introducing minimal utilization of furnace capacity during preparing melted alloy. We developed simple and fast ILS algorithm with problem-specific operators that are responsible for the local search procedure. The computational experiments on ten instances of the problem showed that the presence of minimum furnace utilization constraint has great impact on economic and technological conditions of castings production. For all test instances the proposed heuristic is able to provide the results that are comparable to state-of-the art commercial solver.
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Abstract

The results of research on the effect of the type of cooling agent used during heat treatment and thermal-chemical treatment on the formation of temperature gradient and stress-deformation distribution in cast pallets, which are part of furnace accessories used in this treatment, are disclosed. During operation, pallets are exposed to the effect of the same conditions as the charge they are carrying. Cyclic thermal loads are the main cause of excessive deformations or cracks, which after some time of the cast pallet operation result in its withdrawal due to damage. One of the major causes of this damage are stresses formed under the effect of temperature gradient in the unevenly cooled pallet construction. Studies focused on the analysis of heat flow in a charge-loaded pallet, cooled by various cooling agents characterized by different heat transfer coefficients and temperature. Based on the obtained temperature distribution, the stress distribution and the resulting deformation were examined. The results enabled drawing relevant conclusions about the effect of cooling conditions on stresses formed in the direction of the largest temperature gradient.
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Abstract

The mathematical and numerical simulation model of the liquid steel flow in a tundish is presented in this paper. The problem was treated as a complex and solved by the finite element method. The single-strand slab tundish is used to continuous casting slabs. The internal work space of the tundish was modified by the following flow control devices. The first device was a striker pad situated in the pouring tundish zone. The second device was a baffle with three holes and the third device was a baffle without hole. The main purpose of using these devices was to cause a quiet liquid mixing as well as give directional metal flow upwards which facilitated inclusion floatation. The interaction of flow control devices on hydrodynamic conditions was received from numerical simulation. As a result of the computations carried out, the liquid steel flow and steel temperature fields were obtained. The influence of the tundish modification on velocity fields in the liquid phase of steel was estimated, because these have an essential influence on high quality of a continuous steel cast slab.
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Abstract

This work presents the project of the application of Case-based reasoning (CBR) methodology to an advisory system. This system should give an assistance by selection of proper alloying additives in order to obtain a material with predetermined mechanical properties. The considered material is silumin EN AC-46000 (hypoeutectic Al-Si alloy) that is modified by the addition of Cr, Mo, V and W elements in the range from 0% to 0.5% in the modified alloy. The projected system should indicate to the user the content of particular additives so that the obtained material is in the chosen range of parameters: tensile strength Rm, yield strength Rp0.2, elongation A and hardness HB. The CBR methodology solves new problems basing on the solutions of similar problems resolved in the past. The advantage of the CBR application is that the advisory system increases knowledge base as the subsequent use of the system. The presented design of the advisory system also considers issues related to the ergonomics of its operation.
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Abstract

The paper presents some aspects of a development project related to Industry 4.0 that was executed at Nemak, a leading manufacturer of the aluminium castings for the automotive industry, in its high pressure die casting foundry in Poland. The developed data analytics system aims at predicting the casting quality basing on the production data. The objective is to use these data for optimizing process parameters to raise the products’ quality as well as to improve the productivity. Characterization of the production data including the recorded process parameters and the role of mechanical properties of the castings as the process outputs is presented. The system incorporates advanced data analytics and computation tools based on the analysis of variance (ANOVA) and applying an MS Excel platform. It enables the foundry engineers and operators finding the most efficient process variables to ensure high mechanical properties of the aluminium engine block castings. The main features of the system are explained and illustrated by appropriate graphs. Chances and threats connected with applications of the data-driven modelling in die casting are discussed.
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Abstract

The article presents an integrated analytical and measurement system for evaluation of the properties of cast metals and alloys. The presented platform is an extension of the SLAG - PROP application with new modules, which allow to use information on metallurgical processes in an even more effective way, as well as to evaluate the finished product. In addition, the construction of a measuring station for the analysis of thermal processes taking place in a metal bath allows for precise observation of phenomena together with their appropriate interpretation. The article presents not only the cooling curves of certain copper alloys. The analysis also covered mechanical properties related to hardness, finished products depending on the mold in which the products were cast. In the literature one can find information about the mechanical properties of products in the improved state, usually after plastic or thermal treatment, omitting their properties obtained as a result of a naturally made casting. The article also presents the method of placing information in the database using a convenient graphical tool.
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Abstract

By the very nature of their work, castings used in furnaces for heat treatment and thermo-chemical treatment are exposed to the effect of many unfavorable factors causing their deformation and cracking, significantly shortening the lifetime. The main source of damage are the micro- and macro-thermal stresses appearing in each cycle. As the cost of furnace instrumentation forms a significant part of the total furnace cost, in designing this type of tooling it is important to develop solutions that delay the damage formation process and thus extend the casting operation time. In this article, two structural modifications introduced to pallets castings to reduce thermal stresses arising at various stages of the cooling process are proposed. The essence of the first modification consists in making technological recesses in the wall connections, while the aim of the second one is to reduce the stiffness of the pallet by placing expanders in the external walls. Using the results of simulation analyses carried out by the finite element method, the impact of both proposed solutions on the level of thermal stresses was evaluated.
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to establish a relationship between the type of wall connection used in the cast grates, which are part of the equipment operating in furnaces for heat treatment and thermal-chemical treatment, and stresses generated in these grates during the process of rapid cooling. The places where the grate walls are connected to each other are usually characterized by the thickness larger than the remaining parts of walls. Temperature variations in those places are responsible for the formation of hot spots, and in the hot spots temperature changes much more slowly. The type of wall connection shapes the temperature gradient in the joint cross-section, and hence also the value of thermal stresses generated during cooling. In this study, five different designs of the grates were compared; the difference in them was the type of the designed wall connection. The following design variants were adopted in the studies: X connections with and without holes, T connections with and without technological recesses, and R (ring) connection. Numerical analysis was performed to examine how the distribution of temperature changes in the initial phases of the cooling process. The obtained results served next as a tool in studies of the stress distribution in individual structures. The analysis were carried out by FEM in Midas NFX 2014 software. Based on the results obtained, the conclusions were drawn about the impact of different types of wall connections on the formation of thermal stresses in cast grates.
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