Skip to main content
Industrial technology concept. Factory automation. Smart factory. INDUSTRY 4.0
GK News

 | GK News

Foundry Automation

 by Jack McLellan,

Foundry Automation

Foundry automation is becoming more attainable as industry leaders develop more cutting-edge technology. Like many other industries, foundries are moving towards “smart” technology. Smart technology utilizes AI, machine learning, and data analytics to advance existing processes further. A trending example of this would be ChatGPT, a writing AI that uses machine learning to automate writing by scanning existing content on the internet. Understanding automation technology and how it can be applied to your foundry is essential to staying competitive in the age of smart technology. 

Foundry automation has several benefits, including increased ROI, safer work environments, reduced worker strain, and more accurate work. These benefits save foundries time, money, and energy and make the workflow smoother. As more smart technology is introduced, this automation becomes accessible to more foundries. 

Foundry 4.0

“Foundry 4.0” and “Industry 4.0” have been hot topics in manufacturing over the last few years. Industry 4.0 is a blanket term used for the fourth industrial revolution. Like previous industrial revolutions, it is characterized by the implementation of newer technologies that make production more efficient. Industry 4.0 is centered around increasing the use of advanced technology to automate routine tasks. This technology combines existing data with machine learning to create optimized industrial processes.

Foundry 4.0 is a subset of Industry 4.0 explicitly focused on the foundry and metalcasting industries. These new technologies were developed to improve aspects of foundries such as safety, quality assurance, supply chain info, efficiency, and data analytics through automation technology. These technologies include smart die casting, AI/machine learning, robots, and cloud services to manage data. 

Think of it this way: Industry 3.0 introduced new technology, and Industry 4.0 aims to perfect that technology and continue to modernize industrial processes such as metalcasting.

Smart-Die Casting

One notable aspect of foundry automation includes smart-die casting. Damaged castings, mistakes, and quality control are common challenges in metalcasting. When mistakes occur in the casting process, it leads to significant profit losses. Smart-die casting was created to alleviate these mistakes using machine learning software.

According to General Die Casters Inc., automated die casting has demonstrated the following benefits: 

  • Improved quality
  • Greater productivity
  • Reduced waste
  • Safer die-casting processes

The following benefits together result in greater profits and fewer errors in the die-casting process. Smart die casting is an excellent way to ensure higher-quality castings and an optimized casting process.

Foundry Automation Using AI

AI has been a focal point in technical discussions over the last few years. However, AI acts a bit differently than seen in the media. Most AI, rather than actual intelligence, uses machine learning. Machine learning utilizes algorithms based on existing data to make educated guesses or predictions. Engineers can use AI to automate tasks, such as die casting.

Outside of its use in creating castings, foundries can harness AI to minimize scrap and cut costs. Like with die casting, the AI creates simulations of castings to minimize leftover scrap metal and increase casting quality. 

While AI increases accuracy and automates many processes, it is not meant to replace operators and engineers. An engineer or other personnel will oversee the AI to ensure there are no errors and everything is running smoothly. Additionally, engineers can use AI and cloud software to pass on procedures, technical knowledge, and more from generation to generation.

Smart Supply Chain Solutions

Supply chain problems have been increasing significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic. While foundry automation can’t fix the supply chain itself, it can streamline monitoring and communication from vendor to vendor. Some smart supply chain software can monitor information such as:

  • Shipping locations
  • Volume of shipments
  • Materials available to ship
  • Shipping costs
  • And more

Utilizing machine learning or other AI software, smart supply chain software can analyze optimal ways to get materials for the lowest cost and fastest. In addition, smart supply chain software can predict obstructions or delays within the supply chain due to elements such as weather.

Foundry Automation Equipment

You can also move towards foundry automation by upgrading your equipment to modern standards. Older equipment requires more maintenance and manpower compared to newer foundry technology. For example, many foundries use separate sand conditioning, casting/cooling, and shakeout equipment. However, specialized equipment, such as GK’s VIBRA-DRUM®, can do all three simultaneously in one machine while taking up less space and energy. Some foundries, such as Seneca Foundry, have been modernized through GK Systems and have seen significant benefits from their automation.

Robotic equipment is another way of automating foundries. Automating parts of the material handling process using robots can enhance safety in your foundry. For example, foundries can use robots to handle high-temperature materials. These eliminate the risk of burns and other injuries associated with foundry work.

Automate Your Foundry with General Kinematics’ Foundry Solutions

Foundry automation means fewer errors and greater productivity. If you want to see how General Kinematic’s equipment can help you get started with foundry automation, get in touch today, and our experts will help you find the right automation solutions for your business.

Jack McLellan

Marketing Coordinator

Jack specializes in creating compelling digital marketing content such as social media, blog posts, newsletters, and more. He works with General Kinematics industry experts to develop educational content for the foundry, recycling, mining, and aggregate industries.