R&D in Swerea SWECAST

The energy program energy efficient casting through an improved process and production system 2009-2012 has been granted support for five subprojects of 8 M SEK (37 %). The potential for energy efficiency is expected to be 124 GWh/year ten years after the termination of the project.

The energy program energy efficient casting through an improved process and production system 2009-2012 has been granted support for five subprojects of 8 M SEK (37 %). The potential for energy efficiency is expected to be 124 GWh/year ten years after the termination of the project.
The aim of the project package is to identify, develop and implement a new casting technique and new casting processes as well as to spread the results from research to a wider network through the umbrella organization, Swerea.

The Subprojects are:

  • Industry customisation of OPTYPE (2.4 M SEK)
  • Reduced material use in the manufacturing of cast components (1.8 M SEK)
  • Optimised heat treatment of steel casting (1.2 M SEK)
  • Heat recovery from cooled goods (1.6 M SEK)
  • Follow-up, technology distribution and information (1.0 M SEK)

The final report from the previously conducted program that terminated in 2007, shows that a decrease in energy usage of 15.3 GWh/year was achieved during the project period and is calculated to reach 77.2 GWh/year by 2013. The reason that the results do not correspond with the goal is that certain cases were too optimistic due to varying tendencies within the industry. At the same time it can be seen that certain studies have given better results than expected.

The evaluation shows that the three research projects included in the program are considered to have high levels of relevance for Swedish foundries. The project which aimed to use methods for production simulation in order to show the potential for energy efficiency has shown that the technique works in pilot studies but development work needs to be continued in order to develop method and applicability.

The project which has been conducted with the aim of reducing the need for re-melting by using a totally new casting technique for steel casting shows that the technique is not ready to be used in industrial applications and that comprehensive development work remains. However, the technique has attracted great interest in the foundries and among customers.
The third project, which was aimed at rendering the melting and heating processes more effective, has shown considerable potential for energy efficiency in several of the foundries' unit processes. Trials have been conducted on a test scale with successful results and the new techniques are now available to the industry. Certain industrial customisation is required in order for a broader implementation to be established. The project cast goods for the wind power industry had the goal of reducing the no-load losses in the manufacturing process and creating prerequisites for energy effective and profitable production of large products, the final report showed that the energy efficiency potential within Swedish foundries is on average at least 25% and that the results that have emerged give the industry support and guidance in how a plant layout can be presented and the production flow optimised from the aspects of both productivity and energy efficiency. The project has also resulted in two industry doctoral candidates undergoing their education in Swerea SWECAST.