Abstract for: Improving Process Sustainability and Profitability for a large US Gray Iron foundry

Energy savings and sustainability have been an important topic in many industrial processes. Limited energy resources and increasing electricity prices makes foundry processes less competitive in today’s market. For foundry processes, the energy costs represent 5-7% of total sales. Most of the energy used in a foundry is directly related to melting and heat treatment operations. Integrating heat and power systems in a foundry through waste heat recovery techniques can lead to energy reutilization that improves process sustainability and profitability. In general, the average metal caster has a 2.4% pre-tax operating profit on sales. These thin profit margins are susceptible to fluctuating utility costs and energy inefficiencies. Initially, an energy audit of the gray iron foundry situated in Mapleton, IL was carried out. A system dynamics model of the existing foundry process has been developed on PowersimTM which investigates the complex interactions among the major energy intensive variables. This base case model was validated with the actual energy data consumption of the foundry in Mapleton, IL. Based on its results and literature review, energy saving recommendations through waste heat recovery techniques, installation of variable flow drives on fans, etc. were made which has a potential to reduce the annual energy consumption by nearly 26% or $2.6 Million.