Archive for the ‘MAGMA’ Category

Figure 1. First Core Blowing Test. The bottom of the core collapsed due to a lack of strength.

Figure 1. First Core Blowing Test. The bottom of the core collapsed due to a lack of strength.

Brazilian steel giant Usiminas recently introduced the new foundry core making simulation software MAGMASOFT® as part of their strategy to establish robust designs and processes for their core production line. The first project on which this software was utilized was already in progress at that time.

The main goal was to optimize the process conditions for the existing tooling layout. This core, called the thin waist core, represents some of the biggest challenges for Usiminas core production: its length (920 mm), substantial changes in the sand flow direction during blowing, the need to fill certain parts of the core through counter-flow and big variations in the cross section within the core.

First trials showed problems with the process, which led to a complete collapse of the lower part of the core. The core blowing and curing steps for the PU coldbox process were analyzed, making it possible to draw preliminary conclusions regarding the existing defects.

Figure 2. Curing Gas Concentration. The curing gas does not penetrate into the core to the same extent everywhere.

Figure 2. Curing Gas Concentration. The curing gas does not penetrate into the core to the same extent everywhere.

The lack of core strength was related to a poor curing process. The first simulation (Figure 2) already showed that the problematic regions experienced only very low curing gas concentrations during gassing, which was the root cause for the failure.

On the production line, various process conditions such as the curing and purging times and gassing pressure were changed. These attempts provided better results (Figure 3). However, a perfect core could still not be produced. The further analysis with MAGMASOFT® focused on the evaluation of the local concentration of adsorbed curing gas, as it shows the regions where the catalyzing gassing agent cannot activate the chemical reaction. This result clearly demonstrated that only a very small quantity of catalyst was available for accelerating curing in the defect regions (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Core Blown with new parameters in comparison with the local concentration of adsorbed curing gas. The problematic area corresponds exactly with low concentrations in the simulation.

Figure 3. Core Blown with new parameters in comparison with the local concentration of adsorbed curing gas. The problematic area corresponds exactly with low concentrations in the simulation.

Evaluating simulated curves for the gas mass flow through the vents made it clear that the catalyzing gas was not reaching the critical area. The open venting cross section of the top and central vents was allowing the gas to escape before it reached the bottom of the core.

Instead of making costly modifications to the core box, Usiminas determined that a possible – and simple – solution was to close some vents in the top and center regions, in order to increase the gas concentration in the bottom. However, it was clear that these changes obviously would also influence the core blowing step.

The optimization led to a considerable increase of the curing gas concentration in the lower regions of the core (~36%) (Figure 4). Also, the amount of adsorbed curing gas increased in comparison to the original project. Applying these modifications, Usiminas produced another core, which did not show any gassing defects. Since the venting area was reduced, some filling defects were present, as expected.

Figure 4. Total gas mass flow through the lower vents. The change in mass flow becomes clear. Removing some of the upper and middle vents resulted in a 36% increase in the gas escaping through the lower vents.

Figure 4. Total gas mass flow through the lower vents. The change in mass flow becomes clear. Removing some of the upper and middle vents resulted in a 36% increase in the gas escaping through the lower vents.

Having solved the curing related defects, a further core blowing analysis was carried out. The simulation results showed a very good match between the real defects and areas of low packing density. The flow animation also showed that the problems occurred because these areas had to be filled by a counter flow of the sand (Figure 5).

Another characteristic of the defects was that they all occurred next to the parting line of the core box.  Some of the defects showed a smooth surface, indicating that the sand had been removed by a strong air flow. The core blowing simulation results supported the Usiminas conclusion that an improper sealing of the tool was the root cause for these defects. Air could escape with high speed through the parting lines, resulting in the defect formation.

This hypothesis was tested using a silicone rubber band to obtain an improved sealing of the relevant areas of the tool. With this modification, a new core was produced which was absolutely free of any defects.

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About software for casting process simulation

Casting process simulation software considers the complete casting process including mold filling, solidification and cooling, and also provides the quantitative prediction of mechanical properties, thermally induced casting stresses and the distortion of cast components. Simulation accurately describes a cast component’s quality upfront before production starts, thus the casting layout can be designed with respect to the required component properties. This results in a reduction in pre-production sampling, but also the precise layout of the complete casting system leads to energy, material and tooling savings for the foundry.

The range of application of MAGMA solutions comprises all cast alloys, from cast iron to aluminum sand casting, permanent mold and die casting up to large steel castings. The software supports the user in component design, the determination of melting practice and casting methodology through to mold making, heat treatment and finishing. This saves costs consequently along the entire casting manufacturing line.

During the last 10 years, the use of casting process simulation has become a valuable business asset for many foundries worldwide. MAGMA5 constantly expands the capabilities of casting process simulation and will further accelerate the acceptance of this technology, in the future.

About Usiminas

With 50 years of operation, Usiminas is the leader in the Brazilian flat steel market and one of the largest steel companies in Latin America. It has a nominal capacity of 9.5 million tons of steel per year. Usiminas Mecânica is a leading provider of capital goods and services to the steel, railway, mining, automotive, energy, petrochemical, marine and infrastructure industries in Brazil. With recent substantial investments, the foundry of Usiminas Mecânica has become one of the largest manufacturers of both small and large steel castings in the country. The yearly production capacity is 30,000 tons, representing about 10% of the projected production in Brazil.

About MAGMA

MAGMA offers comprehensive solutions to the metal casting industry, casting buyers and casting designers worldwide. The MAGMA product and service portfolio includes the powerful modular simulation software MAGMASOFT®,with the newest release MAGMA5, as well as engineering services for casting design and optimization.

Today, MAGMASOFT® is used throughout the metal casting industry, especially for the optimization of cast components in automotive and heavy industry applications.

MAGMA Giessereitechnologie GmbH was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Aachen, Germany. A global presence and support are guaranteed by offices and subsidiaries in the USA, Singapore, Brazil, Korea, Turkey, India and China. Additionally, more than 30 qualified partners represent MAGMA around the world.

For more information on this release, please contact:

Christof Heisser
President
MAGMA Foundry Technologies, Inc.
10 N. Martingale Road, Suite 425
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: 847-969-1001 ext. 225
Email: cheisser@magmasoft.com
Web: www.magmasoft.com

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Steve Sikorski from Magma (far left) led the teaching experience for the Racine, Wisconsin Sea Scouts, as they learned about metalcasting.

Steve Sikorski from Magma (far left) led the teaching experience for the Racine, Wisconsin Sea Scouts, as they learned about metalcasting.

In March 2013, representatives from MAGMA Foundry Technologies used the Foundry in a Box, donated by AFS, to teach the Racine, Wisconsin Sea Scouts, Ship 5750, about metalcasting.  Sea Scouting is a division of the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women between 14 and 21 years old.  The group focuses on developing future leaders through developing maritime skills, both on and off the water.  The Scout group devotes their summer activities to sailing and their winter activities to learning manufacturing skills to produce useful items.  Previous projects included land sailing vessels, a pig roaster and rebuilding engines for use in boats.Pour

During this past winter, the scouts focused on developing their metalworking skills by making wind vanes using welding, grinding, machining and plasma cutting technologies.  This project had all the Scouts excited about metalworking and it created a great opportunity to expose them to metalcasting technology, where Magma is the market leader in casting simulation and process optimization for foundries worldwide.

CleanThe meeting was kicked off with a short presentation about metalcasting and how this 6,000-year-old process relates to products the Scouts use every day.  The Scouts were then allowed to get started with a hands-on project, with each Scout creating a mold, melting the metal, pouring the casting and cleaning the castings.  Some Scouts used the standard patterns that came with the Foundry in a Box, while others were more adventurous and tried making their own patterns, one being sea shells. A final presentation was made, tying in this age-old process with advanced casting process simulation technology to show what occurred inside the mold during the making of the Liberty Bell casting.

For more information on this story, please contact:
Christof Heisser
President
MAGMA Foundry Technologies, Inc.
10 N. Martingale Road, Suite 425
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone 847-969-1001, ext. 225
Email  cheisser@magmasoft.com
Web    www.magmasoft.com

Spokane Industries, a family-owned company established in 1952, is a steel foundry, metal products and precision castings facility of more than 240,000 square feet in Spokane, Washington.  Spokane Industries serves customers in many industries from aerospace, construction and agriculture, to transportation, aggregate processing and general manufacturing. Proud to be a family-owned company, many employees here are second and third generation who are personally and professionally committed to their customers. Customers are not just coming to Spokane to buy castings, but they are coming to solve problems. With that in mind, experience, expertise, effort and the latest technology, including MAGMASOFT® process optimization software, are used to differentiate Spokane Industries in the marketplace. Spokane strives to create quality products delivered on time and as a result, their customers’ businesses are more successful and profitable.

Antonio Melendez works on MAGMASOFT

Antonio Melendez works on MAGMASOFT®

The Spokane Steel Foundry Division is the foundation of Spokane Industries and is committed to staying on the cutting edge of technology, upgrading its facility to optimize production and enhancing quality control procedures. Spokane Steel Foundry has been serving commercial and industrial customers around the world for more than 50 years, still maintaining some of their original customers; some are still ordering castings from their original patterns.

Experiencing decades of steady growth, Spokane Industries operates an environmentally clean, well-managed and technologically advanced organization dedicated to meeting the needs of its customers. Today, the foundry’s output includes durable wear parts for impact crushers as well as a wide variety of high specification quality castings for the construction, mining, manufacturing, transportation, aluminum and defense industries, striving to meet the demand with each project.

By introducing MAGMASOFT® at the company, Spokane quickly saw how this software’s capabilities of simulating the entire casting process start to finish, was not only an invaluable engineering tool, but also a tool that impacted the entire business. CFO Ken Vorhees reported, “Having MAGMASOFT® has improved our ability to reduce the number of samples and bring quality products to market faster through meeting specifications, tolerance and metallurgy, most often on the first run.” Foundry Division President, Tyrus Tenold, adds, “This is a very powerful tool, giving us the ability to virtually see the entire casting process before we have invested significant time and materials. We now catch problems before they become problems. By the time we are ready to run the part, we have confidence we will have a quality part on the first run, in most cases.” Using the software to run detailed process optimization for the entire casting process enabled Spokane to catch process issues anywhere in the casting process before the first actual run. The software enables the engineers here to catch potential problems with a casting before the part even hits the foundry floor and resolve them faster than any competitor not using this technology.

Having now utilized its MAGMASOFT® license for 2 years, Spokane has seen a significant change in their entire casting process. Rod Grozdanich, Technical Director, states, “We use the software to help customers refine their designs as well as convert many of their weldments into castings. Being able to simulate the entire process helps a lot, in that regard.” The software being one of the foundry’s business tools has helped them support their selling point that they are more cutting edge and in a leading group of local vendors with the latest technology and equipment.

Antonio Melendez, Design Engineer, points out, “By having MAGMASOFT®, we find that our customers expect more of us. We are confident that we can deliver and have always lived up to and exceeded the challenges our customers have given us.” He adds, “It has become common that when we go back to a customer with a design change that effects them, costs them more money, like adding a riser, they want to know why. MAGMASOFT® gives us that credibility and additional technical support for our case.”

Spokane Employees Discussing MAGMASOFT’s benefits – Antonio Melendez, Design Engineer, David Jolin, Quality Assurance Manager, Rod Grozdanich, Technical Director

Spokane employees discussing MAGMASOFT’s benefits – Antonio Melendez, Design Engineer, David Jolin, Quality Assurance Manager, Rod Grozdanich, Technical Director

David Jolin, Quality Assurance Manager, says, “We do see both current customers and potential customers requiring that we run the casting through a solidification program. There have been times where we have been directly told that in order to be awarded a particular job, we need to show them simulation capability. We are seeing this as a requirement, more often nowadays.”

A big part of justifying the cost of the software was being able to go back and simulate past projects to make designs changes and improve the quality of the castings for future runs. Grozdanich says, “We found many jobs that we set up with our previous simulation software where we really couldn’t see the shrink, and now with MAGMASOFT®, we can see what’s happening and we can fix it. We had chronic instances with issues on jobs in the past that we just could not solve and with MAGMASOFT® we have been able to go in and fix them all.”

Simulating the entire process from design to finished part helps save time and money by creating all the changes and making all the mistakes virtually rather than during actual production. Melendez states, “We are trying to minimize the number of samples before releasing a casting for production. The idea is to do all the tweaking on the computer without spending money to pour multiple samples. This year, we have significantly reduced the number of samples and are more likely to produce a quality part on the first run.”

In addition to the ability to simulate the entire casting process, Spokane has found a solid partner in MAGMASOFT® by taking advantage of the resources extended to them as a user. “The user group meeting every year is a very good tool to keep us informed of new developments and get everyone up to speed on anything we feel we would like to improve upon. Peer-to-peer discussions on how we each utilize the software are invaluable,” Melendez says.

Of the four capabilities that make up Spokane’s license with MAGMASOFT®, namely filling simulation, solidification simulation, heat treatment and stress analysis, Spokane utilizes all these processes to the fullest extent, including macro segregation simulation. Grozdanich points out, “In the last 10 months, on the dozen or so new projects we have put out, all but one or two were quality parts on the first run. Our time to first quality part has therefore been greatly reduced.” Jolin adds, “Being able to simulate the entire casting process has significantly fixed our shrink issue, which was quite a struggle from my end before MAGMASOFT®.” Melendez offers, “One of the main advantages of the software is one can see roadblocks before they actually happen and can compensate for them, specifically with predicting the distortion of the casting and other issues that might arise before we actually build it.”

Søren Anderson of MAGMA shows Antonio Melendez, Design engineer at Spokane, some MAGMASOFT upgrades

Søren Anderson of MAGMA shows Antonio Melendez, Design Engineer at Spokane, some MAGMASOFT upgrades

In addition, the software helps gain understanding and provides clues to what can be happening when issues arise that initially don’t make sense. It’s proving to be a reliable troubleshooting tool by helping to gain clarity where there are issues that arise that are initially not understood. MAGMASOFT® is the missing link that helps lead to that solution, according to Spokane engineers. Antonio Melendez observes, “The software verifies what is going on, gives clarity and enables us to pass on not only an opinion, but provides credibility to support our opinion to our customer. The software is able to set particular processing parameters. For example, when pouring through a sleeve with a filter, there were scrap issues with the filters breaking. After doing some simulations and flows through that method, we could see that, for one ladle, we needed to use an inch and a half diameter nozzle, that way the flow is just right for this particular set up.”

Melendez adds, “Each casting is different, the number of iterations are different. It is more a question of how tough is the part. For example, if you have a part with isolated hot spots and you don’t have clear filling patterns, you are going to struggle. The advantage with MAGMASOFT® is you can see those trouble spots and focus on resolving the issues before creating the first sample. Even if you need to do 200 iterations in the right direction, that’s okay, because we are no longer shooting in the dark.”

At this foundry, it’s clear that their use of process optimization software is yielding benefits across the entire business environment, from design through material use, production through part validation and in differentiating Spokane Industries from its competition in the marketplace.  The result is more work being processed more efficiently, with the plant’s capacity utilization being much higher and more profitable, according to Spokane personnel.

For more information on this story, please contact:

Christof Heisser
President
MAGMA Foundry Technologies, Inc.
10 N. Martingale Road, Suite 425
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: 847-969-1001 ext. 225
Email: cheisser@magmasoft.com
Web: www.magmasoft.com

Schaumburg, Illinois (Chicago) –  With MAGMA5 5.2, MAGMA Foundry Technologies has recently released the latest version of its leading casting process simulation software with significant new and improved functionality. More than 160 improvements were implemented for the user in this new release of version 5.2.   The main focus of the development efforts was on increasing the efficiency in evaluating simulation results.

MAGMA5 5.2 now allows the direct comparison of up to four different project versions in the result perspective. Filling, solidification and stress results can be animated in a synchronized mode. A special highlight is the option to display the geometry and all MAGMA5 results in 3D stereo, using shutter or red/cyan 3D glasses and to store them as 3D images or movies. Various new tools facilitate a standardized result evaluation. 

New result criteria allow for a more effective evaluation of metal cooling and critical metal speeds during filling. The progress of feeding and porosity formation can be monitored and displayed continuously during the entire solidification process. A new criterion to predict cold cracks allows the user to find stress-related casting quality problems more quickly.

The implementation of user results further offers a powerful tool to compile user-specific criteria based on any MAGMA5 results. User results can easily be defined and created automatically during a simulation or subsequently in the result perspective.

Die casting users will appreciate an improved visualization of the process time line and extended consideration of the heat transfer conditions between die casting and die as a function of the local feeding conditions. Additionally, the MAGMAhpdc module now supports the assessment of the real casting temperature as a function of the current shot sleeve conditions.

All users will benefit from the new “resume point” capability, which allows flexibility in re-starting the simulation with modified die casting process conditions, based on the previous or next-to-last casting cycle. Sand casting processes can be resumed with different conditions at the end of any process stage. The automatic enmeshment of complex geometries is now further simplified by new enmeshment criteria and procedures.

Stress simulation results can be prepared for faster post-processing. For the quantitative assessment of casting distortion in the measurement perspective, it is now possible to compare the virtual measurement with the real part geometry.

Finally, with MAGMA5 5.2, a new database of riser sleeves, which was generated by ASK Chemicals, is now available.

 

About MAGMA

 

MAGMA offers comprehensive solutions to the metal casting industry, casting buyers and casting designers worldwide. MAGMA’s product and service portfolio includes the powerful, modular simulation software MAGMASOFT®,with the newest release MAGMA5 as well as engineering services for casting design and optimization.

Today, MAGMASOFT® is used throughout the global metal casting industry, especially for the optimization of cast components in automotive and heavy industry applications.

MAGMA Giessereitechnologie GmbH was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Aachen, Germany. A global presence and support are guaranteed by offices and subsidiaries in the USA, Singapore, Brazil, Korea, Turkey, India and China. Additionally, more than 30 qualified partners represent MAGMA around the world.

For more information on this release, please contact:

Christof Heisser

President

MAGMA Foundry Technologies, Inc.

10 N. Martingale Road, Suite 425

Schaumburg, IL 60173

Phone 847-969-1001 ext. 225

Email  cheisser@magmasoft.com

Web    www.magmasoft.com

Minnesota foundry includes multiple layers from their organization to decide on the right casting process simulation tool

Wide view of Dotson Iron Castings in action

Dotson Iron Castings in Mankato, Minnesota is an iron foundry that melts and pours 100+ tons of ductile iron castings daily, using 20X24 horizontal, high pressure, green sand molding machines. Products include over 3,000 different castings for over 300 customers in a wide range of applications including medical, transportation, agriculture, construction and recreation equipment. The raw casting weights here range from 2 to 50 pounds with typical production quantities ranging from 25 pieces to several thousand.

Dotson prides itself on engineering excellence, providing customers a higher total value with castings designed and produced in a highly automated, quick response foundry and machining facility.

Operating as a foundry for over 130 years, Dotson credits its success to satisfying customer needs by not only managing, but exceeding, their expectations. The goal is to provide customers with quality products in a fast, flexible, cost effective manner.

As a company best practice, Dotson includes its employees in making all important decisions that will impact not only the job of each of the individuals, but the foundry as a whole. Dotson has a program called, “The $10,000 Project.” As the name implies, any purchase made by the foundry of $10,000 or more is done through a detailed process involving the employees who will be most affected by the purchase of the product or equipment being considered.

Any product or project that costs over $10,000 must have a cross-functional group examine all viable options. Members of the group choose what they consider the best product or piece of equipment to help them accomplish their goals.  They then make onsite visits, make comparisons and do cost justifications.  With the information they have gathered, they then make multiple presentations to the group explaining the “what” and the “why” of the product, equipment or service they have chosen for consideration.

John Jaycox, Bradley Wiyninger, Jim Headington and E. Jay Zins discuss MAGMASOFT® at Dotson

When Dotson’s owner Denny Dotson and President /CEO Jean Bye wanted to expand their capabilities in terms of serving customers with solidification solutions, MAGMASOFT®, provided by MAGMA Foundry Technologies (Schaumburg, IL) was one of the many software packages considered. “We certainly are a foundry that differentiates ourselves on our engineering services and to do that you must have the right tools,” Jean Bye said. “We researched and explored our options for a few years before making the decision to purchase simulation software for the foundry,” Denny Dotson adds.

The $10,000 Project is a lengthy process with the participants sometimes making three or four presentations to support their argument. Deciding on the simulation software that best supported the needs of this foundry took a long time, due to the importance of doing numerous comparisons. When comparing the benefits of all the products being considered, “…it came down to weighing out the factors and deciding which ones would have the greatest impact on the overall foundry operation,” Bye stated.

When the $10,000 Project is complete and a decision has been made, nobody can say they weren’t onboard. “They might not have gotten their way,” Bye notes, “but they certainly understand all the reasons why the decision was made, because it was well thought out by the entire group.”

Dotson saw the addition of simulation software as more then just an engineering tool; rather it represented a smart business tool specifically designed to improve yield as well as positively impact sales. There was a lot to consider in the justification process beyond the product’s capabilities. Ease of use, speed of use, accuracy of results, presentation of these results, reputation of the provider’s company, customer care, quick response time from company representatives when there was a question or assistance was needed, as well as which company Dotson felt was more technologically advanced with new innovations. In addition, a significant benefit Dotson saw with simulation was the ability to identify jobs that would require some type of stress relief before actually making the tool or gating system. “It’s much more difficult to go back to the customer after the fact and tell them this is your cost, than it is before you cut the tool. There are always options before anything is created,” Engineering Process Manager Jim Headington points out.

“Moving from opinion or educated guess to a factual report supporting changes has made it quicker and easier to communicate the need for making changes with our customers,” adds Jay Zins, Control Manager at Dotson.

Live shot of Dotson in action

When discussing the impact simulating the process has on time to first quality part, Headington explains, “Time isn’t always the most important issue at hand. Cost and the integrity of the tool by the time you’re done with it are the real keys. When you find yourself adding material to a production tool, it’s never a good thing. Once you scab on that material, no matter how you put it on, you’ve really jeopardized the integrity of the tool. This is all now done virtually, instead of through trial and error.”

On one recent customer project, Dotson ran approximately 30 virtual iterations on a particular part. Not only did having the ability to simulate the entire molding process save a significant amount of time, being able to run a large number of iterations also helped them be sure that the quality of the part was not compromised. “Once in a while, on projects like this, we do 30 simulated iterations, simply because we now can,” Josh Jaycox, Quality Assurance Engineer adds.

While all new jobs at Dotson are run through MAGMASOFT®, retro jobs, especially the high yield jobs, are also now simulated. A significant part of the justification process was improving yield. When considering yield improvements, Dotson recognizes that the improvement in the first year will normally be significant, as they hadn’t run simulation before, whereas moving forward, improving yield would be less significant, as all new jobs are now run through the simulation and, as a result, are more efficient from the very beginning. “Running the software on a casting will also help us see that it may be possible to make a riser smaller, this will help in de-gating and reduce grinding time.” Jaycox said.

Sales and Marketing Manager Matt Schindle adds, “The benefit to the customer is that they know we are not going to build a tool, we are not going to spend a dollar of their money, until we have done the solidification on it. It gives us more credibility and it gives the customer reassurance.”

“It’s almost like having a third party in the room giving our observations credibility,” Bye adds.

Furnace at Dotson Iron Castings

Seeing the importance of being sure their foundry and their engineers have the tools to be the best they can be, Dotson found the addition of MAGMASOFT® to be a natural next step. When considering the in-depth justification process and the criteria involved in bringing a new product or tool into the foundry, they learned their decision regarding process simulation to be a great benefit to the company overall.  Dotson realizes customers now expect and rely on the fact that their parts are run through this virtual process with the end result being the highest quality castings possible.

Choosing MAGMASOFT®, Dotson believes all their performance and value criteria were met and, in many cases, even exceeded. MAGMA’s reputation in the world foundry market and their customer care program, as well as the added benefits of their training programs and annual user group meetings, help Dotson feel more confident in their partnership with MAGMA, according to Jaycox and Headington.

For more information on this story, please contact:

Christof Heisser

President

MAGMA Foundry Technologies, Inc.

10 N. Martingale Road, Suite 425

Schaumburg, IL 60173

Phone 847-969-1001 ext. 225

Email  cheisser@magmasoft.com

Web   www.magmasoft.com