Silver ingot casting line installation

Some good things happen on Friday the 13th. Installation of the new silver line has begun.


The old zone 1, line 1 casting area "cleared" waiting new equipment.


Foundation of steel beams arrives completely filling the roll back. It was maneuvered into the building and backed under the crane reach to make unloading as easy as possible.


Foundation placed in correct location.


The furnace was then lifted with the bay crane and placed in location on the frame. Bolts dropped right in place. :-)


View of same from south side. The 20 anchor bolts are being installed as deep as we can into the 7" of concrete.


Here you can see all the new lighting that's been installed in this bay. The new daylight color is much better than the old sodium vapor lights. Makes the photographs look SO much better too.

Monday the platform installation begins.


The platforms sections were brought in from outside and placed around the furnace in approximate location. This is the view on the north side of the furnace.


A view of the platform from the south side of the furnace. This is exactly as we all agreed to in the layouts discussed at length with all the staff, Bernie, and Bryan. However, Steve decided he did not like the location and wants it moved further north, so we will cut all the anchor bolts and move it.


All 20 anchor bolts were cut flush with the floor, the frame place on some pieces of 2" pipe, and rolled 32" north. No anchors will be installed at this time until the platforms are put in place again and everyone agrees they like the location.


These 13" risers are being attached to each leg of the platform to bring the platform even with the platform built onto the furnace. The original square plates will be cut away even with the I-beams to prevent injuries to shins.


The north section of platform is in place with its' risers. Barry is welding the extensions in place.



Remaining sections of platform now have the risers placed on them and the platform sections placed around the furnace. This moves the platform about  2-1/2 feet north of the aisle line.

The crooked, non-plumb legs drive me nuts. They were not damaged in handling or transportation, they were welded on that way by previous owner! I may have to correct these as it would certainly make things look more professional.


View from north side looking south.

The balance of the day will be spent welding the risers on (they are only tacked in place now) and welding the platform sections together. Once Steve approves new location we'll install anchor bolts. Will be in Lean Mfg class 1/2 of the day, so likely won't post any more photos today.

7/19 and 7/20 were all spent welding on the extensions and welding the sections of platform together.


Feet being anchored to the floor. All extensions are welded in place now.


Meanwhile Randy and Marty have been busy removing the stretch straightener and draw bench, readying the area for the ingot molding machine.


Another look at the south side of the platform. The setting of the 3/8" checker plate has begun. Almost all of the sections of platform are welded together now. The legs have all been cut and set plumb and welded back in place also. Much better looking.

7/24/12 thru 7/27

Checker plate is all welded down. CP Metal set the main electrical cabinet this week also. Now we can move forward with bringing power over from sub station 7.


Attempting to reuse as much of the original handrail as possible to save $$. Since we haven't yet decided on the optimum stair location we are just putting up railing everywhere for now that we can.


This is a return water cabinet. At previous installation this was installed facing the other way, meaning maintenance had to access the panel from a ladder. I've turned this around to make it easier on our electricians. Hope this is OK.


View from southeast corner.

7/30, 7/31, and 8/1 our contractors were no show. Not real pleased with this, especially with no courtesy call. Seems they had a previous commitment scheduled with PPG.


Installation of the massive bus bar from the bottom of the cabinet over to being the furnace is being accomplished today. There is no water cooling of the conductors at this point, so this is why the copper cross sections need to be so massive. Safety guards will have to be made to assure no contact with the lethal voltages here. Metalurgical had marginal guarding.


Once again risers were required to compensate for the raised platform. These risers bring the bus bar up to the proper elevation to connect to the cabinet bus bar.


The de-ionization panel that Dick ordered arrived 7/31. Ajax configures these to mount on the end of the main electrical cabinet, but due to the platform shape, we opted to weld on the 6 x 6 tubing and place the pumping panel just to the right of the cabinet. It'll be a lot easier to work on this way.  Scott from Ajax was a no show today due to a death in his family. Rescheduled for next week.


Over all look at progress to date, looking from the north west corner. The electricians started today routing the power from sub station 7 to the main cabinet. Chris Stroupe electric won the bid by a considerable margin.


Electrical contractors made good progress today running the 4 large conduits up from sub station 7. See the 4 shiny new conduits.


The run east was also made today, leaving the vertical drop to the main cabinet. An excellent day's work!


Rosdahl Riggers was scheduled for 3:00 today and they were early. Here Dean has lifted the high end of the casting machine with the crane, while Henry lifted the low end with the forklift. This casting machine is heavy! Dean said his scale read 12,000 pounds on his end alone!


Making the turn in the shipping area. These temporary casters were provided by Economy and despite being a tad small, were useful.


A month late, the launder support frame was delivered at the same time as the ingot machine, by CP Metal. How's that for just in time delivery! It will be QC'd on Monday, but I think it is missing an item that holds the stopper rod, so it may have to go back to them.


Ingot machine placed in approximate location. Casters will be removed later. For now it is in a good enough location for us to evaluate the need for an additional work platform and steps. To be determined Monday by group discussion.

Another week of good work and accomplishments.

8/6/12 and 8/7/12

Making the swinging bonnet functional again was a challenge. There is a hydraulic cylinder in the left post assembly that raises the bonnet and rotates it at the same time. All the bolts were stripped in the post assy and these were repaired with Heli-coils.


The bonnet on this side has been melted away thru years of use. I got pricing from Emsco on May 7th for its' replacement ($3270) but there was little enthusiasm for this at the time, so we are using the old one for now. This will allow a lot of heat to escape.

Work under the platform was also done today, positioning the hydraulic tilt cylinders. The old hose assemblies have gone to Biggers Machine for replacements.


Requested the mechanical guys not come in because the hose assemblies are not ready. Running out of work for the guys to do.


Meanwhile the electrical contractors have completed the 1200 amp wiring to the power cabinet. You can see the heavy wires above the main breaker. This was an extremely physical day for the guys pulling this huge wire by hand.



Hoyle Plumbing was engaged to plumb the closed water loop for the furnace power cabinet, tying the electrical cabinet and De-I panel (blue) together. You can see the large 3" copper pipes running atop the cabinet. I salvaged all the copper tubing from West Chester and reused it for this run saving a bunch of money. Hoyle only had to supply a few fittings, gages, and valves.


Close up of the De-I panel showing the copper pipe runs. Drains were put on the lowest parts for winterizing if needed. It gets cold in the back part of the plant.


Today the launder arrived from CP Metal (was due 7/10) and placed on the launder frame. Still no word from Economy on the fit between the launder frame and the ingot machine.


Meanwhile this area adjacent to the control room was cleared so we could begin assembling the bricking machine. We have spun it around late in the day. Tomorrow we should make some headway on assembly if the hydraulic hoses for the furnace don't come in.




Several weeks late, the forms for casting the refractory insert in the tipping launder finally came in from a local vendor. Because of required draft, nothing is square on this form, and this made it quite a challenge for the fabrication shop, who is used to working on square assemblies. It wasn't easy to design either, thank goodness for the 3D software, Solid Works we use! Here the lower mold and upper mold are assembled. Everything is greased with a release agent to aid refractory removal after it cures. 


This is the main launder. The refractory will remain in the launder frame, so only an upper mold is required here. The upper mold was also made my local fab shop Alco Metal Fabricators. The upper mold has been hung in place and held down with the lower bars as all thread rod. Without this the mold would float up out of the refractory with several hundred pounds of buoyancy force.


View looking down the main runner.


View looking down the emergency pour off chute.


Mixed refractory is being added to the main launder.


All full and vibrated to removed air pockets.


Refractory is being added to the tipping launder form. The wand on the right is the vibrator that makes the refractory flow and eliminates air pockets under the upper form.


All full, as we see refractory flowing up and out the top of the thin section at the back.


Refractory man, Mark Gainor, cleaning up the mixer. You might ask why a mixer was needed, but there were 15 bags (55# each) used just in the main launder. A lot more than meets the eye initially!



The forms were stripped out of the main launder and all looks good.


A close up of where the dip tube and stopper rod will fit in.


The tipping ladle insert stripped out of the upper and lower forms quite nicely. The block of refractory has been placed in location on the ingot casting machine.


A view looking in the top of the refractory insert for the tipping ladle.


CP Metal finally completed some of the safety guards to protect the buss bar underneath the platform.


Another view of the bus bar safety screens.


More of the same. Can't be too careful in this area.


New hoses run from the furnace up to the water temperature monitoring panel. This panel now faces the main control panel for easier maintenance assess. Metallurgical had it facing out, meaning to work on it required a ladder.


Upper and lower platforms placed, and upper platform being tack welded to main platform. First stair set being positioned.


This small platform has been added to the launder frame to provide a better means of working on the launder and tipping launder.


Lower section of stairs has been installed. These turned out quite nice and everyone is pleased with them.


The last of the handrails around the new platforms has been installed. Jack Dunovan, the designed of the Economy Industrial ingot molding machine, is in the background.


Randy has been working diligently piping in the many burners to keep the parts warm during a pour, and to pre-heat the same parts prior to a pour.


This set of nozzles is in position pre-heating the ingot molds so that mold wash can be sprayed on them.


The same nozzles are on an articulating arm that will allow them to be repositioned to heat the tipping launder during the pour. The main launder is the box on top. In the bottom of the box is a white cylinder. This is the dip tube. Copper flows thru it into the tipping launder below. The tipping launder will tip and metal will pour out into the ingot molds on the conveyor.


Heat is on. Bricks have been loaded and the furnace is in low power. Hopefully the silver plated wire won't smoke at all.


Directly in front of Randy McDaniel is the maze of piping, valves, and regulators feeding the mix of gas and air to the many burners. Randy did an excellent job on this! Randy is keep a close eye on all the nozzles during this first heat.


Metal just hitting the main launder.


Metal has made its' way through the launder and into the tipping launder.


Tipping launder is emptying into the first of the ingot molds.


Filling continuing.


Close up of tipping launder filling ingot molds.


Ingots being cooled as they pass under water spray starting about half way up the conveyor.


Ingots getting ready to exit conveyor.


Pile of ingots just cast.


View of ingot casting from north side.


Wild variation in ingot size. Something to be resolved along with the large amounts of flash to contend with.