The main goals of ITACA Charge are to reduce and optimize the charging and melting time and to minimize the variance of the liquid iron reducing also the need for trimming. Thanks to ITACA Charge, our customers increased charging and melting efficiency, reducing the global charging time by 23% and ensuring an additional 6000 ton/year capacity.
With ITACA Charge, ProserviceTech extends the well-known concept of integration, guided procedures, and process analysis also to this process phase:
- Optimization of furnace charging time;
- Optimization of furnace induction yield;
- Improvement of foundry capability;
- Automatic charge recalculation;
- Furnace charge automation.
ITACA Charge is an active system that combines a customized crane with powerful software, able to communicate continuously with ITACA Supervisor and ITACA Optidose. ITACA Charge can work in manual, semi-automatic, or fully automatic modes ensuring perfect traceability at all the different levels.
- The crane is designed with the highest safety standard, CE marked, extra power on the Z-axys, dual encoders mounted on the compensated arm on each axis, highest accuracy and consistency in 3D positioning, UPS dedicated to the magnet, accurate load cell control
- Database of recipes and materials (description, exact positions of dosing and stocking, exact addition step (i.e. charging, correcting, etc.), physical properties (density, granulometry, min size, cost, etc.), composition, yields. All the positions of stocking and dosing (bunkers, dosing systems, scales, charge cars, etc.) are identified and codified
- Times optimization (acceleration/deceleration at load and unload, depending on the weight of the material and its shape)
- Paths optimization (minimizing the distance)
- Improvement of efficiency of the magnet: leaves the material, if necessary, and tries a new load rather than deliver the load
- Possibility to divide each bunker in (up to) 6 areas, each one is classified in function of quantity of residual material and picking efficiency
- Scanner and record a “map” for each bunker, identifying the most performing areas, where the picking is more efficient. In the down times, (and only in the case of an automatic charging crane) ITACA Charge can use the crane to homogenize the distribution of the material in the singles bunkers
- Possibility to divide the charge car into 3 unloading zones and assigns each material to a specific area, in order to maximize the efficiency of the induction
- Automatic recalculation of the recipe in case of mistake (or intentional choices) on type and/or quantity of released material. Once the materials are charged into the charge cars, ITACA Charge calculates the exact amount of Fe-alloys, additives, dopants, and perlitizers to be added, in order to reach the physic-chemical targets. These amounts are calculated on the basis of the real amounts of the charged materials, and not just following a rigid recipe
- Consideration of eventual liquid heel or some “variable” and “sudden” charge materials like residual iron in furnaces and/or pouring ladles. Even in this case, the system will automatically compensate the remaining charge materials, in order to point to the physic-chemical target that was previously set
- Total traceability of charge materials, times, power, and energy: for each batch these parameters are saved and used
- All the materials will be associated to the same ID Code
THE CONTROL LOGIC: ITACA Charge <-> Supervisor <-> ITACA Optidose
Everything starts from the selection of a recipe (which automatically closes any previous cycle that may have remained open) which generates the creation of a “MeltCode”, a code which will be associated with all the production data of the base iron:
- Charging materials (times, type, quantity, position on charging crane)
- Additives (times, type, quantity, position on the charging crane)
- Melting parameters (times, energy, power curve)
- Physic-chemical parameters of pre-trimming cast iron (temperature, spectrometer, ITACAX, Leco)
- Suggested corrections to reach the targets (times, type, quantity, origin)
- Physic-chemical parameters of the final cast iron
The recipe is a set of materials (which belong to specific families), quantities and loading sequences (the sequences define the behaviour during the charging phase of the charging crane and the additive hoppers).
All the materials are coded in a specific section of the settings in which their behaviour and yields are also defined according to the application (the same material can have a different behaviour depending on whether it is used in casting, in trimming, in ladle) and storage areas (e.g. bunker 2 and 6, silo 4).
The exchange of information with the operators takes place by means of customizable interfaces presented on special displays and designed according to the skills and abilities of the operators.
ITACA Charge sends the charging sequences to the PLC of the loading bridge crane (and possibly to the dosing machines) which manages the queue of the loading and correction operations, in order to optimize the operations and guaranteeing the compliance with the procedure and the established priorities.
For each operation, ITACA Charge manages the acceleration and deceleration (depending on the material and its tendency to form more or less high clusters), the path, the speed, and decides whether it is convenient (or not) to bring the material to destination or try another outlet. ITACA Charge can also record a “map” for each bunker, identifying the areas of each bunker where picking is most efficient.
The aim is to standardize the preparation and loading times of the charge cars as much as possible.
ITACA OptiDose pre-doses a percentage of each alloy in the trolley (i.e. 80%-90%, a parameter that can be set) and, once the quantities of the primary materials in the charging cars are perfectly known, will complete the dosing of the alloys respecting the percentages defined in the quotation. ITACA OptiDose will prepare the material mix and send it quickly to the hoppers on the charging cars.
This dynamic action guarantees a reduction in trimming times once the physic-chemical properties of the liquid cast iron are measurable.