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Norican Group ApS

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GIFA 2019 hall map (Hall 11): stand A74, stand A78

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GIFA 2019 fairground map: Hall 11

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Hall 11 / A74 – A78

25.06.2019

Topic

all-day

A ground-breaking tour of Norican Group’s ‘Complete Connected Foundry’

Greater than the sum of its parts: demonstrating the ‘Complete Connected Foundry’ at GIFA 2019.

Experience our ‘Complete Connected Foundry’ for diecasting and green sand foundries at GIFA 2019 from 25 to 29 June. You can find us and our 4 technologies: DISA, Italpresse Gauss, StrikoWestofen and Wheelabrator, powered by Norican Digital in Hall 11, stand A74-A78.

The range of innovation, technology and expertise across our group, and on show at GIFA, covers every aspect of foundry operation, from melting, dosing and green sand moulding, through to die casting, surface preparation and finishing.

With a complete focus on metal forming and preparation technologies, and with the additional proposition of being able to connect machinery, services and processes using dedicated data gathering hardware, and sophisticated IoT software solutions - powered by Norican Digital, we will be displaying innovations that deliver results addressing three fundamental themes; how to boost foundry productivity, optimise quality and control resources in line with current manufacturing demands.

GIFA provides the perfect opportunity for our industry to interact, share latest technical thinking and discuss emerging needs – for example around aluminium and new materials so come and join the conversation. You will also be able to hear from our team of experts, who will be delivering a range of special technical lectures and workshops. Geared at helping customers address key challenges and maximise opportunities at every point of their foundry process, the talks will take place as part of the official GIFA Technical Forum programme and as a series of on-stand events (Hall 11, stand A74-A78).

From taking a close look at how new technologies and services can support major industry trends such as sector shifts towards aluminium and metal alloys, to exploring how foundries can achieve their Industry 4.0 ambitions to boost productivity, quality and sustainability, the expert sessions will run throughout the show. 

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26.06.2019

Topic

all-day

A ground-breaking tour of Norican Group’s ‘Complete Connected Foundry’

Greater than the sum of its parts: demonstrating the ‘Complete Connected Foundry’ at GIFA 2019.

Experience our ‘Complete Connected Foundry’ for diecasting and green sand foundries at GIFA 2019 from 25 to 29 June. You can find us and our 4 technologies: DISA, Italpresse Gauss, StrikoWestofen and Wheelabrator, powered by Norican Digital in Hall 11, stand A74-A78.

The range of innovation, technology and expertise across our group, and on show at GIFA, covers every aspect of foundry operation, from melting, dosing and green sand moulding, through to die casting, surface preparation and finishing.

With a complete focus on metal forming and preparation technologies, and with the additional proposition of being able to connect machinery, services and processes using dedicated data gathering hardware, and sophisticated IoT software solutions - powered by Norican Digital, we will be displaying innovations that deliver results addressing three fundamental themes; how to boost foundry productivity, optimise quality and control resources in line with current manufacturing demands.

GIFA provides the perfect opportunity for our industry to interact, share latest technical thinking and discuss emerging needs – for example around aluminium and new materials so come and join the conversation. You will also be able to hear from our team of experts, who will be delivering a range of special technical lectures and workshops. Geared at helping customers address key challenges and maximise opportunities at every point of their foundry process, the talks will take place as part of the official GIFA Technical Forum programme and as a series of on-stand events (Hall 11, stand A74-A78).

From taking a close look at how new technologies and services can support major industry trends such as sector shifts towards aluminium and metal alloys, to exploring how foundries can achieve their Industry 4.0 ambitions to boost productivity, quality and sustainability, the expert sessions will run throughout the show. 

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27.06.2019

Topic

all-day

A ground-breaking tour of Norican Group’s ‘Complete Connected Foundry’

Greater than the sum of its parts: demonstrating the ‘Complete Connected Foundry’ at GIFA 2019.

Experience our ‘Complete Connected Foundry’ for diecasting and green sand foundries at GIFA 2019 from 25 to 29 June. You can find us and our 4 technologies: DISA, Italpresse Gauss, StrikoWestofen and Wheelabrator, powered by Norican Digital in Hall 11, stand A74-A78.

The range of innovation, technology and expertise across our group, and on show at GIFA, covers every aspect of foundry operation, from melting, dosing and green sand moulding, through to die casting, surface preparation and finishing.

With a complete focus on metal forming and preparation technologies, and with the additional proposition of being able to connect machinery, services and processes using dedicated data gathering hardware, and sophisticated IoT software solutions - powered by Norican Digital, we will be displaying innovations that deliver results addressing three fundamental themes; how to boost foundry productivity, optimise quality and control resources in line with current manufacturing demands.

GIFA provides the perfect opportunity for our industry to interact, share latest technical thinking and discuss emerging needs – for example around aluminium and new materials so come and join the conversation. You will also be able to hear from our team of experts, who will be delivering a range of special technical lectures and workshops. Geared at helping customers address key challenges and maximise opportunities at every point of their foundry process, the talks will take place as part of the official GIFA Technical Forum programme and as a series of on-stand events (Hall 11, stand A74-A78).

From taking a close look at how new technologies and services can support major industry trends such as sector shifts towards aluminium and metal alloys, to exploring how foundries can achieve their Industry 4.0 ambitions to boost productivity, quality and sustainability, the expert sessions will run throughout the show. 

More Less

28.06.2019

Topic

all-day

A ground-breaking tour of Norican Group’s ‘Complete Connected Foundry’

Greater than the sum of its parts: demonstrating the ‘Complete Connected Foundry’ at GIFA 2019.

Experience our ‘Complete Connected Foundry’ for diecasting and green sand foundries at GIFA 2019 from 25 to 29 June. You can find us and our 4 technologies: DISA, Italpresse Gauss, StrikoWestofen and Wheelabrator, powered by Norican Digital in Hall 11, stand A74-A78.

The range of innovation, technology and expertise across our group, and on show at GIFA, covers every aspect of foundry operation, from melting, dosing and green sand moulding, through to die casting, surface preparation and finishing.

With a complete focus on metal forming and preparation technologies, and with the additional proposition of being able to connect machinery, services and processes using dedicated data gathering hardware, and sophisticated IoT software solutions - powered by Norican Digital, we will be displaying innovations that deliver results addressing three fundamental themes; how to boost foundry productivity, optimise quality and control resources in line with current manufacturing demands.

GIFA provides the perfect opportunity for our industry to interact, share latest technical thinking and discuss emerging needs – for example around aluminium and new materials so come and join the conversation. You will also be able to hear from our team of experts, who will be delivering a range of special technical lectures and workshops. Geared at helping customers address key challenges and maximise opportunities at every point of their foundry process, the talks will take place as part of the official GIFA Technical Forum programme and as a series of on-stand events (Hall 11, stand A74-A78).

From taking a close look at how new technologies and services can support major industry trends such as sector shifts towards aluminium and metal alloys, to exploring how foundries can achieve their Industry 4.0 ambitions to boost productivity, quality and sustainability, the expert sessions will run throughout the show. 

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Our range of products

Product categories

  • 01  Foundry plants and installations, planning, construction, engineering

Foundry plants and installations, planning, construction, engineering

  • 18  Control systems
  • 18.01  Process control, models, simulation

Process control, models, simulation

  • 18  Control systems
  • 18.02  Control equipment, automation technology

Control equipment, automation technology

  • 24  Information processing
  • 24.02  Simulation of casting processes

Simulation of casting processes

  • 24  Information processing
  • 24.04  Software for business and process data capture

Software for business and process data capture

  • 26  Consulting, design, service and engineering

Consulting, design, service and engineering

  • 28  Training, further education

Training, further education

Our products

Product category: Software for business and process data capture

Norican Digital: Industry 4.0 - It's All About Your Productivity

As a design-driven, tech-minded and entrepreneurial part of Norican Group, we provide digital solutions within the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) for the formation and enhancement of metallic parts.

Our knowledge and experience in metalworking industries make us your preferred supplier of technology to streamline processes and increase your productivity.

We partner, build and invest to develop the best solutions and products in the IIoT space, everything we do is focused on one goal: Improving your profitability.  

We want to work with foundries who want to be part of the digital revolution, who are ready to design and test digital products.  By connecting your equipment and setting up a standardized IoT infrastructure to securely collect, store and optimise your data, processes and productivity to give you a better return on investment.

Talk to us about industry 4.0 solutions
Imagine a future where processes are constantly optimizing themselves and you have access to your production data at any time from any place.  Together, we will develop a digital product to make your processes more efficient.

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Product category: Foundry plants and installations, planning, construction, engineering

DISA

End-to-end grey iron foundry equipment, encompassing DISAMATIC vertical moulding lines, DISA MATCH matchplate moulding and DISA FLEX horizontal moulding solutions and supported by sand plant solutions.

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Product category: Foundry plants and installations, planning, construction, engineering

Italpresse Gauss

Complete, integrated light alloy casting solutions, including machines and automatic work cells for high-pressure, low-pressure and gravity die casting, with specialist expertise in supplying work cells for the production of complex automotive castings.

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Product category: Foundry plants and installations, planning, construction, engineering

StrikoWestofen

High end furnace technology for light metal casting, from melting and metal transport to dosing.

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Product category: Foundry plants and installations, planning, construction, engineering

Wheelabrator

Surface preparation and shot peening technology and services – airblast, wheelblast and mass finishing solutions.

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Company news

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Jun 7, 2019

The state of the Industry (4.0)

The digital transformation of industry has gradually made its way from the sphere of ideas and concepts to the factory floor and into foundries. In the second instalment of our special series of interviews, we take a look at the current state of Industry 4.0 in the foundry industry, with five experts from across Norican Group offering different perspectives on digitising foundry processes. Our experts are:

  • Rudi Riedel, President, Norican Digital
  • Nina Dybdal Rasmussen, Vice President Product Portfolio Development, DISA
  • Stanislav Venclik, Vice President Portfolio Development, Wheelabrator
  • Theodoor van der Hoeven, VP Product Development, StrikoWestofen
  • Carlo Scalmana, President, Italpresse Gauss
The term Industry 4.0, summarising the potential of a fourth industrial revolution, has been around for almost a decade now. After the initial hype, what’s the state of Industry 4.0?

Theodoor (StrikoWestofen): Well, it has emerged that making Industry 4.0 work in real life is not quite as easy as first thought. But the market is going in the right direction. Our customers are actively demanding Industry 4.0 solutions. Most importantly, though, people are starting to accept the cloud. Even car manufacturers who would have been absolutely adamant a couple of years ago that they would never allow the cloud into their operations are gradually coming round to it. This is essential, as the cloud is the basis for most Industry 4.0 technologies.

In short, it’s become a lot clearer what we all mean when we talk about Industry 4.0. It can’t be a plug and play affair, and it’s become very clear that equipment manufacturers can’t just do their own thing. We need standards.
 
Where is the foundry industry on its Industry 4.0 journey?

Rudi (Norican Digital): We are at a really interesting junction. Interest is high and there is real drive towards investigating and understanding the benefits that 4.0 can deliver to foundries. Data is now, quite rightly, seen as a key that can unlock productivity problems in a way that simply wasn’t possible or feasible before.
 
The flipside is that data is also seen as a risk factor. This is especially true within European markets. The cloud is simultaneously an enabler and an obstacle.

A mechanism for digital applications to collect, monitor, mine and analyse information in real time to help bring about real business benefits - for instance giving customers with multiple sites a simple way to track and compare process efficiencies - but also a source of hesitancy due to security concerns.

Nina (DISA): Our customers, around the world, are very much used to collecting and handling data via our well-established digital Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) platform that is part of all DISA moulding machines. What we’re helping them do now is to get more and more value out of that data, by continuously optimising and developing new solutions and services that turns the data into actionable insight and value.

For the vast majority of our customers this all still happens in on-location solutions, rather than in the cloud. For some it has to do with the security concerns Rudi mentions, and for others it is simply because there is a lot of value left to be unlocked before starting to use the cloud. I’d say that’s largely where our customers are currently at – they are looking to get the basics right. Using individual data series to improve their process bit by bit, getting used to handling more data, or thinking strategically about what data to collect next. We’ve ensured that our offering is such that any customer can come to us at any point in their data-driven journey, and we’ll be able to help them take the optimal next step.
 
Is data security going to remain a barrier to progress?

Rudi (Norican Digital): No. For one, a lot of work is happening right now around standardisation. A great deal of best-practice when it comes to data security is being ‘borrowed’ from other sectors – online banking for example.

Also, the number of practical examples of productivity and efficiency gains - projects with demonstrable ROI - will start to outweigh data security scepticism. Especially once foundries have maxed out what can be done on-premise, as Nina hinted at.
 
The term Industry 4.0 was coined in Germany – with things like the cloud issue you mention, is the country now its own worst enemy when it comes to turning Industry 4.0 into reality?

Theodoor (StrikoWestofen): Maybe to a degree. Things are moving slowly. But then, a lot of the crucial standardisation work is happening in Germany. The key standard is OPC UA, an open standard for machine communication. It’s been around for 10 years and is perfectly suited to our applications, but a lot of work had to go - and is still going - into tailoring it and making it work in specific industrial settings. That’s an area where Germany really is ahead.
 
Are there any other significant road-blocks holding up Industry 4.0 implementation?

Rudi (Norican Digital): Hype! There is so much noise around the almost limitless possibilities, that practical progress can seem unreal. Unachievable even. Hype can serve to highlight some really clever and important technological developments but it can also create distrust. Particularly in very traditional sectors such as the foundry industry.

Another issue is that Industry 4.0 has turned the world of industrial IT departments upside down. For years, decades, they have been focussed on ring-fencing systems and blocking everything from the outside world. Cloud solutions change the game. They also call for cultural shifts.

Traditionally IT teams have worked pretty much in digital siloes. That’s a big issue when you are looking to drive production improvements using data, digitisation and automation. It’s something we are seeing our customers really hone in on. I can think of one in particular that has ‘sent’ their IT department to physically sit with their production team in order to really understand the processes, requirements and therefore the opportunities that exist. This won’t be an isolated example.

Carlo (Italpresse Gauss): I agree that hype can stand in the way of getting the basics right. Our customers at Italpresse Gauss are predominantly in automotive, so preventing downtime is the overarching challenge here.

Our task, before getting into all the other fantastic things we can do with Industry 4.0 technologies, is to get our customers’ processes to the point where they are running super-stably and without interruption. That’s the necessary condition for quality – and the basis for process improvements. So it’s not really a barrier, but rather a matter of priority.
 
Within the challenge of preventing downtime, we are using digitisation and technology to solve issues faster and give maintenance teams better tools to keep machines running – using augmented reality, for example.
 
Stanislav (Wheelabrator): I’d echo Carlo’s point about process stability – it’s the very basis for further improvements, and while security may not remain an issue in the long run, currently, customers do have concerns around staying in control of their data. With products like NoriGate, we’re cloud-enabling equipment Norican-wide and customers rightly ask “Well, will you be reading my data?”. We can then explain the technical and contractual checks that are in place to prevent us from accidentally or on purpose accessing something we shouldn’t be accessing. It is good that customers raise concerns if they have them. It starts a conversation and busts myths.

In terms of other barriers, I also think that as an equipment brand providing solutions to customers, we can sometimes get distracted by the mechanical side of things – to the detriment of digital thinking. I’m sure it will be similar for my colleagues at DISA, StrikoWestofen and Italpresse Gauss. We have all been pursuing our own digital developments in the past, but having a resource like Norican Digital at our disposal really helps to keep digital innovation moving at the same pace as mechanical innovation – and enables us to start interweaving the two.
 
What are the key drivers towards Industry 4.0 in your respective customer industries?

Carlo (Italpresse Gauss): For our automotive industry customers it’s mainly three things: downtime, traceability and sustainability.

Reducing unexpected downtime isn’t as easy as it sounds. The maintenance guys are the most important people in the foundry, but they can’t be an expert on every part of every machine, so we’ve been trying to use technology to make our experts and solutions an extension of the team on the ground. Using video calls, augmented reality tools and virtual trouble-shooting guides, we can empower the customer’s maintenance crew to get machines up and running faster.

We’ve also developed a supervision system for our machines that is based on SQL, so the data it gathers can be used on the shop floor as well as feed into management systems. It paves the way for using machine learning and data analytics to improve machine performance in real time. The current aim for us is providing predictive maintenance.

In terms of traceability, I know that’s something we’re all working on. The requirement to trace every single part and gather process and quality data along its journey. Connectivity is key here, across the various process steps. But it also involves basic things like laser marking and scanning. Again, the ultimate aim here is to trace a part failure or quality issue back to a variation in parameters somewhere along the production process of that part. Once you add AI and data analytics to this mix, you are then able to continuously improve quality and eliminate process flaws at every point.
 
Stanislav (Wheelabrator): To chip in from the Wheelabrator side, this is something where – as well as blast process data - the blast machine can deliver proxy measures that give an insight into other parts of the process. Changes in the abrasive size distribution in the operating mix, the composition of the dust in the dust collector - these things signify something that can be of use to improve the process. Like Carlo said, connectivity across machines can do a lot here, as well as a connected understanding of the process.

Nina (DISA): What this type of traceability also allows you to do is evaluate the cost per part, including energy, material and people. And that takes us neatly to sustainability. Saving resources and energy is a major driver for the use of data and technology. Our Mould Accuracy Controller (DISA MAC) is a good example. It uses in-line parameter tracking to prevent misaligned or mismatched moulds from being poured, preventing scrap and saving energy.
 
What digital technologies are you currently trying out? Where have you had successes?

Theodoor (StrikoWestofen): We’re working continuously on Industry 4.0. For example, all our machines are now leaving the factory Industry-4.0-ready, in other words ready to generate the right data in the right way. Existing machines can be upgraded to deliver better data.

Beyond this basic readiness work, we’ve done initial trials with AI that were quite promising. The challenge here is that data is currently not homogenous enough as a standard to run AI. But that standardisation is currently under development. What AI will be able to do then is optimise processes and eliminate errors. It’ll help improve uptime and efficiency. What we’ve seen with AI is that you do need the process knowledge to make it work. Otherwise it’ll just produce nonsense results.
 
In terms of a more specific cases of digital technologies in action - our Refill Monitor is a good example. It does what it says on the tin: it monitors the fill levels of dosing furnaces, so they can be kept at the optimum fill level at all times and thereby ensure the best dosing accuracy.

That sounds like a fairly small thing, but this is currently done by visual inspection of indicator lights on each furnace. So if you have 12 furnaces, a forklift truck driver is physically driving round the foundry to check on liquid metal fill levels and ‘topping up’ as required.

Without knowing in advance which furnace will need filling at what point, and with exactly how much liquid metal, the risk of running dry or over-filling is relatively high – both of which can result in unscheduled stoppages.
 
The Refill Monitor pulls that data, displays it centrally, and is used to inform re-filling schedules to make sure exactly the right levels are maintained for efficient production. It saves time, resource and is also safer.

Carlo (Italpresse Gauss): One of the things we’ve been able to do by using data from the machine supervision system is to identify time windows during each cycle where we can power down the electric motors of the hydraulics systems. It sounds like a small thing, but on a high-performance diecasting machine this can save a lot of energy. And it would be virtually impossible to do without the insight we’re getting from the machine data.

Stanislav (Wheelabrator): Blast machines are pretty violent and destructive, so our focus is always on minimising wear and tightly managing maintenance windows. The high wear also means that process parameters can slip, so condition monitoring is key for both maintenance and process stability. We use Industry 4.0 technology to monitor vibrations, abrasive condition, dust composition analysis, etc. A lot of this is already being done anyway, but offline. So finding ways of doing that online and in real-time is the challenge.

Nina (DISA): It’s also worth remembering that all of us across Norican have recognised, and have been harnessing the power of data, for some time. At DISA, for example, we’ve been delivering real time data collection for customers since the late 90s with our CIM modules monitoring and reporting on performance for optimum production process efficiency and quality.
 
This has provided a foundation on which we’ve been able to build – developing this principle to see where else data can add value for our customers; how we can optimise and stabilise their production based on the process data corrected. The DISA MAC I mentioned earlier is our latest example of collecting and monitoring a critical point in the process in order to optimise quality and reduce scrap, and there’s a lot more in the pipeline, especially around traceability.

Additionally, through solutions such as our Remote Monitoring Service (RMS), we now provide services where we analyse the complex process data for our customers to offer benefits such as predictive maintenance.
 
How does Norican Digital fit into all this?

Theodoor (StrikoWestofen): Before the inception of Norican Digital, all four brands in the group had of course already started their own Industry 4.0 efforts. Speaking for StrikoWestofen, but it will be similar for the other brands, our approach to digital was very machine-focussed. The guys from Norican Digital look more at the connections between machines and at the whole process. They also help us innovate faster. For example, with Norican Digital we’re operating on 3-month innovation cycles, tackling an individual customer problem, find a solution, test it, get customer feedback.

Rudi (Norican Digital): What Theo described just then is what we call our cupcake model. It’s simple really. Our Norican colleagues come to us with a particular customer problem; a pain point that, if solved, could make a practical and immediate difference to their business. We work with them and the customer to innovate a solution, test it and measure the results. All within that 3-month innovation cycle. These are short, agile and results-focussed projects that if successful can solve an issue there and then and help us develop a solution that can be rolled-out to our wider customer base; if not, then nothing really is lost.
 
The cost of failure is very low for us and the customer. It’s a process that breaks progress down into manageable and useful ‘bite-size’ pieces.

I should add, it’s not an approach we can take sole credit for. We actually borrowed significant elements of it from Linde Gas – the company that first invented the industrial refrigeration cycle (no cold beers today without them!).

They have been awarded time and time again for their approach to innovation so we spent time talking to them, finding out what we could do etc. This was the outcome.
 
Nina (DISA): The advantage of that approach for us is that Industry 4.0 innovation is driven by customer challenges and powered by our knowledge of the process. It produces innovations that are highly relevant and grounded in reality.

An IoT consultant can charge a fortune to devise a framework that should support digital adoption. But they can’t look at a temperature curve drop and understand what that means; understand how that information can – using the right digital solution – drive improvement. We have that detailed knowledge of foundry machines and processes – knowledge that comes directly from the ‘foundry floor’ through DISA, Italpresse Gauss, StrikoWestofen and Wheelabrator.

More information on how Norican can support your foundry’s Industry 4.0 ambitions will be available from our experts throughout GIFA 2019 (Hall 11, stand A74-A78). The topic will also be central to lectures delivered as part of the official GIFA programme and through on-stand seminars. Keep following our GIFA page for further updates on timings!

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Jun 7, 2019

Casting light on aluminium matters

Global consumption of aluminium is predicted to rise to 120 million tonnes by 2025 - 25% of which is being driven by developments in light-weighting and e-mobility within the automotive sector. As such, aluminium is currently central to many quality, profitability and sustainability discussions and decisions affecting Norican foundry customers worldwide.

So as we prepare for GIFA 2019 with a special series of interviews on topics predicted to dominate this year’s show, and Norican developments set to be showcased, what better place to start than with one of the industry’s hottest topics. We caught up with the following experts to ask them about all things aluminium:

  • Heinrich Dropmann, Vice President Automotive and General Industries, Wheelabrator
  • Carlo Scalmana, President, Italpresse Gauss
  • Per Larsen, Product Portfolio & Innovation Manager, DISA
  • Peter Reuther, Senior Vice President CPI Thermal, StrikoWestofen

Demand for aluminium castings has never been higher. How is this shift impacting Norican technologies and your customers right now?
Heinrich: In many ways it is business as usual. At Wheelabrator we have always served the aluminium market, particularly through our strong customer base in automotive where the emphasis continues to be on light-weighting and combining multiple structural components into one complex and highly functional part…again for weight reduction but also for simplified assembly.

With these increasingly intricate aluminium parts (which are more susceptible to deformation), where fine detail really matters, the need for precise, tightly controlled blast processes is high. To achieve blast coverage inside complex castings, internal blasting techniques had to evolve quickly.

Our response has been to expand our aluminium portfolio, for example with the LBS mesh belt shot blast range. These medium-duty machines have been developed to maximise blasting efficiency and consistency from all sides and are particularly suited to continuous aluminium processes. A compact machine, developed in conjunction with a customer who makes intricate aluminium castings for automotive filters, was designed to work right within the casting cell, without intermediary storage and transport. Our highly sophisticated robot gripper machines for complex workpieces, like gear housings, deliver internal blasting inside narrow bores and cavities as well as the external blast process.
We have also recently introduced a new range of vibratory finishing machines, as all parts need to be finished.

Developing solutions like these to help customers attain the level of precision and finish required is what we do. The biggest change we are seeing is where we do it. Or rather where our market is growing. China, India, the US and increasingly Europe. Interest in aluminium-specific solutions is no longer dictated by geography.

Carlo: It’s not just demand that has globalised, so has expectation. Even within automotive, manufacturing trends and quality standards have historically varied quite dramatically from country-to-country – especially when it comes to aluminium. That’s changing.

The level of die casting quality expected ‘as standard’ for aluminium is consistently higher across geographies. A battery housing cast in China must be of exactly the same standard as one cast in Germany or North America.

This presents greater opportunity for our customers, who operate at that level of quality and consistency, but it also puts more pressure on them to deliver, and to do so cost-effectively. It’s a call to action we are ideally positioned to help with; not just in terms of technology - our machines and automatic work cells – but also with the install and aftersales services and ongoing technical support we offer. Our global footprint is certainly beneficial but we are now ensuring that our own processes are optimised internally to align with this shift.

What about at DISA, how is the trend towards aluminium affecting green sand foundries you work with?

Per: DISA has had well-developed green sand based solutions for aluminium for some years now. Several lines have been in operation producing various aluminium parts, including automotive.

Today, the combination of productivity, scale, accuracy and great flexibility has strong appeal for mass production sectors like automotive who are increasingly switching to aluminium to reduce vehicle weight. We’re talking to foundries that are looking to change or expand their aluminium processes, but even more interesting: over the last five years, we’ve been approached directly by the car manufacturers themselves.

For many years, they’ve known the exceptional combination of price and quality they get from iron castings produced on DISAMATIC machines. They see strong potential for savings if the same attractive combination of price and quality can be achieved when producing aluminium castings with the DISAMATIC process. The question they are asking us is, can we convert?

With automotive being such a dominant force in aluminium, doesn’t this lead to a degree of conflict between Norican technologies in terms of target customers?

Peter: Actually it’s the opposite – our technologies and services typically complement each other and often help us to present more comprehensive turnkey solutions. This is particularly the case given that most foundries working with aluminium are closely scrutinising every aspect of the casting process for opportunities to make production more efficient, safer and - with a constant view of cost-per-part (especially in automotive) - more economical.

For Wheelabrator, developments like the LBS blast machines that Heinrich mentioned just now add value at the end of the process. For us, it’s all about the beginning.

For instance our melting furnace, StrikoMelter BigStruc, which was actually designed to support the trends toward larger structural parts with complex geometries, aligns perfectly with both DISA’s green sand moulding lines and Italpresse Gauss’ high pressure die casting solutions. With the additional benefit of extremely low levels of metal loss, laser monitored fill-level optimisation and minimal energy consumption, we are able to work hand-in-glove with our Norican colleagues to present seamless solutions – increasingly with high levels of automation to drive home the benefits further still. 

Per: What’s also true is that across the group, we are all very aware of how and where each Norican technology is able to add most value. For instance, at DISA we are not going out to the market saying that green sand solutions are the way forward for all potential aluminium applications. Some castings just don’t make sense for green sand while there are other applications where it is competitive.

For example, for manufacturing something like an open deck engine block, die casting has clear advantages. Why would you consider an alternative? But start talking parts with complicated geometries, hollow sections that require cores, wall thicknesses below 8-10mm and that make high demands on mechanical properties…then green sand becomes an attractive solution. Parts like control arms have all these features.

As I’ve said already, DISA isn’t claiming that it makes sense to produce every aluminium casting in the world in green sand. However, the combination of some parts being naturally well suited to the green sand process and the intensified effort by automotive players to cut costs creates a positive outlook for some aluminium castings to be moved to green sand.

We’ve talked a lot about automotive so far - are you receiving increased interest in aluminium from any other industries?

Per: Part light-weighting is not a trend exclusive to automotive, nor is the desire to achieve ‘cast-in’ functional performance, and that is opening up further new opportunities. So, even though the automotive market is the biggest, we should not forget that many other segments source aluminium castings.

For instance, a number of DISA MATCH foundries in the US have taken advantage of the attractive combination of productivity, flexibility and accuracy in the green sand moulding process to produce aluminium castings for quite diverse market segments, offering short to medium series sizes.

Carlo: While around 90% of our customer-base at Italpresse Gauss is linked to automotive, we also continue to see more industries turning to aluminium – the telecommunications industry for instance. It’s a good example actually as, just like I mentioned earlier in regards to automotive, it is an industry where manufacturing trends and standards are globalising. I can certainly see growth in this market.

Are there potential ‘threats’ to the popularity of aluminium – perhaps from developments around 3D printing?

Carlo: It’s true, 3D printing or Additive Manufacturing is a growing force in automotive. As an additive, rather than subtractive, process that can support metal part production and light-weighting through design, its appeal is clear. But mass production, supporting rapid production of 1000s of parts, is not its strength. Nor, at the moment, is cost.
To echo Per’s comments, it’s about the right process for the right parts – one particular technology will never be the right choice for everything so it is up to us as providers to focus on our strengths and help customers find the right solutions.

Peter: It’s also worth remembering that another strategic advantage of aluminium, and one we here at StrikoWestofen are keenly aware of, is recyclability.
Going back to automotive for a second, aluminium simply outperforms other lightweight materials in that regard. If car manufacturers want to sell electric cars to environmentally conscious customers, then the various composites and plastics don’t really sit well with that. Both in terms of the carbon and waste footprint.

If the market for aluminium continues to grow, what implications do you think this has for the future of foundries?

Peter: As it becomes more mainstream, the use of aluminium also becomes more sophisticated. What we’re already seeing is a diversification in terms of aluminium alloys used. Rather than one or two almost ‘general purpose’ alloys used in the past, today aluminium foundries have to use alloys that are specific to each part produced.That means our customers’ needs have changed. Instead of using one big melting capacity more, smaller melting capacities are required to keep track of the various alloys across the foundry.

The other trend is about sheer speed. Our aluminium foundry customers have been subject to a massive speeding up of product development cycles at the car makers.New foundry lines for new products have to be up and running very quickly. Where customer projects would previously take a couple of years from scoping to commissioning, it can now be as little as half a year.

Carlo: We’ll see new parts, designs etc., especially as e-mobility continues to grow. But I think the biggest changes we’ll see will link back to what I was saying about quality expectations.

Aluminium casting requires accuracy. Expectations around achieving this level of production quality are soaring higher and higher. As a result, the question foundries are starting to ask - and will ask more and more – is how can technology help us achieve this ambition, and help us do it efficiently and more easily? That’s a call we have to answer by looking at things like automation, connected processes and Industry 4.0 solutions.

Which is in fact the topic of one of our upcoming blogs in this series, where we will explore the ‘digitalisation’ of foundries and the crucial role data can play in more detail. Thank you all for your time.

More information on the rise of aluminium and the range of solutions available across Norican to support aluminium-based production, can be found in this special read, and will also be a key focus for Norican during GIFA 2019 (Hall 11, stand A74-A78).

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May 29, 2019

Wheelabrator at GIFA 2019: a new wheel, advanced simulation technology and equipment evolutions

Surface preparation specialist Wheelabrator, a Norican technology, will be showcasing a suite of new blast machines and solutions at GIFA 2019, evolved and improved to meet emerging customer requirements and industry trends.

A host of updates and extensions to existing equipment ranges has been developed particularly with aluminium applications in mind – fitting in with the brand’s [new stand location in the aluminium hall (Hall 11) – insert link to Norican at GIFA story] at GIFA, as part of the Norican Group presence.

The Wheelabrator line-up for GIFA includes:

  • a new heavy-duty Universal blast wheel
  • a deep dive into the very latest blast simulation technology
  • numerous machine innovations
Visitors to the Norican stand will also be able to learn about the latest digital developments, for Wheelabrator equipment and beyond, with experts from Norican Digital on hand to share the latest thinking.

A ‘best of’ in wheel blast technology
Wheelabrator’s new blast wheel for foundry applications will be unveiled at GIFA.

Representing the latest innovations and proven technologies from across the company’s global blast wheel range, the new Universal wheel has been refined in rigorous testing over the past 12 months. It will offer a new level of performance and productivity for foundry blast operations.

Simulating complex blast processes
Simulation of blast processes can speed up development of new machines and even inform the design process of the produced part – by testing buildability early on.

Working with leading manufacturers, namely in Automotive, as well as simulation specialists, Wheelabrator has been advancing blast simulation technology to enable the design of ever more complex parts and associated processes, particularly those with intricate internal surface areas.

At GIFA, Wheelabrator will show what is possible in blast simulation, including how advanced simulation techniques save time and money during part and process design – a key advantage in today’s ever faster product development cycles.

New machines for aluminium – and more
Also on show will be the latest machine developments soft-launched in recent months. They include extensions to and variations on existing ranges, which have been adapted to anticipate evolving customer requirements.

They are:

  • The SPH-2-3/8, a new compact blast machine designed specifically for aluminium applications. Based on Wheelabrator’s trusted batch-type spinner-hanger wheel blast concept, the new machine excels at descaling, deburring/deflashing and cleaning of a variety of aluminium parts. Optimising the machine for this application enabled the design team to also reduce its price significantly.
  • The LBS 1000, a lighter version of the LBS mesh belt shot blast machine range. The mesh belt concept allows the efficient blasting of parts from all sides within a relatively compact space and without tumbling. It offers pitless installation and a more ergonomic loading height. Like the new SPH, it is suited particularly to the processing of aluminium parts.
  • A new range of wire mesh belt shot blast machines for medium-duty applications. The new CMS machine sits between Wheelabrator’s light LBS for non-foundry and the high capacity CMC range for heavy duty foundry applications. The CMS wire mesh belt machine completes Wheelabrator’s mesh belt machine offering. Mesh belt machines are perfect for applications where parts are too big or too delicate for the tumblast processes.

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May 29, 2019

It's time to connect

GIFA 2019: StrikoWestofen Presents the Connected Foundry

Ready for tomorrow's casting market: Industry 4.0 will once again be a key topic at this year's GIFA foundry trade fair from 25 to 29 June. This also applies to Norican Group's presence at the fair, which will feature its four technology brands StrikoWestofen, DISA, Italpresse Gauss and Wheelabrator. In Hall 11 (Booth A74-78), they will present the complete connected Norican foundry - powered by Norican Digital - on ca. 760 square meters from melting to surface finishing of the cast parts.

At GIFA, the world's leading trade fair for foundry technology, renowned suppliers will present proven solutions and pioneering innovations. Visitors to the Norican Group stand this year can look forward to a series of exciting solutions: The StrikoWestofen technology brand will be showcasing its innovations based on complete digital models and will also be giving technology insight presentations by its high-class experts.
 
Connected all along the line

The StrikoWestofen exhibits range from the further optimized ProDos 3.3 dosing furnace control system via the "Smart Service Plan" with data glasses for real-time remote maintenance, an efficiency calculator for intelligent melting furnace solutions, through to digital models of the well-known StrikoMelter and Westomat melting and dosing furnaces. Visitors have the opportunity to experience the furnaces and their performance-enhancing options in a unique way. The digital presentation fits harmoniously into the orientation of the entire Norican Group: True to the motto "powered by Norican Digital", all the Group's technology brands will be presenting their digitally connected systems.

For this reason, all new StrikoWestofen systems leave the production line Industry 4.0-ready – pre-equipped to collect and provide informative data. If customers opt for a cloud connection, even selectable machine and production data can be displayed clearly and in real time with the browser-based "Monitizer" app. The app has comprehensive user management and pre-installed widgets that give the customer full control over data access and the data displayed.

Comprehensive data analysis enables foundries to achieve improvements in productivity, quality and resource control. The "Monitizer Starter Kit" allows retrofitting to any production machine, regardless of the manufacturer. At the stand, the possibilities of the "Monitizer" will be shown with live data from European foundries.

By networking its technology brands, Norican Group is focusing on good connectivity, because "Greater than the sum of its parts" is also the leitmotif of the full-range supplier.

Connectivity as the key to success

Theodoor van der Hoeven will be discussing the opportunities and limits of industry 4.0 and the latest technologies of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), with a special focus on dosing accuracy, in his presentation at the GIFA Technical Forum. "Our trade fair motto is 'It's time to connect', says the Vice President Product Development at StrikoWestofen. "This relates to machine connectivity, but also to our intention to enter into discussions with foundry specialists from all over the world. We look forward to the opportunity to exchange the latest technical knowledge and discuss new needs."

Interested GIFA visitors will experience all the new StrikoWestofen technologies and lectures at the Norican Group stand in Hall 11, Stand A74-78.

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May 29, 2019

Because every casting counts: DISA premieres game-changing foundry innovations for Zero Defect Manufacturing at GIFA 2019

At GIFA 2019, DISA will reveal three radical new digitally-driven innovations that move foundries closer to Zero Defect Manufacturing (ZDM).

Inspired by DISA’s unmatched experience in helping customers continuously improve casting quality, these cutting-edge ZDM solutions – the novel Trace and Guidance (TAG) concept, the patent-pending Mould Accuracy Controller (MAC) and the upgraded Monitizer – open the door to a new era of scrap elimination.

Visitors to the DISA section of the Norican Group stand (Hall 11, stand A74 – A78) will have hands-on access to both hardware and digital models so they can see for themselves how process data, real-time analysis and forensic quality control combine to help trace and eliminate scrap.

Trace and Guidance: 100% traceability for scrap elimination

“Finding the root cause of scrap can be extremely difficult,” says Per Larsen, Portfolio and Innovation Manager at DISA. “The total quality-related costs across foundries and casting users can represent up to 10% of the casting price.”

For the first time ever, foundries can gain full traceability with DISA’s ingenious new Trace and Guidance (TAG) concept. TAG adds a unique ID number to each casting to provide the missing link between individual scrapped castings and their process parameters like sand compressibility, shot pressure and pouring temperature. TAG tracking also opens the door to advanced machine-learning-based analysis of scrap causes.

“TAG tracking promises to be a major game changer for our industry, helping drive down quality-related costs to previously unseen levels,” says Larsen. “GIFA visitors will be able to explore the patent-pending TAG design for themselves in the demonstration area on our stand and sign up for exclusive news as this exciting concept is developed further.”

The groundbreaking, scrap-busting MAC

The trailblazing Mould Accuracy Controller (MAC) forms the second plank of DISA’s ZDM strategy. The MAC alerts operators to mould mismatches and gaps – causing scrap, rework and damaging melt run-through – before the mould is poured. At GIFA 2019, visitors to the DISA stand can test drive the MAC using a DISAMATIC Digital Twin (a digital simulation of a moulding machine). They can change the virtual machine’s settings via a DISAMATIC D3 control panel and immediately see how those changes affect mould quality.

“Delegates can inspect a full-size MAC on the stand, then use the Digital Twin to virtually test how the MAC monitors the moulding machine’s output and helps spot any developing problems,” explains Larsen. “They will get a real feel for how operators are kept fully informed and can react to quality issues seconds after they first appear and, most importantly, before pouring the moulds.”

The MAC will be released at GIFA as a retrofit option for DISAMATIC machines with Automatic Mould Conveyors, helping more customers wave goodbye to scrap.

Turning data into value with Monitizer, the new Industry 4.0 solution

GIFA also sees the release of Monitizer | CIM, DISA’s third ZDM solution. This is the next generation of DISA CIM (Computer Integrated Modules), featuring a completely new suite of data analysis and alerting tools.

As the digital platform which collects and shares data between your foundry equipment, Monitizer keeps processes synchronised and delivers a full digital view of real-time and historic foundry data. Monitizer | CLOUD from Norican Group extends the platform, using IIoT technology to collect, monitor, and analyse complete foundry data from one or multiple global foundry sites.

“With the DISAMATIC Digital Twin, MAC, TAG, and Monitizer, visitors can see how DISA’s disruptive digital innovations make it possible to “dive into the data” to troubleshoot problems, optimise critical foundry processes and take major steps towards zero scrap,” states Larsen.

During on-stand sessions and within the official GIFA lecture programme, DISA experts will discuss how its ZDM solutions enable the data-driven foundry and help improve productivity, quality and resource utilisation.

Connect with DISA at GIFA 2019 and gain hands-on experience of how to get closer to zero defects in your foundry (25 - 29 June, Hall 11, stand A74-A78).

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May 29, 2019

Bright ideas for the Bright World of Metals: Norican’s line up of launches

Through a thrilling mix of Augmented Reality (AR), virtualization and physical displays, delegates visiting Hall 11, stand A74 – A78 at GIFA will receive a truly unique experience – a ground-breaking tour of Norican Group’s ‘Complete Connected Foundry’.

Norican – greater than the sum of its parts 

Comprising new and proven innovations from DISA, Italpresse Gauss, StrikoWestofen and Wheelabrator, the exhibit has been designed to deliver inspiring insights into how Norican Group can help die casting and green sand customers implement technologies and make connections that will optimise productivity, quality and resource control across the entire foundry.

“GIFA 2019 is about showcasing how the innovations we offer interconnect, add value to each other, and benefit our customers as a comprehensive offering”, said Peter Holm Larsen, President, Parts Formation, Norican Group. “The capabilities of our four technologies, powered by Norican Digital, means Norican is greater than the sum of its parts. We are able to take a ‘big picture’ view, see where and how we can link solutions to optimise and digitalise entire die casting and green sand foundry processes. GIFA delegates will be able to see and experience exactly how all these connections work by visiting our stand.”

Here are just a few of the exciting innovations delegates can expect to see on their tour.

DISA – premiering “game-changers” for Zero Defect Manufacturing

In addition to showcasing its proven range of green sand metal casting and moulding solutions, DISA will premier a trio of disruptive digital innovations. By transforming how foundries troubleshoot and optimise critical processes, they help make Zero Defect Manufacturing a reality.

  • DISA’s ingenious new, patent-pending Trace and Guidance (TAG) concept delivers 100% traceability to slash quality-related costs. By adding a unique ID to each casting, TAG reveals  the process parameters responsible for every piece of scrap.
  • The trailblazing Mould Accuracy Controller (MAC) alerts operators to mould mismatches and gaps before the mould is poured, helping make scrap, rework and damaging melt run-through a thing of the past.
  • The next-generation Monitizer | CIM is the third solution in DISA’s scrap-busting line-up. The digital backbone that delivers a complete real-time and historic view of foundry data, Monitizer | CIM is now even more powerful. Coupled with the Industry 4.0, IIoT-based Monitizer | CLOUD, foundries can collect, monitor, and analyse foundry data from one or multiple global sites to boost productivity. 
Visitors to the Norican stand will have hands-on access to both hardware and digital models, including an interactive DISA Digital Twin (a digital simulation of a moulding machine) so they can see for themselves how process data, real-time analysis and forensic quality control combine to help trace and eliminate scrap.

Italpresse Gauss – showcasing smart data insight for die casting foundries

Italpresse Gauss has been the leader in high pressure and gravity die casting since 1969. At GIFA, the aluminium and light alloy casting technology specialist will prove how it plans to remain at the cutting edge for the next 50 years. The evidence? A series of touchscreen and augmented reality displays that demonstrate its groundbreaking data-driven solutions for unlocking greater productivity.

  • Stand visitors can experience the AMe app during simulated machine part inspections. AMe delivers live video call support from Italpresse Gauss service engineers, access to AR step-by-step guidance and 3D view data to guide maintenance procedures.
  • Virtual displays will also show how the HMe system - which monitors machine, process and peripheral equipment (including mobile device) data - supports real-time, holistic insight and responsive action to boost line efficiency and casting quality.
StrikoWestofen – displaying digital solutions to optimise resources

From melting and metal transport to dosing, StrikoWestofen’s solutions use less energy and resources, generate low emissions, and lower the risk of rejects. Its latest innovations on show at GIFA 2019 are no exception and include:

  • Refill Monitor, which continuously checks the fill levels of Westomat dosing furnaces so they can be optimized at all times. This eliminates any risk of running dry or over-filling - and the stoppages they cause. The Refill Monitor has the new Norigate built-in to capture and store sensor data for dashboard-based visualisation.
  • Part Load Efficiency Controller for StrikoMelter helps foundries lengthen melting times to avoid stop/start wastage, reducing energy consumption by up to 20%. By partly automating furnace operation, the Controller also helps improve labour and process efficiency.
Visitors looking for the StrikoMelter melting furnace and StrikoMelter BigStruc - which remelts large structural parts with reduced energy consumption thanks to a clever, covered shaft design - will be able to experience them on the stand. Completing the GIFA line-up are the Westomat dosing furnace, replacement pre-sintered refractory parts that potentially reduce plant downtime by 60%, the mobile heating station for ceramic components of dosing furnaces, and a preview of new ProDos3 control software that simplifies the user experience.

Wheelabrator – revealing new technologies, new ways of working

Surface preparation specialist Wheelabrator will be taking advantage of GIFA to unveil its exciting suite of new innovations, solutions and enhancements.

  • Heading the line-up is a new, heavy duty Universal blast wheel – the UC70. After a year of rigorous testing, the concept’s full spec, design details and anticipated performance will be unveiled during the show.
  • Moving from new product to new possibilities, a video display on the Norican stand will show how part design – including complex parts with intricate internal structures – and associated processes can be significantly enhanced by the latest wheel and air blast simulation technology.
The stand will also showcase the latest machine innovations including: the SPH-2-3/8, a new aluminium-specific compact blast machine, the LBS 1000, a lighter version of the LBS mesh belt shot blast machine range particularly suited to processing aluminium parts, and a new range of wire mesh belt shot blast machines, type CMS, for components too delicate to turnblast.

Finally, GIFA delegates will be able to learn more about how Wheelabrator Vibro’s free, lab-supported process review can benchmark and improve their vibratory mass finishing processes. Unique in the industry, the Vibro team guarantees an improved process: whether that’s faster, better quality, lower cost - or all three.

For more information on Norican’s attendance at GIFA, visit https://www.noricangroup.com/en-gb/gifa

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About us

Company details

Norican Group is home to four leading, globally operating technologies: DISA, Italpresse Gauss, StrikoWestofen and Wheelabrator, all strengthened by Norican Digital.
As one strong global partner, we are able to serve you better, faster and more efficiently, giving you easy access to all we have to offer and working in partnership to keep you well ahead of the curve.
From melting, dosing and moulding through to surface preparation, we provide the solutions to solve your challenges.

We are Shaping Industry.
Our technology sits at the heart of best practice across industries, continually pushing forward the state of the art. A global network of engineering expertise, manufacturing capacity and service support ensures we are where our customers need us to be, at every stage of their process and for every challenge they may face.

As one, we can do more.
Joining together our four incredible brands in one company means we can be even closer to you and offer you more. Our joint know-how stretches across sectors, materials, geographies – and it doesn’t just stop where one machine ends. Together, we can bring you ever more sophisticated integrated solutions, drawing from our vast toolbox of technologies, machines and processes. In the context of Industry 4.0, this bigger picture view will be invaluable.

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