Productivity enhancement in investment casting foundry using automation technique in shelling operation-

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Sangita Bansode ,Vikas Phalle & Shankar Mantha
Institute Of Industrial Engineering
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The investment casting industry falls under the highly technological but extremely labor- intensive industry. The increasing need of the complexity, close dimensional accuracy and high reliability of the castings at the most competitive cost has become basic necessity for sustaining growth in the global market place. The purpose of this paper is to study the present manual processes in the Indian investment casting industry and to identify the opportunities to automate them and evaluate its impact on the product quality, productivity and yield which are essential performance parameters for investment casting industry. The approach adopted is to identify and study all the manual processes in the foundry, rejection analysis of a foundry using Pareto analysis followed by cause-effect analysis for defects arising from the manual activities using Ishikawa diagram. Reasoning of shell shop selection for automation and limitation of existing manual layout has been discussed. Process automation using robotics in shell shop uses robot for repetitive dipping, coating and drying cycles on each mould resulted in reducing rejection from 11.2 % to 3.5 %, cycle time reduction from 4-5 days to 2-3 days, improvement in yield from 29 % to 38 % and productivity from 27 % to 32%. Absence of programmer’s skills to coat complex geometries to achieve better results is the constraint of the shell automation technique. Higher capital cost restricts the use of robot in wax assembly, foundry shop and post casting operations.