Driving down component turnaround time whereas improving quality and lowering waste is being achieved at Weir Minerals Africa’s thrilling new Replicast Plant in Isando, Gauteng.
Umar Smith, plant manager at Weir Minerals Africa’s Isando facility, highlights that the revolutionary development permits the corporate to supply more components at a time – and more rapidly. This will assist in assembly rising customer demand, while additionally decreasing rework and wastage.
“As part of our Project Vuka, this new plant permits us to forged a number of small elements per batch rather than simply separately,” says Smith. “We can also scale back our knock-out occasions from days to simply a few hours.”

The state-of-the-art amenities enable Weir Minerals Africa to cast high chrome components weighing up to 250 kg. There are two phases to the brand new course of, he explains, which makes use of polystyrene to create moulds. The first part is the polystyrene moulding course of, which occurs after the polystyrene beads have been expanded. The second part is where the ramming, pouring and demoulding takes place.
In distinction to the standard moulding line – the place resin and catalyst are used to bind sand – the Replicast Plant makes use of silica sand of 30-35 AFS grade along with the polystyrene mould, he says. The system includes a vacuum bin, from which all of the air is removed to compress the sand.
“The absence of resin and catalyst – in addition to having no clamping process – leads to less scrap being produced, and due to this fact brings operational savings,” he says. “The high quality of castings can also be raised, with a better surface finish and fewer defects.”

He notes that the geometrical stability of parts is improved, as there’s much less fettling of the finished product thereby reducing dimensional variation between the same parts. This in flip contributes to the reliability of the gear utilizing those components. He says the foundry may even realise vital environmental benefits because of utilizing no chemicals in the sand.
“This new plant aligns properly with our corporate sustainability targets, guaranteeing that our processes aren’t solely compliant but continuously scale back our environmental influence,” says Smith. “Our new moulding techniques make sure that fewer gases are emitted through the casting course of, and there are zero emissions of harmful substances such as benzene.”

The new technology can be resulting in less frequent disposal of silica sand, and the sand itself is more environmentally friendly as it incorporates no resin or acid.
“A remarkable facet of creating this new plant was the reality that it was accomplished with our local abilities and largely in the course of the COVID-19 lockdowns,” he says. “Despite digital pressure gauge of this know-how, and the logistical challenges created by the pandemic, it was successfully implemented on time and inside budget.”

The plant includes more than 16,000 individual elements, and uses over 1,900 m of cabling, 300 m of water piping and 55 tons of steel.

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