Introduction to Cell Casting In Sanitaryware Production
There are many variables involved with an adapted process in sanitary-ware manufacture. Many leave Managers, supervisors and casting staff baffled when an issue cannot be traced with certainty to a particular problem. It is often like chasing ghosts when even the date, mould and actual operator are known but no evidence shows of problem cause. Intermittent Clayware faults are a continuous journey for many companies.
The solution is process control. This is fine when the procedure is predictable where variation can be measured. However this is extremely difficult to achieve when a process involves multiple tasks with changing conditions. Whether this is by actual mould condition, moulds not cast for absenteeism, staff shortage, off days, rainy or sunny days, old moulds, new moulds. This list is almost inexhaustible with many companies able to add more reasons for variability.
Slip or clay properties are often cited as possible reasons for internal cracks, distortion & other sanitaryware defects and again unexplained loss. Mould quality, age and condition due to damage by unavoidable mould handling with the existing casting method or poor moulding blocking skills. Finally staff experience, skill, attitude, language misunderstanding are a main battle cry. Sanitaryware casting especially complex one piece WC is a day long process with many different skills and procedures to memorize. How often is it said Good casting staff are difficult to find. Senior management point toward inadequate supervision. Whatever the reason there appears to be no suitable solution with exception of high pressure casting which also has limitations and is at the moment a high capital investment. Learn more about High pressure casting in sanitaryware.
Battery casting has come a long way in easing some issues, they do however have their limitations. It’s not easy to replace moulds midway through a mould life cycle as even more slip leaking is often induced. Partcial machine cast perhaps for training new staff or an urgent sales request also cause quality consistency. Machine/battery systems are often cast as a full line say 12 minutes to fill and then drained as a full line say 8 minutes. Demoulding takes much longer from 30 minutes to 60 minutes. It is a considerable time delay between start and finish, distortion from starting too early to cracking from leaving or taking too long is another intermittent issue.
Solid cast areas are often designed thicker trying to compensate for clay cracking to avoid soft hollow sections. Sometimes the entire machine is opened to allow air drying by fans prior to final de-moulding to setting bench. To summarize Battery casing systems using plaster moulds need to be deskilled creating a system whereby Staff can be trained on a repeatable cycle of 2 to 4 minutes. The rest of the process is either automatically or mechanically controlled. Mould moisture content is closely controlled with humidity and temperature sensors within the dryer section.Learn more about battery casting in sanitaryware.
As mentioned earlier High pressure casting modules offer this the downside is a considerable financial outlay. High volume output of a particular design is not always suitable for many manufacturers market requirement. A fast mould change system is now available but again financial outlay is considerable.
Cell casting is an entirely different approach using proven techniques applied in a different manner. Given the large design range required by today's manufacturer this is perhaps the next generation casting system for WC.
Major advantages are Of cell casting are:
- Staff can be trained within an hour.
- Productivity per man equals high pressure casting output.
- Multiple designs produced on one line
- Fast mould change for urgent sales requirement
Finally the new approach must address the gradual decline although sometimes abrupt deterioration of mould quality specifically seam fit and progressive slip leakage. Plausible reasons are abound however rather pointless if the problems persist. Higher clay loss and inconsistent clay-ware quality are the reward.
Cell Casting Machine for Enhanced Process Control of WC Sanitary-ware
Most factories have an intense programme for the Modelling, Blocking and Casing department. Adding to this commitment as a requirement for a new machine or process is likely to destine the opportunity to the “maybe one day folder”. The project could become a reality if the chosen system would accommodate the factories existing mould design with discernable modification to Blocks or Cases. It becomes a greater attraction if a cost saving or energy reduction becomes a feasible. Reality offsetting the initial financial outlay. Existing Battery casting systems require a greater solid cast thickness than is structurally important solely because a time buffer has to be created to form a firm hollow section and a solid section that does not crack easily whilst being rigid enough to de-mould the item with a time window of 30 minute to 1 hour to empty the machine. When the system allows for the clay-piece to be removed at its optimum condition then lighter and thinner items can be produced offering a measurable improvement in energy and material savings.
Overall benefit of Cell casting process:
- Fast repeatable training time. 2 to 4 minute cycle.
- Greater efficiency of supervision, predominantly one cell to supervise.
- Close control of mould condition.
- Potential cost savings for material and energy.
- Greater compliance of sales request, product in process within 90 minute if mould available.
- Initial mould quality maintained as all handling procedure is mechanised.
- Continuous productivity if required, able to quantify overtime via per piece production.
- Uses standard plaster moulds self-produced at your factory.
- Increased per man output in 8 hours. 240 close couple WC. 120 One piece WC. 400 + Open rim WC. 720 Asian squat pan.
- Mixed designs produced on same line yielding greater compliance with sales requirement.
- Considerably lower investment over High pressure casting systems with comparable per man output.
- Slip manifold, Air manifold and Gravity/ service tank not required.
- All mould clamping is automatic.
- Minimal alteration to existing case/mother moulds required as machine is designed to fit the mould and not mould designed to fit machine.
- Opportunity to reduce solid cast clay thickness.
- Machine adaptable to stick on rim, cast on rim with either on foot/base or on rim. Different de-moulder ancillaries required (bolt on ).
If you want to learn more about Cell casting machine and process, Leave a comment below or you can contact me at [email protected].
Venkat Mani is a Ceramic Engineering Graduate from India, working in Sanitaryware production line for 10 years. He shares Meaningful content related to sanitaryware professionals that others find useful.