When General Kinematics introduced its Portable Stroke Monitor app for Apple and Android devices earlier this year, it wasn’t just feeding techies’ yen for new gadgets; it was responding to foundries’ need to know that their equipment is up to spec with the latest performance standards. And, performance standards are not the only factor shaping operators’ decision-making. Regulatory standards are always looming on edge of any discussion about foundry equipment and processes.

Shakeout machines are a good example. The GK Stroke Monitor is evaluates the performance of vibratory equipment (of any brand or design) by monitoring the stroke of the machine. The user attaches a magnetic bluetooth sensor to the vibratory equipment and it immediately takes the measure of the operation, allowing the operator or maintenance personnel to see if the machine is running within factory specifications.

If the machine is out of spec, a performance log can be captured and emailed to GK for round-the-clock analysis by its customer service team.

Shakeout machine builders can supply lots of answers and solutions, but foundries have to know what problems are most important to address. General Kinematics is one a handful of designers and builders of vibratory and rotary equipment used to clean castings after they exit a sand mold. It’s standard equipment, but it’s a demanding process that must perform reliably, safely, and continuously. This means that the demands on the shakeout system, and the expectations of the operators, differs from one foundry to the next.

Think of the shakeout as an intersection of foundry processes. Basically, a molding line has one purpose, as does a furnace, but a shakeout system has to do at least two things: separate the casting from the sand. It also has to capture and handle the sand. The emphasis for GK’s Vibra Drum rotary system, for example, is on transferring heat from the castings to the sand, so that the castings cool and the sand is heated prior to reconditioning.