Winner of the Prestigious American Foundry Society 2014 Applied Research Award
Specific, knowledge about how melting furnaces and other energy-intensive equipment are used, provides foundries with powerful new insights and savings.
Solutions can be identified for
- reducing energy consumption,
- improving productivity, and
- increasing production.
The American Foundry Society sponsored an innovative R&D project to explore common benefits for foundries, utilizing new cost-effective technologies available from Sensor Synergy, Inc. This effort proved so successful that Sensor Synergy was awarded the coveted AFS Applied Research Award in 2014.
Savings identified at one of the host foundries was equivalent to the revenue from $25,000,000 of additional sales.
The AFS Energy Committee approved this effort as R&D project AFS-12-13#03 (Identifying, Implementing & Sustaining Energy Savings), and the project was started in June, 2012. The AFS Engineering Division 1 Energy Committee monitored the R&D project. Two foundries volunteered to host this project and actively support the research efforts. For the past 2 years, Sensor Synergy has worked with AFS to identify energy saving opportunities in the two foundry facilities participating in the R&D project.
Sensor Synergy's methodology uses specialized monitoring instruments to measure equipment power usage and other parameters to capture metrics reflecting foundry production activities. These measurements, never previously available, yielded very significant information about energy use patterns at our host foundries.
Advanced analysis combined these metrics with other operational and scheduling information provided by the foundries. The results: managers were empowered with new perspectives of how their operations performed and numerous opportunities for significant savings were identified - especially related to furnaces. These findings are applicable to virtually all metalcasting facilities.
The monitoring system used in this highly successful project is now commercially available as part of the AFS Energy Solutions Program, which TDI Consulting manages for AFS. While any AFS member can purchase the system, an exclusive discount of 20% is only available to AFS Corporate Members.
The emphasis of the AFS Applied Research Award is to recognize practical research that:
Directly addresses pressing technical problems faced by metalcasting facilities,
Is quickly transferable from the laboratory to shop floor applications, and
Is technology developed and implemented in close collaboration with foundry members.
Why did AFS undertake this research?
To identify energy saving opportunities appropriate to the foundry industry - with special emphasis on melting operations.
To provide detailed analysis of three distinct foundry areas - with special emphasis on induction melting.
To incorporate foundry personnel in the identification of potential "energy hogs" for analysis.
To correlate energy consumption data with other production and process information and provide more comprehensive analysis than was previously available, including evaluation of:
Alloy, charge weight, equipment malfunctions, etc.
Process changes, equipment enhancement, management goals, site constraints, and environmental considerations.
To develop key performance indicators (KPIs) specific to the metalcasting community, including:
visual operator feedback graphs, and
management metrics which provide greater insight for management to make more informed and effective decisions.
Key Project Results
The AFS R&D project was initially created to find ways to identify energy saving opportunities for foundries. As the project progressed and evolved, exciting additional discoveries were made. New opportunities emerged, and now, the AFS Energy Solutions Program has identified not one, but two, key benefits for metalcasting facilities:
Leading Benefits for Metalcasters:
- Throughput Improvement
- Efficiency Improvement
- Energy Savings
Projects Completed and Savings Identified
Several AFS Corporate Member foundries provided invaluable assistance and participation in this major R&D project. The Sensor Synergy system was quickly installed in the host foundry environments and metrics collection began immediately. Both foundries supported this project with significant investments of time and operational information that was used to great effect in the benefits analysis for each of the following projects.
Each project focused on significantly different foundry operations and offered insights into sizable savings opportunities.
Click below for project details
Estimated Savings: $466,000 per year
Estimated Savings: $50,000 - $90,000 per year
Estimated Savings: $38,000 per year
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.
As more AFS foundries implement this technology, the AFS Energy Solutions Program and TDI Consulting will share AFS foundry discoveries, 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.