Development of the intelligent coating unit ICU-I – integral mechanical engineering solution
19 mei 2022
STS has had a very productive collaboration with Foseco for many years, including the development of the first Intelligent Coating Unit (ICU).
A more intelligent process
Foseco is a supplier to the foundry industry of consumable products, equipment and services that enhance the performance of foundries all over the world. One of those products is refractory coating to be applied to moulds and cores which are traditionally made from casting sand. Thanks to this coating the final cast component product characteristics will be improved, for example, a reduced surface roughness of the cast product free from defects.
As a project manager, Bart Jannink is responsible for this project: “Coating of moulds and cores is a very traditional process, but very operator skill level dependent. The common goal of this project was to automate this process for the customer, therefore we developed a dipping tank with state of the art modern technology, called ICU-I.”
The basic material for a specific coating is a slurry with a high density. The ICU-I is able to measure the incoming raw material and mix it with water to reach the optimum viscosity. Bart: “However, viscosity is difficult to measure for this type of product, so we chose to measure it by a very accurate density measurement combined with an intelligent control system. The hardware we use is controlled by our custom made software.”
The ICU-I also features technology for predictive maintenance. This technology is also custom made for this application. “This software is based on data that we’ve collected over the years. It’s based on operating hours, load and handling. Predicting maintenance is very important for critical parts in the process, because they work with abrasive materials in this industry.”
“Of course it was our goal to deliver an all-in-one solution for Foseco’s needs, just as we did with previous projects. Our engineers developed this machine based on the demands of Foseco and their customers. We’ve constructed and tested it in our own workshop; even the controlling software was developed in-house. We are also planning to install the ICU-I at the location of Foseco’s customer in Eastern-Germany. It’s the definition of a turnkey project.”