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AFS 2014 Applied Research Award Accomplishments

Applied Research Award 2014

Applied Research Award 2014

Award Criteria

The emphasis of this award is on the practical research that directly addresses pressing technical problems faced by metalcasting facilities, the speed with which the research is transferred into shop floor applications and the collaborative role in developing and implementing technology.

Executive Overview

As an AFS member, and chair of the AFS Energy Committee, TDI recommended that an R&D project be funded to research the benefits of using sub-metering in foundries to gather data on energy use and identify potential savings in a foundry environment. This was approved as R&D project AFS-12-13#03 (Identifying, Implementing & Sustaining Energy Savings),  and was started in June of 2012.

During the past 2 years, Sensor Synergy and TDI have worked with the American Foundry Society to identify energy saving opportunities in several foundry facilities that agreed to participate in this effort. Sensor Synergy's approach to energy savings focuses on the use of monitoring instruments to measure equipment power usage and other parameters to capture metrics reflecting production activities in the foundries.

These measurements yielded significant, and previously unavailable, information about energy use patterns at our host foundries.  Detailed analysis empowered managers with new perspectives of how their operations performed. Numerous opportunities for savings were identified to save time and money for equipment that is commonly used in foundries, with special emphasis on furnaces. These findings are applicable to most foundries in the industry.

Project Goals

Why did AFS undertake this research?

  • To identify energy saving opportunities appropriate to the foundry industry, with special emphasis on melting operations.
  • Choose three areas for detailed analysis as a Project (with induction melting as one of them). Incorporate foundry personnel in the identification of potential "energy hogs" for analysis.
  • Correlate energy consumption data with other production and process information.

Include process information such as alloy, charge weight, equipment malfunctions, etc. in the analysis, to provide comprehensive analysis of savings opportunities. Consider process changes, equipment enhancement, management goals,  site constraints, and environmental considerations in evaluation of energy saving opportunities.

  • Develop Key Performance Indicators specific to the foundry community including baseline operations, visual operator feedback graphs, and management metrics.


Major Project Results

The AFS R&D project was created to find ways to identify energy saving opportunities for foundries.  As the project progressed, exciting discoveries were made as the project evolved. New opportunities emerged, and now AFS Energy solutions program has Identified not one, but two, key benefits for foundries:

  • Efficiency & Throughput Improvement
  • Energy Savings

Projects Completed and Savings Identified

2014 Applied Research Award Recipients

2014 Applied Research Award Recipients

Several AFS Corporate Member foundries provided invaluable assistance and participation in this major R&D project. The Sensor Synergy system was quickly installed in their production foundry environments and metrics collection began immediately. Both foundries supported this project with significant investments of time and operations information that was used to great effect in the benefits analysis for each of the following projects:

Click on each of the following for Project Details:



  • Vacuum Pump System Savings - $50,000-90,000/year


  • Dust Collector and Shakeout Table Savings - $38,000/year

What's Next?

Look for our ongoing updates and case studies discovered by other AFS foundries based on their use of real-time, energy-use monitoring systems like the Sensor Synergy system. Continue to look to Sensor Synergy and outstanding high-tech partners to bring additional tools to the foundry community.

System Costs

A complete initial system from Sensor Synergy  is sold for under $18,000; in recognition of AFS support for this significant R&D effort, AFS corporate members receive a discount of over 20%. Foundries choose from a wide array of sensor and data analysis options, based on the type and scale of equipment to be monitored. Three months of data analysis and six months of cloud data storage is included in the purchase price. Full details of system components and analysis services are available on request.

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