The MiniCast™ system is a modular, scalable, environmentally-friendly, in-line scrap recycling facility for aluminum extruders and forgers. This micro-version of a casthouse allows for smaller aluminum operations to meet their billet demand, while also optimizing their turnaround scrap economies.
Advantages to the Customer
- Savings of 7 to 9 cents/lb of scrap conversion cost
- Quicker turn-around of process scrap
- Ability to buy 100% dealer scrap and save 3 to 4 cents/lb additionally
- Savings in scrap and billet transportation costs
- Ability to cast billet diameters from 4″ to 40″
- Capacity from 300,000 lbs/month to 10 million lbs/month
- Lower inventory holding costs
- Ability to produce a cocktail of alloys (hard and soft)
- Improved extrusion press productivity
Primary System Components
Melting Furnace – Almex custom designs stationary or tilting reverberatory melting furnaces powered by natural gas fired regenerative Ultra Low NOx burners. All Almex furnace designs integrate materials with improved refractory wear which also contribute to reduced furnace degradation.
MOLDEX™ Molten Metal Transfer System – The metal transfer launder system is solidly built using fabricated steel for the shell and our proprietary moldable material, MOLDEX™, for the refractory lining. The transfer system is mounted on adjustable stands which accurately set the invert slope from the furnace exit to the casting table. The correct transition slope ensures low turbulence and even metal flow. Heated launder lids control the preheating of the refractory prior to casting and shield the molten metal from the atmospheric environment.
LARS™ Liquid Aluminum Refining System – Developed and patented by Almex, this degassing and refining unit provides optimum hydrogen and inclusion removal performance. The design flexibility of the LARS allows for entry and exit port configurations to be dictated by the available space of the site layout.
FILTREX™ Ceramic Foam Filter System – The Almex FILTREX™ filter unit is sufficiently robust to be the final stage in removing any inclusions generated between the LARS™ and the FILTREX™.
MEGA™ DC Casting Machine – The MEGA™ casting machine designed by Almex utilizes a single or double acting, internally guided hydraulic casting cylinder which provides the ultimate motion control and linearity especially required by casting of large diameters or hard alloy billet or slab. The design also incorporates a central bearing tube within the cylinder which provides the anti-rotational control, increases the rigidity, and impedes the deflection of the cylinder even at full stroke.
Hydraulic Power Unit (HPU) – The HPU incorporates all the control devices, pumps, and reservoirs for cylinder. A servo-valve accurately meters the oil flow from the cylinder. A Coriolis flow-meter measures and calculates both the casting speed and the cast length returning any error signal to the servo-valve ensuring absolute speed and control accuracy.
Cooling Water System – The cooling water system is a closed loop. A variable frequency drive controls the both the supply and return pumps and the pit water level during the cast. An in-line re-circulating pump provides constant water flow to the Total Dissolved Solid (TDS) and pH meters. The pump responds to out-of-tolerance conditions by diverting water flow to a blow down drain and replenishes the system with fresh water until water quality reaches acceptable values.
EXCEL™ Billet Tooling System – Almex EXCEL™ mold technology offers the optimum in safety, simplicity, productivity, and quality. The EXCEL billet casting system is configured to your exact dimensional specifications and desired alloy requirements.
CASTRIGHT II™ Automation System – The Almex CASTRIGHT II™ Automation System controls the entire casting line. A dedicated PLC based system communicates with all other important line systems, controllers, transducers, and sensors. The operator adjusts casting parameters through a touch screen located at the HMI location.
SCADA – The SCADA system controls the casting recipes, including multiple step recipes which minimize such risks as butt curl, tearing, or internal cracking, for automated control. Casting reports are generated using the array of data collected during the cast including alarms and manual adjustments made during the cast.
Homogenizing Furnace – The homogenizing furnace designs employ a two-zone, reversing fan configuration drawing in cold air and Ultra Low NOx burners. Travelling on rails, the furnace utilizes a retractable lower seal which is raised during furnace motion and is lowered to minimize heat loss. Eight load zones and roof thermocouples monitor the temperatures for optimum control. Both the heat and soak zones are PLC controlled and recipe driven.
Rapid Chill Fan Bank – The bank of air fans quenches the load of billet. Set on rails the fan bank is transferred to fully service both ends of the homogenizing furnace.
Micro Lab with Quality Control Equipment – Metal quality, both qualitative and quantitative, is analyzed using the powerful ZMET™ technology. Confirmation of billet internal quality is achieved using the Almex ULTREX™ hot ultrasonic technology in real-time.
For alloy development work, Almex has designed a dedicated research and development casthouse where very small production runs of 1.5 mt per cast can be undertaken.
Almex assumes the overall project responsibilities for the entire project including:
- Site layout and logistic evaluation
- Preparation of emission and pollution applications to local and state authorities
- All certified foundation construction drawings for the casthouse
- Supervision and liaison with contractors
- Supply of all casthouse equipment
- Installation supervision and turnkey furnace installation
- Quality control equipment and technology supply
- Combined melting furnace, homogenizing furnace, and casting practice technology for specific alloys
- Start-up and commissioning services