Safe operation in any foundry

Safety plays a major role in the world of automation. That goes for the protection of the employees at the machines as well as for the safe operation of the plants. As the complexity of machines and plants continues to increase, so too do the requirements for functional safety. The safety standard for the operation of machines and plants is defined by the newly designed „ABP Basic Safety Package“.

ABP Basic Safety Package
ABP Basic Safety Package

It provides high levels of safety and protection. It is already part of the basic configuration of every new ABP plant. Older plants can benefit from the „ABP Basic Safety Package“, which brings the plant back to the state of the art so that it can be operated safely and effectively. The ABP Basic Package is designed so that it is also suitable for retrofitting in existing plants – for a reduction in downtimes, a long machine service life and greater safety for the employees.

„ABP Basic Safety Package“ is a vital form of basic protection for existing plants

The „ABP Basic Safety Package“ is a vital form of basic protection for existing plants. The package consists of the GD 05 ground fault monitor, the diagnostic function for GD 05, an extended GD 05 ground fault monitor for TWIN-POWER® systems, the LCM leakage current measurement, the hedgehog coil and the test bath earth.

Prepared for all eventualities with „ABP Advanced Safety Package“

To ensure that foundry operators are prepared for all eventualities, ABP has developed the „ABP Advanced Safety Package“. This is an upgrade of the basic package and includes important safety features for almost complete protection. This features an automated system to verify bath grounding, locate yoke insulation defects in the mechanical area, and detect potential metal penetration.

Also connected to ABP digital solutions

You can also connect your equipment to ABP digital solutions. This makes your plants Industry 4.0 capable, for condition monitoring and a way to support you remotely for maintenance and repair. With this solutions, ABP also offers repair, upgrade and overhaul services for equipment from other manufacturers. Find out more about our digital services for even better plant availability thanks to Predictive Maintenance and even faster service via „digital Expert on Demand“ (dEoD).

The components of “ABP Basic Safety Package”

– Ground detector: The “Ground Detector 05” is measuring the electrical resistance between the induction coil and the molten metal. To enable this process a ground antenna will be installed, which is in electrical contact with the melting. If the isolation resistance drops underneath a certain level, “Ground Fault” will be displayed on the “Ground Detector 05”. In this case a failure signal will be send to the PLC, which will then shut off the converter.

– Integrated auto test of the Ground detectors: Beside the test of the bath grounding it must be ensured that the Ground Detector is working correctly, and the sensitivity is adjusted properly. Therefore, the Ground Detector will be connected to the PLC and the PLC program will be modified. The PLC will trigger an artificial ground fault, which must be detected by the Ground Fault Detector. The result of this test can be stored for the traceability.

– 3rd Ground detector for TwinPower systems: In TwinPower systems, the two existing ground detectors are bridged during operation, as they can influence each other. In order to operate the plant safely, a Leakage Current Detector is also installed between the furnaces to monitor the plant for short circuits or voltage flashovers during operation. To make the melting plants even safer in every operating phase – from low to high power, during sintering or melting – a third Ground Detector is used in combination with the Leakage Current Detector.

– Leakage current detector for SinglePower Systems for additional safety device in converter that detects voltage flashovers very quickly (e.g. from coil to ground) – always active.

– Hedgehog Coil – to notify ground fault before the melt arrives the coil. It is part of the ground fault detection. Copper bolts are attached to the coil beyond the grouting. Electrical potential of the coil is moved in direction of the crucible. In case of a metal penetration the fin contacts bolts before it gets into contact with the coil. The Ground fault detection can detect the fault earlier and switch off the converter before the coil gets into contact with the liquid metal.

– Manual Test of Bath Grounding: It is important to check whether the Ground Detector is functioning properly to ensure that the melt is grounded. With the manual bath ground verification it is possible to check if the grounding is there.

The components of “ABP Advanced Safety Package”

ABP Advanced Safety Package
ABP Advanced Safety Package

– Automatic Bath Ground Verification: To ensure that the Ground Detector can work properly, it is important that the bath is grounded. The current safety system is developed so that we can verify if there exists bath grounding. Furthermore, a grounded metal bath can be ensured independently from the operators.

Additional to the bath grounding a second isolated ground antenna will be installed. This isolated ground antenna is equipped with a monitoring unit with a relay. By closing this relay, it can be tested, if a current flows through the melt to the normal, grounded antenna. Therefore, it can be ensured that the melt is grounded properly. The monitoring unit is operated by the PLC. An automatic test will be done every shift (every 8 hours). The result of this test will be stored in the melting protocol.
This retrofit can only be done immediately before a new refractory lining.

– Yoke Insulation failure localization (mechanical): In the case of a ground fault, the Mechanical Yoke Insulation Detection supports with the following search. For that every yoke will be isolated and grounded separately. The ground cable will be wired on a terminal strip (copper bar). In case of a ground fault it can be tested if it is located in the yokes by undoing the screw of the cable between the grounding and the terminal strip. In case the ground fault disappears after undoing this screw, the yokes are the origins of the fault. After that we can test which of the yoke causes the ground fault. Therefore the screws on the terminal strip can be undone one after the other. When the yoke causing the ground fault, will then not be grounded, the Ground Detector will not detect the fault anymore. With the Yoke Insulation failure localization the downtime while searching for the ground fault can be decreased massively. Because the yokes have to be isolated, this can be done only during the maintenance of the furnace and if the furnace head can be removed or during coil changing.

– Metal Penetration Detection: In the case of a detected ground fault the operator has to decide fast, whether the ground fault is a dangerous one or not. Parasitic bath grounding, for example through the casting spout, falsifies this test and must be therefore eliminated. For this, a test procedure is integrated in the system.