Pyrotek delivered and installed a 19.5-meter (64-foot) transfer line (launder) with infrared heating lids at CIE C. Vilanova, a high-pressure die casting plant in Barcelona, Spain. A previously installed transfer line provided by another vendor was leading to freezing aluminium, metal overflows, and unsafe conditions.
Pyrotek’s winning engineered solution saves CIE C. Vilanova money because of reduced downtime and increased energy efficiency. Pyrotek also eliminated the use of unsafe burners that were used on the existing transfer line, greatly increasing operational safety.
- Delivered rapid, safe installation during scheduled Christmas holiday production shutdown
- Provided on-site engineering, analyzed the problem and provided a lasting solution
- The Pyrotek transfer line (launder) technology reduced metal oxidation and generated energy savings
- Stayed on the project until all challenges were overcome to customer’s complete satisfaction
Last year, CIE C. Vilanova, which is part of the CIE Automotive Group, had a new melting furnace installed at Vilanova i la Geltrú (near Barcelona, Spain), where the company performs high-pressure aluminium injection and gravity die casting.
Shortly after the furnace was in use, however, they experienced major problems with metal freezing and metal overflows along the connected transfer line that had been installed by the furnace supplier.
The critical transfer line moves metal around the clock, Monday through Saturday, with maximum flow rates of 5 tonnes per hour, sometimes with very low temperatures, 630-640°C (1166-1184°F).
The low flow rates and low temperatures, combined with the transfer line’s lack of insulation and some dimensional problems, were resulting in metal freezing inside the line—even with the use of burners all around the line. The use of burners wasn’t desirable, either, because of the associated dangers.
The customer quickly contacted David Tello Lorente, the Pyrotek sales engineer for this account, needing a solution urgently. Pyrotek was already a trusted partner of CIE C. Vilanova’s, suppling: aluminium filters, reinforced fiberglass material (RFM™) ladles and launders, fluxes, graphite shafts and rotors, degassing units, hydraulic transport crucibles, gas preheating equipment, and more.
In less than two weeks after being contacted in this case, Pyrotek had already met a couple times with CIE C. Vilanova representatives.
"We worked very fast to be able to install the line over the Christmas holiday," says Saul Gracia Villacampa, Pyrotek’s Foundry Manager in Western Europe.
Members of Pyrotek’s engineering center in Blansko, Czech Republic, set to work fast and found a solution. Pyrotek decided to adjust the transfer line profile, add high-quality insulation, and cover most of the line with infrared heating lids. The line was given 16 infrared lids with eight different heating zones to set different temperatures, with a maximum temperature of 860°C (1580°F).
"Blansko made the effort to accelerate all the production lead times to supply the line before Christmas" during the scheduled holiday production shutdown, Gracia Villacampa says. "That would be the only stoppage until summer, so it was critical to get the job done in December."
The transfer line arrived at CIE C. Vilanova’s plant three days before Christmas, and commissioning was completed during the final days of 2020 and first days of 2021.
The infrared panels didn’t overheat the metal in the transfer system, unlike the burners. That improvement has significantly reduced metal oxidation. The elimination of burners will also increase the service life of the refractory in the transfer system.
Significantly, CIE C. Vilanova continues to see the benefits of reduced energy consumption. The average energy consumption of the transfer system is 20 kilowatts per hour.
Newly installed technology like this can require fine tuning and adjustments to get everything exactly right. Pyrotek made sure that work was done.
"We always stay and work with the customer to make sure any challenges are overcome, and their goals are met," Gracia Villacampa says.