Development and Application of the 'EPIC' System
Chesterfield and Sheffield Branch event
David and Janis Wilkinson with Branch President, John Whitton (right)/
Almost two dozen members attended the recent meeting of the Chesterfield and Sheffield Branch to hear a presentation from Dave Wilkinson Prof MICME, Elkem Ltd.
David’s presentation was about the development and application of the EPIC (TM) system , Elkem Ltd’s new process control system for cast irons. He explained how the system, which is based upon thermal analysis of the cooling of samples of the liquid iron, may be used to assess the quality of the molten iron prior to casting or as a control tool during casting. It has been developed to be a robust and simple to use tool by shop floor workers. Condition monitoring of cast irons is becoming increasingly popular as foundries recognise that simply controlling the temperature and the chemical composition is not sufficient to ensure quality castings are produced. In addition there are savings to be made by optimising the additional rates of expensive raw materials such as melt preconditioners and inoculants.
David explained that grey iron is a particularly complicated metal but that there are still several parameters that can be measured and then controlled or modified in order to achieve the required result in the metal or in the casting. Increased knowledge about the metal quality can lead to increased consistency in the final castings.
The technology is continually being developed to make it easier to use and to enable new parameters to be monitored and controlled. In addition to grey and ductile iron controls, new formulae are also under development for CGI.
During the discussion that followed the presentation, David noted that UK foundries have traditionally been slow to take up systems like EPIC compared with foundries in other parts of world.