It may be difficult to recognize new energy-saving opportunities in metalcasting operations. Some of these are not obvious at first glance. For example, in a diecasting sequence, a fixed amount of energy is required to inject molten metal into the die under high pressure. How can you save anything there? Reis Robotics reported that it studied the matter for several years, with some surprising discoveries. To start, in many automated diecasting operations more than 40% of energy consumption takes place while the production cell is in standby mode, meaning the robot tending the machinery is one of the less-demanding energy requirements.

Reis develops integrated automation systems centered on robotics for various industrial segments, including metalcasting. In addition to articulated-arm robots, its products include linear robots, gantries, horizontally articulated-arm robots, and other specialty robots.

The developer explained that its research of automated diecasting systems uncovered that the individual production cells, often inadvertently, are not switched off between the production cycles. As a result, they continue to consume electric power.

In an analysis of a conventional, 800-metric ton standard diecasting cell, the trim press alone consumed about five times as much current in standby mode as all other peripheral units. According to Reis, this would drive annual energy costs into the five-figure range, without any production to offset the cost. Considering that the effective production time represents 60% of the total duty cycle, the potential for savings is evident.

“We, too, were surprised how much energy is unnecessarily consumed in some systems,” explained Dr. Michael Wenzel, general manager of Reis Group Holding. “And, this is just where the competence of Reis becomes effective, because the final question is how to optimize the energy consumption for an entire process or system. But, this step also is only efficient and economic if optimization itself does not cause new high costs.”