A short description of a charging operation by means of a dedicated vehicle and a rail mounted machine follows:
a)A certain number of charging boxes can be loaded in the scrap area by standard grab crane and front loader. This is done far away from the melting furnaces while the furnace door is closed and the previous melt cycle is still running,
b) Both the furnace charging vehicles and the rail mounted charging machines are equipped with their own weighing system on board to check and record the quantity of scrap that should be also monitored by the different typology. These data are collected and sent via radio and or bluetooth to the local computer in the cast house office,
c) As soon as the furnace is ready to receive a new charge the operator and / or the rail charging machine starts the new operation with the following sequence:
1 The charging vehicle or machine moves to the front of the furnace
2 The furnace door is automatically opened
3 The charging box is entering into the furnace
4 The scrap is lightly discharged either into the molten metal directly or left for a few minutes on the dry hearth of the furnaces
5 The charging box comes out and the furnace door is automatically closed. This sequence is repeated continuously 24 hours per day and, due to the precision of the operation and the rapidity of its execution,furnace productivity can be increased by up to 20 per cent depending on the current charging method.Another important benefit coming from the use of dedicated tending machines is the energy savings. Dedicated charging systems and vehicles need approximately 3 to 5 minutes to load 20 tonnes of solid scrap while the same quantity of material charged by forklift and or front loader may need up to 30 minutes. Particular importance has to be given to the prolonged life of the refractory lining.
The precision of the charging operation and the speed of execution may extend the lining campaign by 4-5 times. Several aluminium companies have confirmed this data. While
charging and tending, forklifts and front loaders continuously smash into the furnace doorsill.
A dedicated charging system does not touch the furnace lining while tending at all.
A quicker charging operation also limits the temperature loss inside the furnaces.
SOCMA has monitored temperature savings of more than 50ºC when compared to a forklift charging operation. This operation took approximately 30 minutes and during this time
the lining of the furnace walls went from red to black and created shrinkages and later many lining dilations. These deformations of the refractory lining impact negatively on its
lifetime and the only way to prevent them is quick opening and closing of the furnace door.
SOCMA believes that the use of dedicated furnace tending machines is the right way to increase the melting capacity and the quality of the product. The cast house environment will
be enhanced and the work safety of the operators increased greatly, along with the operating noise level being reduced.
The message to aluminium companies that are willing to improve the subsidiary operations of the melting phases is to invest in dedicated vehicles and equipment. You need tailored solutions to best support and reach your optimum efficiency. The return on investment in such technology will have a very short payback period, normally within a year.
SOCMA have spent the last 5 years of my life working in supporting the aluminium industry, with a special focus on the melting operations. we would like to say to you that we have
to look forward with a special regard to the new generations, therefore it is very important to invest in dedicated vehicles and equipment, consider the safety of the operators as well as preserving the valuable environment for all our futures.