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ABP: Modernization at Vonroll Casting with Retrofit
Retrofit can ensure higher plant availability, more occupational safety and greater sustainability (Source: ABP)

ABP Induction has been awarded the contract for the extensive modernization of a foundry at Vonroll Casting. The order shows how retrofits can upgrade existing plants and what advantages they have in terms of plant availability, occupational safety and sustainability. ABP carried out the implementation during the summer overhaul. The award of the contract by Vonroll has a signal effect: even in times of Corona, investments are being made in the industry in order to be future-proof.

Vonroll Casting has an engineering center with integrated pattern making and finishing. The company maintains and masters a wide range of materials from cast iron with lamellar and nodular graphite to special alloys such as SiMo, Ni-Resist and bainitic cast iron. After the molding plant was rebuilt a few years ago, the company now wanted to realize an increase in the performance of the melting store. The company decided on a retrofit project for the existing plant. Here, no standard was required, but a flexible customer orientation, and the structural conditions on site.

Retroft improves safety

Further arguments were the short delivery times and the stocking of spare parts, as the same spare parts as in the existing plants can be used. The retrofit is accompanied by a further improvement in the operational safety standard. For example, the grounding of the melt is automatically tested with a patented ABP technology. Furthermore, the single-circuit cooling water monitoring system was redesigned and monitored with ABP OptiStream. This is a system for analog cooling water monitoring of the DC link smoothing reactors as well as the single circuit monitoring in the converter.

It was also important for Vonroll Casting that the warning thresholds could be adjusted directly and easily on the device, depending on requirements. Furthermore, deviations (e.g. temperature overshoot or flow rate undershoot) should be immediately detected and reported. With the ABP retrofit, these requirements are met and Vonroll Casting can further reduce scrap values. During the daily tour of the converter room, the current measured values for flow and temperature recorded by ABP sensors can be read directly.

New possibilities through digitalization

With single circuit monitoring using ABP OptiStream, the intelligent IO-Link sensors enter into a direct data exchange with the higher-level automation system. Thus, progressions over a long period of time can be displayed, stored and evaluated in the Prodapt® Enterprise melt processor. This is a central basis for the success of any predictive maintenance philosophy. In addition, technicians can diagnose the system remotely – ideally via the innovative myABP portal and ABP Intelligence. myABP is the digital platform via which users monitor their plants seamlessly. Maintenance planning and service history can be viewed product by product.

All machines can be stored in detail so that individual support can be coordinated – web store connection for spare parts included. Maintenance planning can be viewed via a calendar function. This not only makes operating data visible, but also the dates when the machines and systems are not available for maintenance reasons. This supports the ABP customer’s personnel and production planning…

Technical installations and solutions

In the first construction phase, ABP installed a Thyristor TwinPower converter with 4.2 MW at the existing kiln plant with 2 x ITMK6R to replace a SinglePower converter with kiln current switching. Since then, TwinPower operation has eliminated the need for maintenance work on the furnace current changeover as well as the switching times due to the changeover of the melting furnaces. This has increased the overall efficiency and productivity of the plant.

To achieve this, TwinPower converters, condenser frames and cooling system were adapted to the existing plant and a melt processor was implemented on a virtual machine, guaranteeing high system availability. A pump station with frequency converter and analog measured value recording ensures a reduction in power consumption and enables evaluation of the analog data with the ProfiNet interface in the melt processor. Conductivity measurement and automatic switchover to a second pump after defined operating hours are also included. The recooling monitoring realizes magnetic inductive sensors to provide analog values.

Digital training

The new inverter is also accompanied by the DICU3 digitally networked inverter control system. The parent company of the Vonroll Casting Group operates its own Digital Group and is aware of the importance of the new possibilities. Thus, ABP’s digital competence was an important decision criterion for the selected retrofit program. The training of the operating and maintenance personnel is carried out parallel to the commissioning via the ABP Virtual Academy, i.e. contactless, independent of location and time. The training program includes two offerings: ABP Virtual Training and ABP Virtual Classroom. In the ABP Virtual Classroom, customers work with a digital twin of the furnace systems. Participants acquire product and process knowledge without losing time by traveling

The installation of all components was supervised by an ABP site manager. The installation was done by the customer himself, which means another cost saving for the customer. Commissioning was then carried out by the ABP Field Service.

In construction phase 2, the existing furnace cooling system will be replaced by a temperature-controlled furnace cooling system with frequency-controlled pumps in the summer of 2022. The flow of water will then be adapted to the power-dependent cooling demand, thus enabling a constant temperature level, energy savings and more efficient use of heat recovery. Here, the analog signals from the new recooling monitoring system are evaluated.