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information to reduce power con- sumption in Midwest area casting facilities involved in melting several materials including brass alloys, gray iron, ductile iron, various types of steel, aluminum and zinc alloys. Each smart interface measure-


ment system provided the capability to remotely collect processed data continuously from eight diverse sen- sors at 2-second intervals. Tese units also provided time stamped storage of sensor data in the data acquisition unit and shared this data with authorized local area network or Internet-based request- ors. Te in-unit storage feature enabled the continuous capture of data even if the network connection temporarily failed. Te data from the smart inter-


face units was delivered via wireless Ethernet to PC-based, dashboard software designed to take advantage of the benefits of an IEEE 1451.2 interface. In addition to providing “at-a-glance” current status informa- tion of the various connected sensors, the dashboard provided historical data and analytical tools for the con- nected set of sensors. Additionally, the dashboard data logging software created virtual sensors to facilitate time-correlation of sensor data. Tis data is globally available to Internet-based autho- rized users when the cloud-based data storage/web browser interface was enabled. For many energy reducing


projects, multiple types of sensors must be used to correlate power consumption with other key factors used in foundry processes. Tis measurement system is designed to synchronously collect sensor signals from current transformers and volt- age probes combined with sensor signals from pressure sensors, flow sensors, process counters, vibra- tion sensors, temperature sensors, humidity sensors and other process specific sensors. Better insights into opportunities for power-use reduc- tion are gain through the ability to analyze power monitoring informa- tion with process-specific sensor signals correlated in time.


Compressed Air and Furnace Results


Figure 1 shows the combined


power consumed by the three induc- tion furnaces at a Midwest casting facility. Individual furnace power consumption information was ana- lyzed in detail along with additional data about the melt process and other operational aspects. When this data was combined, the analysis showed opportunities for energy savings and production throughput gains based on small investments in additional opera- tor training and the use of relatively inexpensive equipment enhancements. Tese measurements were used to validate the economic benefits of the process and equipment improvements. Figures 2, 3 and 4 show the benefits


of measuring equipment and process parameters simultaneously. For the compressed air system, significant savings were identified by a better understand- ing of the compressed air demand and air leakage rates at the facility. Figure 6 shows an overview diagram of the moni- toring solution. Te results show that a monitor- ing solution using smart sensors can provide the required flexibility to implement successful energy efficiency


improvement projects by leverag- ing information from a mixed set of sensor types. In addition to providing complex monitoring features in cost- effective, easy to use monitoring tools, smart sensor technologies facilitate the time correlation of various measured parameters. Tese technologies can help facility personnel stay engaged in the energy efficiency process by empow- ering staff with real-time, measured power consumption data combined with relevant process data that is readily accessible and easily understood. Metalcasters can begin looking into taking a customized, data-driven approach to reducing energy in their facility by collecting the thoughts and experiences of operation personnel. Tese individuals can help suggest areas of the facility that might be good candidates for energy savings. Working with an energy consultant, at the direction and input of the people working in the casting facility, is an expeditious way to enact a data moni- toring program.


Tis article was based on a paper that was presented at the 117th Metalcasting Congress. Te work described here led to an AFS Applied Research Award presented at the 118th Met- alcasting Congress.


Fig. 4. A manufacturing facility’s aggregate compressed air leakage rate is measured for different header pipe air pressure values. Note that for a slightly reduced pressure below the 100 PSI operating pressure, the leakage rate decreases considerably.


April 2015 MODERN CASTING | 39


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