Smelting plant, foundries & bulk good technology
We link together plants and weighing systems
Do you have applications for product weighing, dispensing, measurement, bottling, transporting or recording?
Just contact us!
We will create a vendor-independent optimal solution, cost-effective and tailored to your requirements
Our wide-ranging scope of services includes special patented solutions for weighing technology, such as high-precision weighing of production furnaces in steelworks and foundries, filling/identification/logistics of transport ladles, dispensing and bottling of powders and solids, turnkey dispensing facilities and much more.
Total solutions are our strong point
Our solutions commence with feasibility studies, produce a conceptual design, and then develop proposals for a detailed solution. Complex problems, far removed from normal standards, are something that we see as a challenge. From individual components to turnkey plants, we seamlessly integrate our systems into your production process. What matters in the end are the results and the added value that you have gained. Your success is our best reference.
Video - Fair model "Miniature loading"
Application areas and clients
I/ 2016 - Two types of mobile, wireless temperature measurement
To optimize the production process, it is essential to have knowledge of the exact temperatures. That is possible with the two new releases of fiwa)group, moreover, without cables, ie wireless!
At surrounding temperatures up to 580°C PRE-TEMP (T151)® is used, if the surrounding temperature is max . 200°C, you can now use the PRE-TEMP (T161)®.
IV/ 2014 - Complete tracking of the production process
In our sixth Newsletter of last year we presented you the benefits of a complete and continuous material monitoring and logistic, starting with the aluminum manufacturing process to the point of foundry finished products. An important part of this production chain is the integration of the RFID-procedure in the single identification and monitoring processes.
It was shown that one of the diverse starting points, a special RFID-solution, generated a lot of interest in the clients of the foundry sector. Our solution for the prevention of alloy mix-ups during the production process offers a secure system for a task not yet solved, which is becoming increasingly important.
This is why we decided to dedicate an entire article to this special application. You will receive it in advance as Newsletter, before being published in the coming weeks in different trade publications. We will also present our RFID-solution with help of a model at our stand during the upcoming Aluminum tradeshow in Düsseldorf in October. You will receive more detailed information about our tradeshow appearance and the respective highlights at a later point.
Complete tracking of the production process-
the key to an optimized production
Alloy mix-up excluded!
More and more costumers ask for it and within the quality management area it is considered to be a clear improvement: complete tracking of the liquid metal production process among the individual places of production.
The increase in the number of alloys that are processed at the same time in the production process has increased the risk of mixing-up the alloys during this operation. Mistakes are human and mistakes can happen. The consequences of such a mix-up can be serious. For example, if an employee fills a melting or die cast metal oven with a liquid metal melting pot filled with the alloy A, but should normally be filled with alloy B, his action will have far-reaching consequences: as soon as the mix-up will be noticed, the oven will be taken out of production, drained and cleaned. This will lead to a financial loss partly because of production downtime as well as from other costs resulting out of the necessary cleaning. If it is not noticed, parts can be produced that do not meet the quality standards of the customer and represent at worst a safety risk. To eliminate such a case, it is fundamental for the producer and the customer to be able to avoid such errors beforehand.
We, the fiwa)group, have been dealing for years among other things with the labeling and identification of production means and goods. Due to the great interest in solving this task we developed and tested a consistent system that avoids a mix-up of alloys and completely documents the production flow.
This solution is possible through the so-called RFID-technique (radio-frequency identification).
“RFID (radio-frequency identification) represents a technology for sender-receiver-systems regarding the automatic and contact-free object identification and localizing (product - being) by means of radio waves. This considerably facilitates the data gathering (colloquially also known as radio tag)
A RFID-System consists of a transponder, which is located on or in the object respectively being and contains a characteristic code, as well as a reading device for reading this identifier.” (Source: Wikipedia http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFID.:)
The structure and functionality in practice
The system structure is divided as follows: all equipment like oven, melting pots and impeller stations are equipped with specially adjusted RFID-transponders. In this juncture it is important to meet the local conditions. In this case, specially designed retainers will be partly used, to protect the transponders against extreme heat influences and harsh environmental conditions.
The internal means of transport, mostly forklifts, are equipped with the associated read/write antenna. All available production means are assigned to alloys beforehand. The assigning can be automatic or manual. When a forklift takes only one transfer ladle, the system verifies with help of the identifier in the transponder if the ladle is enabled for the transporting alloy. The next examination takes place during filling of the transport melting pot at the casting oven: the system in the forklift communicates with the transponder at the casting oven and verifies if the melting pot and oven match the given alloy. In the case that at the next step the full melting pot is driven to the die cast or melting pot oven, another evaluation takes place at the oven. If the melting pot is at the right oven, then the driver will receive an enabling signal. If the evaluation is negative, the driver will be alerted visually and acoustically in the forklift that he is at the wrong oven. If the plant has WIFI-net, the filling of the oven can optionally be prevented by locking the oven door. All reached stations shall be documented with time data, so that a monitoring and evidence of the internal transports is possible at all time. An expansion of the system by additional ovens or other equipment is possible at any time, given that these too need only be equipped with a cost-efficient transponder.
Enhanced functionality – possible at any time
Due to the open structure, additional functions can be assimilated resp. integrated later into the system.
- Visualization of the route on the monitor of the forklift
- Automatic equipment-assignment to the alloy via external data interfaces
- Wireless temperature measurement of the melting pot and product temperature with display in the forklift resp. remote indication
- Weighing of the content of the transport melting pot via a weighing system integrated in the forklift
- Dynamic route management by integrating the oven weight resp. oven feedback (ex. If the oven reports a minimal fill level, it will be moved upwards in the route planning or in the prioritization list respectively)
- Higher positions can be notified automatically in real-time for disregard of the requirements
- Integration of external data and camera images in the display system
- Locking and blocking of the incorrectly approached stations
- Integration of fixed routes along stations like ex. Impel station. An incorrect route reduction by omitting stations shall be recorded and at the nest station there shall be no enabling, respectively.
- Automatic saving of data from routes, times and temperatures for evidence
- System expansion for skeleton containers and storage areas
The practical use in the field has shown that these systems work without fault. We will gladly inform you in detail about our solution regarding the “complete production process tracking”, as well as about its advanced application. We support you in the identification – automating – optimizing process.
III/ 2014 - Deprecated automation systems - the underestimated danger
One can hardly believe it - in many aluminium producing and processing plants, in several production areas, there are still quite a lot of old steerage mechanisms, and even worse, certain specifics, that are partially no longer of importance on the market. These steerage mechanisms, that are controlling significant plant components as well as production components, can still be put to use for several years. But what will happen when condensers and processors will abruptly cease functioning? Many companies underestimate the problems arising from this situation. Often, no appropriate spare parts can be found, and software engineers who can still operate such systems accordingly, are already in short supply nowadays. The worst case scenario is in this case a complete drop out of important production ressources. We, the fiwa)group, have gathered a diversified experience in the area of migration from old onto new automation solutions during the past few years. The article below will depict how we approach such a task.
Turn „OLD“ into „New“
Migration solutions in the area of automation
In order to achieve a problem free and quick migration of the programmable steerage, a methodical approach is necessary. Before considering replacing the complete programmable steerage, it is indispensable to determine the current state. Many functions are being handled in a completely different way inside the programmable steerage, than it was the case for example at the beginning of the 1990s with the limited technical possibilities back then.
|Turn "OLD" (Siemens S5) ...||... into "NEW" (Siemens S7).|
In order to organize a problem free replacement, it is absolutely necessary to posess both the existing program documentation and the associated hardware plans. With this cadre and the branch knowledge, our experienced programmers can already estimate precise conclusions concerning the volume, functions and possible adjustment obstacles, and thus they can estimate also the necessary effort.
|If you are still in posession of a battery based storage, this one needs to be charged regularly. Otherwise, data will be lost in case of an eventual power outage!|
Together with the operator, the next step will be discussed - the still open issues, opportunities and parameters of the migration. The most important thing for is is to find the most cost-effective and performance-effective solution according to the customer needs. This can include the simple replacement of the SPS and up to the completely new control cabinets and switchboards, which can for example be equiped with modern touch panels and operational controls. By means of the main assessment of all individual data related to the different systems, the customer can reach additional optimisation opportunitie
If all elements have been clarified previously, and the order has been placed, the actual migration will now begin. New hardware plans will be developed, necessary parts will be acquired, and, if necessary, new control cabinets and switchboards. While programming the new steerage, a continuous survey will be performed, which will show whether the steerage is according to the actual requirements, concerning functionality. The significant fact here is that the programmers have extended skills concerning both the old and the new technique of programming. Wherever necessary, partly interlaced and complicated solutions had to be programmed in the past due to the technical possibilities back then, in order to achieve elaborate sequences and complicated tasks. In the best case, many of these programming sequences can be simplified or solved in a completely different way based on the new program architecture.
If all sub-operational sequences are completed, the next step will be to test these in a combined way. To perform this step, all operating steps and sequences will be simulated by the fiwa)group. This way, several necessary functions can be tested together with the customer and improvements can be carried out, so that no unecessary delays will occur during the startup.
In order to keep you, as customer, up to date with the status of the project, ongoing progress will be communicated on a regular basis. The constant exchange of information makes it possible to plan an ideal appointment in preparation of the necessary on site work. Our goal is to disturb your production process as little as possible during the migration from the old to the new system. The migration project will end after the successful bringing into service and the acceptance by the project managers.
On demand, we will gladly elaborate our course of action in a personal interview. Just ask us and we will take care of this underestimated danger.
II/ 2014 - Are you sure that you are safe?
Evoiding industrial injuries and accidents at work is one of the most important issues in each production plant. Potential causes of risk can be detected with the help of preventive measures and thus evoided or kept at a minumum by means of appropriate actions. In spite of this fact, notifiable disturbances and accidents can never be completely ruled out. Such accidents are even graver when they concern persons' health. If such a case occurs, the responsible authorities will start to firstly investigate the liable persons involved. Often it is being ignored, that only natural persons can be held liable, but not companies. The question that each manager/member of the senior staff should ask himself, including even the management board, appears quite clear: how to proceed in order to do justice to the obligation for executive care? The main resource of executive care and evoiding to take responsibility is the appropriate documentation. These are the alfa and omega of operational safety. Why this is the case shall be explained in the below newsletter. Please read it carefully, because operational safety is an issue of general interest.
Am I as a carrier on the safe side?
The operator of a facility and the one responsible for that facility must take notice of several aspects in order to be prepared for a case of emergency.
The legal foundation is the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health (BetrSichV). It contains the appropriation of work equipment by the employer, as well as the use of this equipment by the employees and the operating facilities that need to be monitored according to the employment protection.
According to this ordinance, production facilities are also work equipment. This is why the facilities need to be assessed for risks even during their planning, so the necessary steps can be taken in order to prevent accidents.
Often, even machines for development, filling and packing are employed next to the production facilities.
The manufacturer or distributor of the machine is compelled to apply a CE label onto all new products, all products imported from third party countries, as well as onto all considerably altered products. All appliable guidelines will be considered.
When providing a CE label, the manufacturer or distributor demands an EG-declaration of conformity, mentioning the guidelines that apply for that particular product.
It is quickly becoming obvious, that the safety aspect needs to be placed on top of the priority list when it comes to altering facilities. By resorting to a fundamental change, one becomes the actual manufacturer of that machine. According to the Product Safety Act(ProdSG), the manufacturer is held liable for eventual product defects, as the initiation and commercial launch is only permitted if health and safety are not endangered in case of foreseeable use according to regulations.
If, for example, the machine in question is according to the machinery directive 2006/42/EWG, the following technical documents need to be issued:
assessment of risk
instruction book according to the parameters of the machinery directive
- a list of the applied norms
- list of items
The machinery directive still differentiates between machines that are ready for use and incomplete machines. For the latter, an installation declaration usually suffices. The content of the installation declaration is usually regulated, but is considerably shorter than in case of the machines that are ready for use.
As facilities and machines are usually often altered during modern production processes nowadays (uprating, changes in functions) one should ask oneself the following questions first:
are new dangers the result of the altering of facilities/machines or of using new materials?
is the change made to the facility/machine fundamental or not?
will the connection of single machines lead to an interlinked facility/machine?
Whatever the case may be, the results need to be documented and the current assessment of risk needs to be checked through or, if necessary, amended. Determined dangers need to be lowered to a tolerable remaining risk and the appropriate facility documentation (instruction book) needs to be updated. The determined measures in order to establish safety will be carried into execution according to the best available technology.
- As best available technology apply the currently effective norms, guidelines, but also already established technical solutions.
The possible dangers and risks of a facility or machine need to be discovered early and thus analysed also from the perspective of the given work environment and/or the cutting point to neighbouring work spaces or facility parts. Connected stand-alone machines, that interact functionally, will be handled as interlinked machines. This way, a whole is created from several stand-alone machines. For this entity, the operator of the facility will also issue a CE-declaration of conformity.
If the operator purchases a machine with a CE-label, it is recommended based on experience to check the annex documents for integrity and plausibility. This will facilitate coping with sevral issues at a later point, should these occur (for example in case of changes beind made or other occurences with work tools and supplies).
All machines and facilities pose a certain potential danger. As operator or facility responsible person, you are responsible for the safety of your employees and taking the appropriate measures. In order to navigate through the jungle of laws, guidelines and their technical requirements, a certain quantity of experience and endurance is necessary. Our specialists in the areas of safety protection, health protection and environment protection (HSE) will deliver these services for you and will support you with advice and actions, so you can concentrate on the core business - the production.
We will safely and certainly offer you support in the following areas:
- Functional safety (DIN EN 61508 / DIN EN 61511)
- Machine safety (MRL 2006/42/EG)
- CE-labelling/EG-declaration of conformity
- job analysis according to the BetrSichV
- explosion control
I/ 2014 - Furnace weighing - a weighty topic
The What, as in the final product, is normally closely specified in any industry. The How Much results, however, often only at the end of the production chain. In the aluminum manufacturing and processing industry, especially, one should already know during production phase, given the variety of alloys and products, just how much material there is in all its forms and components in the production flow. This knowledge helps to better plan the exact demand for production materials before and after production process, thus to produce more cost and demand optimized. The fiwa)group has built itself a positive name in recent years in the area of furnace and heavy duty weighing. The exact weight determination in production furnaces has become an important part of the How Much. Hereinafter we would like to list a few ways of how to currently achieve accurate furnace weighing. As mentioned, "a weighty topic" for us.
VII/ 2013 - KWA is now called HGS
Optimising internal structures, bringing together core competencies and a forward-looking personnel policy are some of the aspects that need to be addressed to be prepared for future and growing tasks. Due to the massive increase in projects in the aluminium industry, we have now consistently implemented the above mentioned points, leading us to merge the previous CWE centre of excellence into a new, larger department. The SFB centre of excellence for "Smelting Plant, Foundry and Bulk Materials Technology" was created in order to be ready for existing and future issues and tasks within the aluminium industry. This does not have any significant impact on you as a customer and prospective customer. Good and well known practices will stay as they are. We are however certain that going forward, the new structures will enable us to react to your wishes and requirements even better and more quickly.
The current key aspects of our SFB department are:
- Furnace weighing for new and existing furnaces
- Ladle or crucible logistics as well as the associated identification of the content based on weight.
- Gas mixing and dosing systems for liquid metal gassing in production furnaces
- Retrofitting of sink systems and sinks in die casting and casting furnaces
- Identification, production tracking and determination of quality
- Increasing the degree of automation of existing legacy systems
- Wireless temperature measurement for many applications
- Bulk acquisition of castings and small parts to determine volume and completeness
- Weighing of charging machines as well as various transportation and commercial vehicles
- Warehouse and fleet management for products and means of transport
- Filling, dosing and fluidisation systems for granulates and solids, including related loading stations
VI/ 2013 - Identify - Automate - Optimise
How is it but so beautiful in the vernacular "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link". Sure can not directly compare a chain in the classical sense of industry today's production of aluminium-producing and processing ends, but you can find some parallels. Many production processes are closed island solutions even today. Important production data and information that have direct influence on the further manufacturing, are not or only insufficiently forwarded or shown. This lack of data and factors influencing production is often the weakest link in the production. The resulting sequence is that the chance is given directly and specifically to intervene in the production process and to optimize it in a timely manner. The fiwa)group creates the links between the individual stations and ensures that a strong, closed production chain is created from individual members. The following article deals precisely with this issue and shows the opportunities by identifying automate tuning.
V/ 2013 - Accurate filling made even easier
The subject of proper filling, dosing and fluidisation is a major issue that can cause frequent and annoying headaches.For all media, especially solids such as granules or powders, it must be ensured that on the one hand quantities are precisely filled or dosed and, on the other hand, dosing devices can work without problems and failures in the long run. Especially with solids, which tend to generate deposit buildups and to compact, the correct choice of the filling method is a real challenge. In addition, in case of a product change, this is often compounded by the often complicated cleaning procedures of the systems.
Using classic dosing methods such as metering screws, it may happen that certain residual amounts sink in even after switch-off, thereby increasing the actual amount as compared to the desired quantity. An alternative possibility is to use a system with a lower material feed to avoid overfilling. However, this usually means an extension of the filling time and, frequently, due to smaller dimensioning, to a higher failure incidence. As a supplier, the fiwa)group offers a complete solution based on a new innovative filling and dosing system. With the filling system implemented by us and its special design, which we introduce below, it is however possible to avoid the known disadvantages of conventional systems and fill powders, granules, grains and many other solids through a trouble-free process allowing for gentle product handling and high precision.
IV/ 2013 - Smart crucibles
“Some Like it Hot”. This saying is true not only for the many sun worshippers
who in the warmest season are searching for their place in the sun, but also for innovative new products which, despite extremely hot operating and environmental conditions, retain their normal functionality. At maximum ambient temperatures, the limits of applications for sensors and electronics normally lie between 60° and 80° C. In the field of metal producing and processing industries, decidedly higher temperatures can occur in one or the other application. Here, as the popular saying goes, “the wheat separates from the chaff”. We, the fiwa) group, tackle these challenges so as to be able to also implement such applications. As described in the following application, in this case there was nothing left for us to do but launch an in-house development to meet these requirements.
III/ 2013 - iMES CC increases productivity
Practice-oriented MES systems have demonstrated the new possibilities and potential savings that can be realised through iMES CC, particularly in foundries and metal recycling companies. Without the use of a production management system, it will soon become close to impossible to manage production in line with market conditions and make sound operating decisions.
II/ 2013 - A Novelty in Weighing Technology
What do we consider as innovation these days? First and foremost, certainly new inventions, new procedures and new techniques. However, innovative can also be the combination of proven technology to generate as a result an entirely new product or system that has not existed on the market so far. In our new Newsletter, we would like to present such an application to you. The task solved by us required a precise and highly accurate weighing based on the classical weighing technology within a steel structure rotating in itself. We consider it one of our challenges to realise such tasks which lie far beyond the normal standard.
I/ 2013 - Optimation by Combination
Over the last 40 years the fiwa)group has been developed into an innovative and reliable partner of many well-known companies. Especially in the branches of steelworks high technology and foundries industry, we managed to become a major player in the industry with our own and patented innovations. System solutions in the field of weighing technology, sensor technology, production and warehouse logistics, gas metering and automation technology and specialized software solutions are our highlights. Solutions of our efficacy. You have the "task", we will take care of the "customized, cost-effective solution." Complex tasks, not corresponding to the usual standards we consider as a challenge. For this reason, we believe that it would be interesting for you to be informed timely through our newsletter about our new developments in your industry. In this sense, we hope that our newsletter will meet your expectations.
The combination of gas dosing system and weighing within the combustion chamber in addition to the direct benefits results a number of synergies leading to the process optimization.
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