(153f) Improving Process Sustainability and Profitablity for a Large U.S. Gray Iron Foundry


Energy savings and sustainability have been an important topic in many industrial processes.  Limited energy resources and increasing electricity prices make foundry processes less competitive in today’s market.  Generally in foundry processes, the energy costs represent 12% of the total revenue.  Most of the energy use is directly related to melting and heat treatment operations.  Integrating heat and power systems in a foundry can lead to energy conservation and improve process sustainability and profitability.  The work presented here is an in-depth energy management analysis using comprehensive mathematical models to identify potential energy savings through process optimization and improved control strategies.

In this work, energy usage data has been collected and analyzed from the Caterpillar (CAT) gray iron foundry in Peoria, IL.  A detailed mass and energy balance of the foundry process has been completed in Aspen PlusTM.  This model has helped identify strategic energy intensive areas for optimization. Based on Aspen results, a dynamic process simulation using MATLAB SimulinkTMhas been developed and used to evaluate various energy-saving control strategies.  Results show that process optimization and efficient process control, up to 25% energy savings is possible in the foundry.

Based on this work, recommended strategies have been made to reduce energy use by up to 25%. These recommendations are expected to improve process sustainable and reduce its impact on the environment. These changes have the potential to save CAT more than $4 million annually.