Being the core of the pourTECH™ system the controller handles all input data from sensors and controls the entire casting process. It synchronizes the pouring equipment with the molding line and makes sure that the sprue cup iron level is optimized and prevents over-pours, short-pours and reduces the waste of iron that has to be remelted. The pourTECH™ control system is built around an industrial application computer. This high level computer is interfaced to a Profibus fieldbus network, which provides low level controls and communication with external devices, such as the mould line and the pouring vessel. The application computer runs IEC61131-3 compatible software.
The basic software package includes all necessary software to run the pourTECH™ automatic pouring system, processing all data that different sensors in the system supply. The scope of the software can be extended to include more functionality and features depending on what optional features are installed. The different pouring profiles for different jobs are stored in the computer or external database to be called on the next time the same product is produced.
The control system is integrated into an operator desk together with all buttons, switches and lights required for both automatic and manual operation of the entire system. The user interface consists of a graphical touch screen HMI computer that provides an excellent handling for both operations and maintenance of the system. The HMI computer communicates with the main controller via OPC interface, as an OPC client. The screen is used by the operator to supervise the operation of the system, to change pouring profiles during job changes and to otherwise interact with the pourTECH™ system.
The desired level during pouring, the level profile, can be entered as parameters or, perhaps more intuitive, it can be taught by the operator. The taught level profile can then be altered by just touching the screen.
The pourTECH system will automatically adjust the pouring control depending on gradual chenges in the process, like temperature chenges and slag bulid up.
The interface is designed with a very easy-to-use menu structure where the operator just press directly on the screen in order to execute a task. There is also a very flexible diagnostics and trouble shooting tools in order to quickly find the source of any errors that might appear and attend to the problem fast and to minimize any possible production loss.
In response to increased productivity demands on vertical molding lines, pour-tech AB has developed a function for pre-opening of the stopper rod in order to gain valuable time from the casting cycle and increase the productivity. At the start of the mold line index, the pourTECH™ system calculates the new pouring location, based on feedback from the mold line, and moves the pouring vessel to that position (if necessary). As the mold is approaching its final position, the pourTECH™ system will begin the pour, while the mold is still moving, but timed such that the mold just arrives to receive the first iron instead of pouring on top of the mold. At the end of the index, the pouring sensor will verify the cup location, and the vessel position will be adjusted (if necessary).
The FORCEpour™ feature, integrated into the pourTECH™ control system, can provide cycle time savings from 0.5 to 2 seconds (depending on the mold line) equalling a production increase of up to 15%. FORCEpour™ requires a proportional positioning system to continually position the pouring vessel. FORCEpour™ is available for pourTECH™ systems equipped with 3D laser™ or single laser sensors.