In 2016, Luyuan Casting Co., Ltd. replaced two locally-made vertical moulding machines with one DISAMATIC® D3 vertical moulding machine from DISA. The single DISA machine easily outperformed the older, slower machines, delivering far higher output, better casting quality – and a lower cost per casting.
We initially bought the two locally-made machines because of their cheap price but they had low efficiency and low output, so we invested in a DISAMATIC – the highest efficiency choice in the market. That way, we could improve our productivity, improve our yield rate and lower our costs.
Mr. Lin Zhang, General Manager of Luyuan
The true cost of cheaper equipment
Established in 2006, Luyuan has over 320 employees and specialises in producing ductile iron pipe fittings for domestic and export markets. In 2011, the company installed two moulding lines which went into operation three years later in 2014.
”The main reason for choosing the two vertical machines was the low price,” explains Mr Zhang. ”However, their claimed moulding speed was 250 moulds/hour but, as most of our castings required core setting, the actual operating speed dropped to around 100 moulds/hour due to their immature core setting technology.”
“Pattern changing was also slow,” continues Mr Zhang. “We normally change the pattern every hour, and each change took at least 20 minutes, sometimes 30 minutes or even more – so that’s around eight hours in a single day which was a big time loss for our operation. Yield was disappointing too, the very best we ever achieved was 96%.”
With the first two moulding machines unable to operate 24 hours a day to meet Luyuan’s growing demand, the ambitious company turned to DISA to help it solve its capacity, cost and quality challenges.
Quality pays: DISAMATIC delivers profitable production
“We could not meet market demand with our previous machines so we had two choices,” says Mr Zhang. ”Either add another two of the same lines or invest in a DISAMATIC, the most efficient moulding machine available, and make sure we fully utilise it. The DISAMATIC’s high performance and automation would also reduce our headcount, while buying more of the same locally-built machines would just give us more of the same problems and failure points.”
Luyuan purchased its DISAMATIC D3 425 in 2016 and installed it in 2017, with DISA completing the entire installation within three weeks. Instantly, the company noticed a big leap in performance.
With the old machines, both lines combined produced a daily average of 40 tons of castings (with 20 tons/day added via manual moulding). Luyuan’s total revenue was ¥120 million per year. The new D3 significantly increased output tonnage and yield rose to a steady 98%, while 2018 revenue rocketed to ¥176 million.
”We designed the next-generation D3 vertical moulding machines for the highest speeds and yields with maximum uptime,” says Nina Rasmussen, Vice President, Product Portfolio Development at DISA. “It’s perfect for foundries that want to achieve the greatest possible quality and output of precision castings, lower their cost per part and achieve a step change in efficiency and productivity.”
DISAMATIC D3 upgrade drives massive output and revenue increase
Delighted by the DISAMATIC’s performance and its benefits for the business, Luyuan upgraded its D3 to the fastest specification in 2019. Capable of producing 555 moulds per hour, the upgraded machine’s blistering speed and even higher quality results – yield rates rose above 99% in 2019 – helped lift Luyuan’s 2019 income to ¥220 million.
”Frankly, we are quite surprised at how fast and accurate the D3 is,” says Mr Zhang. “Even though 2020 was a shorter operating year, our revenue rose again to ¥250 million. The yield rate is continuously improving and reached a historical high of 99.4% in November 2020.”
Faster pattern changes with DISA’s QPC (Quick Pattern Change) unit have helped power this amazing productivity. As Luyuan’s operators became familiar with the QPC, change times dropped to just over a minute..
“The current speed of our D3 555 is stable above 560 moulds/hour, though we can reach 570, even 580 moulds/hour or 480 moulds/hour with cores,” says Mr Zhang. “We can achieve this speed because we’ve invested in all the matching equipment for our D3. Accessories like the QPC let us fully exploit the D3’s speed advantage and run it in 24-hour continuous operation.”
Outstanding casting performance – and still getting better
As 2021 begins, Luyuan’s daily output is over 130 tons – more than double that produced with the two locally-made vertical machines and manual moulding. Switching to a single fast DISA line (that currently runs 24/7 for nine days in a row) has also allowed the company to reduce the manpower needed to operate the foundry by a third.
“We think there is still space to improve but we are very happy,” says Mr Zhang. “Stable and fast moulding machine performance and reliable sand composition means that our casting surface quality and dimensional accuracy is excellent – our increasing number of orders is the best proof of that.”
It’s no surprise that achieving consistently high quality with high speed production has sharpened Luyuan’s competitive edge.
“Our yield rate is 5% higher than other foundries’,” says Mr Zhang. “And with the higher output, the cost per casting drops significantly, though we compete on quality, not on price. Our D3’s high efficiency also lets us deliver our customers’ castings exactly on time.”
Other benefits from the DISA line include a clean, safe and quiet working environment. Luyuan meets all China’s environmental requirements and can maintain production even when other local foundries are ordered to shut down to improve air quality. But it’s the D3’s sheer performance that has persuaded Luyuan to invest again.