Ningbo, China cast shop on 2/17/2011


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View of casting machine from the back. The cathode loading side.

Notice how clean the operator platform is.

Cathode loading. This is called melting hearth 1. There is melting hearth 2 in the middle of the furnace, and the holding hearth is where the casting occurs at the opposite end.

Cathodes are being picked up by a simple beam mounted light duty crane, and pushed along the beam until over the furnace opening. Cathode is rotated 90 and lowered into the melt. It was not unusual to see spurts of molten metal flying, reminding me of the boot injury our plant had a few years ago.

Cathode about to be lowered into the melt. Notice the rolling cover has long been removed and was nowhere in sight. They claimed 2 ppm oxygen, so this must not be an issue.

A bundle of cathodes being lifted with a crane, to set on the operator's platform.

Cathode staging area just behind the platform. You can see the bundle lifted with the large crane has just been set on the operator's platform.

A close up of the cooling water hoses for the casting cooler bodies. The cast copper rods are coming out the tops of each cooler body.

Cooling hose header detail.

This station is called the water temperature cabinet. It monitors water flow and temperature of each cooler body and the furnace coils too.

Operator console.

Better view of operator console.

Aft side of the water temperature cabinet. Water leaves these and gravity flows into a large "sink", to be returned to the large water tank. They call for a 100 cu. meter tank.

This shows how the casting platform sits in a pit about 4 feet deep, similar to how we are going to do it.

Large pipe for water drain to tank. About 8" diameter pipe.

Showing the furnace and the three inductors. Notice not a speck of trash in this pit. It is absolutely spotless and well maintained. I later complimented the owner on the condition of the shop. If they can do it, we can do it ! 

Looking down the long line of down coilers.

A set of 4 feed wheels pushed the rod against a 5th wheel that is slightly offset from the centerline of the rod in 2 planes. This forces the curl and the down motion that eventually winds the rod in a "coreless" fashion.

Another view of the down coiler.

This is called the "limiter" on the prints. It's a crude, simple system of "switches" that simply turns the spooler on and off. I was expecting a dancer system that varied the winding speed, but it's simply an on-off system.

View of the casting "corner", which is very high.

Another view of the spotless pit.

And another....

View looking across the shop floor. These casting lines were made by another manufacturer in China. Same casting principle.

More staged cathodes.

Notice how smooth the cathodes are. The automatic loader is supposed to be able to handle some nodulation, but it can't be too extreme.