Engineered solutions to everyday industrial problems
Saturn Corp. processes 60 ton/day of aluminum in a 40-ton aluminum melting furnace to feed two casting lines at its Spring Hill, Tenn. auto plant. To charge molten aluminum into the furnace three times each day, the bath is drained about 15 in. lower than normal, and then it rises again. As the metal bath surface moves down and up the refractory belly band, oxide builds up on the refractory. "The real problem isn't the oxide you can see," said Hal Shiarla, Plant Engineer, "but the unseen portions of it that penetrate into the lining. Penetration displaces the lining material, so when the surface oxide is removed, the penetrated portions go with it, leaving pits in the refractory." This required frequent lining maintenance to prevent a production stoppage due to a furnace failure.