Maintain productivity – exploit potential

Topic of the month - March 2015

© Striko Westofen Group

Low operation costs, low maintenance and high energy efficiency: These were the key arguments for the world’s leading cooking utensil castor Neoflam to invest for the first time in seven Westomat furnaces © Striko Westofen Group

Westomat convinces cooking utensil castor Neoflam

South Korean company Neoflam wanted to reduce costs and increase productivity when it opted to acquire a total of seven Westomat dosing furnaces from StrikoWestofen Asia instead of ladle systems.

Not only the significantly lower operating costs but also the easier setup and operation thanks to the new ProDos 3 control convinced the pots and pans manufacturer. Compared to the casting ladle system, dosing furnaces are characterised by higher availability and much lower oxide formation.

As a result, the casting quality increases while metal loss and the need for cleaning decrease. Also important to Neoflam was StrikoWestofen's comprehensive range of wear parts and services at local level.

Energy efficiency and low operating costs

The increasing importance of the availability, quality and durability of foundry plants and resource efficiency in the Asian metal industry is proved, among other things, by the StrikoWestofen Group's growth figures in Asia.

With a current increase in sales of approximately 50% – with the previous year's increase even being more than 100% – the Chinese location (Taicang) of the Gummersbach-based company has now developed into the preferred supplier of the most successful aluminium foundries in the People's Republic.

News of this has also spread to other Asian countries: As part of its expansion, Neoflam, one of the world's largest pots and pans manufacturers from Seoul, South Korea, has opted for the dosing and smelting furnaces of StrikoWestofen. In order to expand the location in Korea and to set up a further production site in China, the cooking utensil specialist has invested also in seven Westomat dosing furnaces, in addition to StrikoMelter smelting furnaces.
© Striko Westofen Group

Westomat by StrikoWestofen: Contrary to the casting ladle system, a dosing furnace impresses with a considerable higher smelting quality, low metal loss and low energy consumption. © Striko Westofen Group

Invest for the long term

"Although Neoflam was initially interested in a ladle system, it was convinced by the Westomat's high energy efficiency and significantly lower operating costs,“ explains Rainer Erdmann, Managing Director of StrikoWestofen Asia. "Compared to the casting ladle system, the dosing furnace impresses with a considerably higher smelting quality, low metal loss and low energy consumption."

In addition, foundries benefit from the durability of the Westomat and the very little effort needed to be expended in cleaning it. The dosing system optimises the continuous processes, thus ensuring constant availability of the system. The investment costs pay off for Neoflam within just two years.

Service offer on location

An additional purchase argument for Neoflam was StrikoWestofen's extensive range of local services with training sessions, technical support, a repair and maintenance service, a hotline and spare part supply. This allows the foundries to operate their plants free of disruptions, with the highest productivity.

"With the speed and high technical expertise of our service team, we can stand out clearly from the competition. And when required, we mostly deliver original parts for our products ex works, at local level," says Rudi Riedel, Managing Director of the StrikoWestofen Group. Even though Neoflam has only just successfully commissioned the seven new dosing furnaces, the leading pots and pans manufacturer is already negotiating with StrikoWestofen regarding a second helping: more StrikoMelter and Westomat furnaces.
© Striko Westofen Group

Tested and approved: for more than ten years, the foundry Celikel has operated several StrikoMelter smelting furnaces. Satisfied with the service and system performance, the management has now also opted for Westomat dosing furnaces from StrikoWestofen instead of ladling systems to equip its new plant. © Striko Westofen Group

Westomat dosing furnaces also increase the efficiency and productivity of European aluminium foundries

Dosing furnace or traditional ladle system? More and more foundry operators are asking themselves this question when it comes to modernising or expanding their plants. This is the case, for instance, for the foundry Celikel from the Turkish region of Kocaeli as well as another large foundry in Coventry, Great Britain.

For both companies, the focus was on increased plant productivity and increased quality of the cast parts. Against this backdrop, they opted for the dosing furnace technology from Gummersbach-based StrikoWestofen. Thanks to high availability and a significantly reduced reject rate, these investments pay off already within the first year of operation.

Especially industrial firms with high energy and material costs – like aluminium foundries – must continuously focus on ensuring the optimum operating conditions of their plants in daily production. Overly high energy use, increased effort required in cleaning, machine downtime, material loss due to soiled smelting and thus increased reject rates reduce profitability.

"The strength of our Westomat dosing furnaces lies in these very aspects," says Managing Director Rudolf Riedel. "We thus offer advanced technology that allows cost-optimised operation of foundry plants."

Efficiency gain through closed system

Westomat dosing furnaces are particularly characterised by their process reliability, their very low cleaning requirements and the smelting quality. "The closed-loop system minimises temperature fluctuations and oxide formation. In addition, the molten material is removed underneath the solution level, which also prevents the entry of oxides and significantly increases the smelting quality," says Peter Reuther, Sales Director Europe at StrikoWestofen, describing the advantages of the system.

"The result is much higher productivity compared to traditional ladle systems. Current empirical studies at a major customer in Great Britain are showing that 15 to 20 additional cast parts in a 24-hour shift are no rarity. We are talking here of additional productivity of approximately EUR 20,000 per dosing furnace per year. This equates to an increase in productivity of approximately 1.5%." The British automotive supplier operates a total of 14 StrikoWestofen dosing systems of different sizes. A further twelve furnaces are being discussed for a new production site.
© Striko Westofen Group

Empirical studies show: Compared to conventional ladling systems, Westomat dosing furnaces can produce 15 to 20 additional cast parts in a 24-hour shift. This results in additional productivity of approximately EUR 20,000 per year. © Striko Westofen Group

Convincing cooperation

These advantages also convinced Turkish foundry Celikel, based by the Black Sea. The company produces aluminium parts for household appliances and cars using the die-casting technique. Several StrikoMelter smelting units have already been in operation there for more than ten years.

"In daily foundry operations, we experienced the products and service of StrikoWestofen. In planning our new plant, we have now also opted for dosing systems from Gummersbach," says Erdem Aydogmus, Foundry Manager at Celikel in Turkey.

"We now have ten dosing systems installed and we expect them to give us a crucial competitive advantage. In particular, metal loss, energy consumption and low emissions have a major impact on unit costs. Due to the use of the Westomat, metal loss has decreased by approximately 80% and energy consumption by approximately 30% compared to a bale-out furnace with the ladle system. At the same time, system availability increased, with productivity thus increasing as well. Incidentally, a significant contribution was thus made to the improvement of our 'ecological footprint'."

Furthermore, as a manufacturer of components for the automotive industry, Celikel pays particular attention to high dosing accuracy and optimal, reproducible metal quality.

"Both are specialities of our Westomat dosing furnaces," says a pleased Reuther. Thanks to the closed-loop furnace system, we maintain high constancy in the temperature control of the smelting process. The closed-loop furnace system also prevents hydrogen absorption in the smelting process." Erdem Aydogmus adds: "The Westomat dosing system makes an important contribution to us producing as many good-quality cast parts as possible in day-to-day operations while using as few resources as possible."
Frank Lindner