Robotic fettling delivers eight-fold increase in productivity with quality, accuracy, consistency and safe working conditions, says Sameer Kelkar.
Manufacturing industry is undergoing a revolution in efficiency, quality and EHS but this is not case with the foundry sector, which has been lagging behind for still practicing age old methods, non-adoption of new techniques like robotics and automation.
Robotic automation has come a long way in the past few decades where robots are used in manufacturing setups for applications like welding and machine handling in automotive industry. Industrial robots are widely used in the foundry – iron and aluminium cast industries, including pouring, extraction and handling.
Fettling is a process of removing excess material from castings often formed by the die’s parting lines during the casting process when molten material is injected into the die/mould. It is the process carried out with consistent efforts with results emphasising on the establishment of technique and performance of the casting profile, which requires efforts of manual labour, working in unsafe and unhealthy conditions.
Fettling is one of the important activities in foundry but sadly neglected. Many leading foundries in the country consider fettling unimportant. Fettling is a process, especially in the iron casting industry, completely manual and labour intensive.
Many a times there are conditions where there is no sufficient light, unhygienic and unsafe working conditions, no safety, lack of proper tools and machines. Such situations need to be considered with utmost priority where fettling works becomes simple, easy that gives required output with desired quality with safe and healthy working conditions.
As shown in Figure 1, fettling is the last process in most casting shops, after which the work piece is sent for machining in the machine shop. Operators use variety of tools, including belt grinders, files, chisels and hammers to fettle castings having the most complex shapes such as holes, recesses, inaccessible areas. Operators work in environmentally dangerous conditions such as temperature, fumes, dust etc. Considering the conditions machine selection must carefully consider the conditions specific to the deployment area to ensure reliability over a long period.
With the advent of this new revolutionary technology, robotic fettling for iron castings will see the sector in an upswing. Using automated robots brings enhanced benefits including an up to eight-fold increase in productivity, exceptional quality that meets international standards and safe working environment while exceeding client’s expectations.
Robotic iron casting fettling technology addresses key issues that show up such as effectively managing complex shapes/heavy components, reducing hazardous working conditions, heavy stock removal, variety in component geometry, with manual/automatic load, unload using pallet exchangers, automatic tool changer, automatic path corrections, dust collector system and more. The system overcomes various critical challenges.
Robotic fettling is a revolutionary technology in iron casting industry. It leads to key benefits such as consistency in quality, high productivity and health and safety on shop floor.
Using automated robots brings enhanced benefits including an up to eight-fold increase in productivity, exceptional quality that meets international standards and safe working environment while exceeding client’s expectations.