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Foundry Process A Transition from Art to Science

Foundry, Smart Factory

While foundry still remains an art, with innumerable variables and variances, there are several areas which have evolved into a science, giving a possibility to establish control systems. A lot of measurable information has been documented, analyzed leading to take the foundry from “art” to “science”.

Foundry Production- Transition from Industry 1.0 to Industry 4.0

During the era of foundry being art, the production process also was manual, more of the Industry 1.0 level, and even as we are in the year 2018 there are several foundries in India which are at 1.0 level. The foundry needs management of a complex set of processes pre-casting, during casting and post casting to ensure a right product rolls out.

The figure below captures the overall view and areas of concern in the foundry in the process, production, quality, and commercial operations.

IIOT – Industrial Internet of Things is now becoming a powerful enabler of foundries from any of the levels 1.0 to 3.0 to transition to a Smart Foundry or may we say Foundry4.0.

Smart Foundry – Business Decision-making ability

Any industry or business as one very important common aspect – DECISION MAKING.  The Smartness of any industry is reflected in the ability to take decisions. The picture below gives an overview of the Role of IoT in Decision Making – the key element of a Smart Industry.

At the bottom of all decisions are data and a physical action or activity. Conventionally when we are talking of skill – it is basically the ability to take the data on the shape, temperature, size, moisture, fluidity with human intelligence, and translate into pouring speed, or water addition in the mixer, or method of molding. Even in Industry 1.0 era, the decision making was always driven by data. We always call a person or a skill set owner SMART just because he or she is able to take a decision based on some data (information) and adjust the production process to meet the required goals. SMART Foundry is no different, and while people call it art, I would still term it as data drove decision making by the human brain.

Implementing a Smart Foundry 4.0

The figure below is capturing the overall steps – divided into four parts to reach the Smart Foundry goal.

The foremost and key step to the Smart Foundry starts with a Cultural Change. After having worked in the traditional method of perception or experience based decision making which too gave excellent results, however, not sustainable, it is necessary to move towards documenting, manufacturing practices, physical process management. This is a big challenge to the traditional industry and will need a strong will at the top and engagement of the team to implement the cultural change. Technology adaption and moving from art to science, connecting and automation of machines, building documentation digitization solutions will ultimately lead to the implementation of IoT – connecting machines & people, across domains, across different digital platforms, and across geographies. The IoT will allow leveraging of this enormous data into building a smart foundry.

Understanding the Elements of Building Smart Foundry 4.0

Once we have understood the process, we move onto the five critical elements for Foundry 4.0:

Process Automation – This is the most dynamic and challenging element. There is no set process which will give a definitive outcome where the product will be without any defects. It is very difficult to optimize something whose process is not defined. By collection of data of processes involved over a period of time, there can be more clarity as to what are the criteria for optimum performance.

Machine Automation – Many major companies including Rhino is bringing automation to its machinery. However, the gap present across the industry is in process integration. The Process information has to come from Casting Manufacturer (Foundry) and they need to jointly work with machine manufacturers to share their foundry knowledge to bridge the gap.

Machine Learning – There is a huge revolution in this space, with students from college doing and presenting analytics that can help make better decision making. Mould Analytics, Sand Analytics, Core Analytics, Metal Analytics….(the list is endless) are all possible if foundry has data collected for these processes, analytics can give results in less than two to six months (depending on the complexity) to problems that have not been completely solved in decades. This is one of the most critical elements, which will also complete the feedback loop necessary to make a SMART Foundry. System Automation – There are two issues in System Automation. Firstly, currently, there are Discrete Manufacturers, Discrete Platforms and Discrete Systems. There has to be a single layer to bring all of these together. Secondly, we are processing Electronic Records (ERP) which is doing a postmortem of the system instead of doing proactive system control. We have to go back the basic theories of Manufacturing Processes - Production Planning and Control (PPC), for which systems need to be seamlessly integrated and directed by demand. The system should be equipped enough such that, if an order is received, one is able to tell when the casting will be produced, which machines will be utilized, how much material will be used accurately.

Upskilling Human Resources – Presently in our country, the foundation for human resources are missing. SMART Foundry has to be managed by SMART and enabled people to make it truly Industry 4.0. The industry and colleges in India do not communicate with each other, neither is prepared to extend a hand and work with other. The gap can only be bridged when there is strong communication between the industry and the academia.

Rhino’s Intervention in the Road to Foundry 4.0:

At Rhino, we did not reinvent the wheel. We partnered with Organizations and Institutes to work in enabling the SMART Concept. We plugged our foundry domain knowledge with IT / IoT Solution Provider Ecolibrium Energy (www.ecolibriumenergy.com) and Skill Development Training Provider ACE Foundation(www.acefound.org) to switch over. With the data analytics and skill development support we have made inroads into three verticals:

Machine & Process Automation in Green Sand Process

Sand Handling System and Moulding System

Machine & Process Automation in Sand Reclamation Process

Green Sand Reclamation and Core Sand Reclamation

Asset & Process Management with Industry IoT & Analytics

Melt Shop Optimisation and Motor and Transformer Analytics

Concluding Remarks:

Foundry 4.0 is here, there is no going back. During the Sourecon2018 held at Coimbatore, the Chief Guest remarked – Agility, Speed to adopt technology with a stable process base supported by an aligned business model are the key to success of Industry 4.0 implementation in Manufacturing Sector.

Rhino Machines believes India has the ability and capability to align very quickly once we first accept we have to do it, secondly upgrade the Engineers to “thinking” assets instead of “clerical” staff, thirdly engage with the academia for integration of the IoT/ IT/ Technology in Industry and lastly be ready to realign their business models with transparency, flexibility, adaptability

Role of IoT!

Everything is about DATA and all Decision Making or Business intelligence Tools Need to start with data

Every Decision requires an Action or physical Activity to realize the goals

IoT - Internet of Things collects Data & use decision-making Tools to provide actionable insights on the physical activity. In today’s modern world technology is the strongest tool

Steps to build a Smart Foundry4.0

Culture

Shop Floor Practices

Learn Manufacturing

Documenting Processes

Smart Foundry 4.0

Analytic

Actionable Insights

Automation of Insights

to physical action

Technology

Digitization of process production & Documentation

Connectable Devices & Machines

IoT

Connecting Machines

Connecting people

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