Remote controls help run foundry, improve worker safety

How do you operate a foundry's furnace doors and cranes? Very carefully. To make its work even safer, the foundry division of GEC Alsthom (Stamford, England, U.K.) recently chose UK-based Cattron's portable remote control (PRC) systems to operate its furnace doors and overhead cranes that transfer ladles of molten metal.

09/01/1998


How do you operate a foundry's furnace doors and cranes? Very carefully. To make its work even safer, the foundry division of GEC Alsthom (Stamford, England, U.K.) recently chose UK-based Cattron's portable remote control (PRC) systems to operate its furnace doors and overhead cranes that transfer ladles of molten metal.

GEC's Stamford foundry casts and manufactures large diesel engine blocks for well-known companies, such as the Waukesha Engine Division of Dresser Industries (Waukesha, Wis.). Cattron's radio remote control system helps foundry staffers addresses safety concerns. These arise when furnace doors open accidentally and personnel are in the immediate vicinity, which could possibly expose them to molten metal splashes. To keep staffers at safe distance from the extreme heat and other hazards, the foundry's remote controls must function reliably and continuously despite this hostile environment.

Picked to operate the cranes to transport material to and from the furnaces, Cattron's four MP Series PRCs make sure the furnance lids can only be opened when the area is clear of people. Each crane is fitted with a decoder that responds to only one of two identical controllers assigned to that crane. One controller is a mobile unit on the foundry floor, while the second is mounted on the desk in a protected control room.

To ensure maximum safety, the desk unit was designed so the furnace lids can't be opened until both desk-mounted controllers have keys inserted from the mobile units. This interlock feature ensures there are no operators outide the control room when the lids are open.

Each PRC is also equipped with a Talkback feature that provides information on the crane's status or the status of its electromagnet. Gordon Young, GEC's electrical engineer, says the foundry's eight Cattron systems have improved production output, reduced labor in component and material handling, and helped GEC use its personnel more effectively. "Most of the systems are worked 24 hours per day, six days a week, and they all have excellent reliabilty records with virtually no downtime." For more information, visit www.controleng.com/info .





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