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What to Consider When Selecting Forging or Die Casting Conveyors

Hot Cast Iron Parts

Characterized by extreme temperatures and large payloads, material transfer in die casting and forging is among the most heavy-duty in metalworking. Therefore, equipment used to move parts or metal scrap must be constructed and configured to be safe, efficient, durable, and reliable. With that in mind, here are things to consider when selecting conveyors for foundry and forging operations.

Safety

Foundries are inherently hazardous. Conveyor considerations for improving safety include:

Eliminating manual processes: Whether conveying sharp-trimmed flash or safely feeding metal scrap into a furnace, conveyors that automate material handling help reduce the risk for injuries. In fact, operations that have implemented PRAB conveyors have seen workplace safety improve by up to 25%.

Containing dangerously hot material: If heated parts or material drop from a discharge chute onto a conveyor or containment area, the configuration needs to be designed so the parts or material don’t tumble off the conveyor or out of the containment area. Wayward parts and materials not only pose an immediate danger to workers; they could also start a fire if they contact flammable substances such as press lubricants.

Hot Metal Billet Under the Press

Efficiency and Part Quality

Timing and temperature are crucial to maintaining part quality and eliminating energy waste. Considerations for optimizing efficiency and preserving part quality include:

Path and application criteria: Will the parts or material need to move horizontally, vertically, at an incline, or a combination of the three? If the path exceeds a short distance, two or more conveyors used in combination often deliver the most efficient transfer of material. Whether the application requires continuous operation or indexing is also a factor to consider.

Belt type: The right conveyor belt will strike a balance between efficiency and the durability and reliability needed to move parts or metal scrap. Beaded steel pan belts are engineered to withstand high heat and heavy wear. Perforated or mesh belts may contribute to faster cooling.

Energy consumption: Beyond the energy used to power the conveyor, some features will have a wider impact on energy usage. For example, meter feeding metal scrap material to the furnace for melting provides consistent distribution of material to the furnace, which prevents temperature drops inside the furnace.

Durability and Reliability

The Automotive Part from Casting Process

To prevent downtime and maximize a conveyor’s service life, forging and die casting conveyors must withstand harsh demands. To address these needs, design features include:

  • Heavy-duty, abrasion-resistant construction materials
  • High-quality welds
  • Special supports and belt-reinforcing impact plates
  • Track and wear bars for precise belt tracking and longer belt life
  • Auto lube systems that improve bearing performance and eliminate manual maintenance
  • Overload protection to prevent a payload from overtaxing the conveyor motor

Solutions

PRAB conveyors commonly used to move die cast or forged parts and metal scrap include:

Steel Belt Conveyor: Used in both die casting and forging, this conveyor is the most versatile conveyor in metalworking. It can transport wet or dry metal material in any volume and in a wide variety of paths.

Oscillating Scrap Conveyor: These vibrating scrap handling systems move hot, dry, or wet abrasive metal chips, die scrap, or finished parts across horizontal distances. They are built for machine-side or in-pit operation.

Quench Conveyor: These conveyors are used in both forging and die casting to cool parts and metal scrap in water. Featuring liquid-tight construction, quench conveyors can be installed in-pit or above the floor.

Casting Cooler Conveyor: Used in forging and die casting, these conveyors run at a slow speed to air-cool parts and can run continuously or indexing.

Furnace Feeder Conveyor: This conveyor meter feeds die scrap, casting metal, and other materials directly to the melting furnace. In standard designs, an oscillating steel trough with heat shields and stainless steel discharge chute extends into the melt area.

ScrapVeyor II Conveyor: This fully automated and liquid-tight scrap conveyor with positive discharge provides a clean operation for die scrap, chip processing, and material handling.

Load-Out Systems: Shuttle conveyor systems automate final load-out of metal scrap into large trailers or railcars. These systems maximum container fill through even distribution.

For additional assistance identifying the right conveyors for your foundry application, try PRAB’s conveyor selection tool or set up a time to speak with a PRAB conveyor expert today.