The demand for high quality foundry products and their cost effective production places high demands for furnace charging equipments
in melting plants. Though much of the initial head way made in foundry automation was with the mould making process, more important is the melt shop automation. This includes remote furnace charging systems. Automation is mainly thought of as a solution to high labour cost and it certainly can increase workers productivity. However, much more important today is the effect of automation on quality. Another important advantage that automation provides in foundry environment is enhanced safety. For example automation allows foundry men to work at a safe distance from molten metal or do their jobs behind protective barriers thus reducing injuries from metal splash or furnace eruption. Also where automation exercises monitoring & control functions, it helps prevent accidents related to in-attention or judgement errors.
Today's most technologically advanced induction furnaces provide high power densities and are able to run to full power throughout the charging process. These furnace require rapid charging to keep pace with the melting power of the system. In many foundries, however, charging the furnace can be a labour - intensive. Moreover, manual operation is too slow which does not allow maximum utilization of the melting system. Charge materials are simply dumped into the furnace with wheel barrows or dropped in by hand essentially the same way as it has been done for centuries. Besides the inefficient use of time and manpower, manual charging can damage furnace lining if heavy charge materials are dropped into the furnace, thus gouging or cracking the wall or bottom refractory. In induction furnaces improper manual charging can also lead to dangerous bridging situation in which tangled pieces of scrap from a layer above and apart from the molten bath. If unrecognised by the furnace operator, bridging can lead to superheating of the bath, failure of the furnace lining and run out.
Manual charging also directly exposes melt deck workers to the dangers of metal splash from charge materials hitting the molten bath and of furnace eruption or explosion caused by wet or damp charge materials. Metal splash is one of the most common melt deck hazards & ideally, melt deck worker should be away from the furnace or behind protective barriers during charging which can only be accomplished with remote systems. Remote charging systems enhance safety not only by allowing melt deck worker to be away from the furnace during charging, but by reducing the chances of damage to the furnace lining & the likelihood of bridging situation.