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CASTING INNOVATIONS


New Furnace Includes Big Potential Savings With Energy Rebate Amid the economic crisis of the last decade, many met-


Shortly after, CWM placed a purchase order with


alcasting facilities dropped any potential plans for expansion in favor of focusing on surviving the storm. But as production returned and eventually exceeded pre-recession figures, met- alcasters once again planned for a bigger and better future. Appropriately, in mid-2012, Chicago White Metal Cast-


ing Inc. (CWM), Bensenville, Ill., began to examine ways to increase capacity. Te 77-year-old diecasting company saw potential to expand its aluminum operations. “We assessed the throughput of our existing reverberatory


furnace and realized it didn’t give us the capacity we needed,” said Eric Treiber, president and CEO. “We have a second, backup furnace that offers a bit more capacity, but it is not energy efficient.”


In the summer of 2013, CWM assigned Brendan Melnick,


a mechanical engineering intern from Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, Ind., to investigate current furnace technology and the increases in molten metal throughput CWM could expect to achieve. He discovered the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program, which is funded by Nicor Gas Company of Northern Illinois. Te program rebates $1 per saved therm per year, up to $500,000 or 50% of the total project cost, whichever is lower. In August 2013, after an exhaustive application process that must precede the furnace purchase, CWM was approved for the rebate.


StrikoWestofen, Gummersbach, Germany, for a StrikoMelter furnace, which combines preheating, heat- ing and melting phases in a single melting shaft. Return material and ingots are melted in the lower section, while the combustion gases preheat the new charge material in the shaft area above it. Te molten metal then is transferred to the holding bath without turbulence, reducing waste and accurately maintaining the preset holding temperature. Tis recuperative concept is designed to decrease fuel consump- tion and metal loss. Delivered to CWM in mid-March, the furnace was expected to take four weeks to reach full capacity, consider- ing installation and proper onsite training. “Tis furnace is capable of increasing our molten metal


throughput by 300%,” Treiber said. “In addition, we anticipate a substantial reduction in natural gas consumption, which aligns well with our ISO 14001 environmental program.” While the particular rebate program expires next month,


similar programs are available across the country from many other utility providers. For CWM, the anticipated savings from the furnace itself, in conjunction with the Nicor rebate program, made the decision to proceed quite easy. “I would encourage manufacturers to meet with electric-


ity and natural gas providers,” Treiber said. “You might be surprised at what they’re willing to offer. Our decision would have been much more challenging without the Nicor rebate program.”


Chicago White Metal hopes to save with its new StrikoWestofen furnace. 44 | MODERN CASTING April 2014


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