Automatic cathode charging is a standard feature for both single- and double-furnace UPCAST® lines. Semi-automatic charging is an option mainly for smaller capacity single-furnace units.
Cathode charging in single-furnace lines
Single-furnace UPCAST® lines have carrier-type cathode charging equipment. Here cathodes are picked one by one from piles with a suction-operated gripper and moved with a wagon onto a feeding table located by the melting side of the combined furnace. The feeding table is equipped with a mechanical gripper that takes hold of the cathode while the table rotates to a vertical position. The cathode is lowered gradually into the melting chamber of the furnace. When at its lowest position the gripper releases the remains of the cathode and the feeding table turns back to its horizontal position.
Cathode charging in double-furnace lines
There are two main types of cathode charging equipment used in double-furnace lines. The jib-type model has a turning arm with a suction-operated gripper at its end. After picking a cathode from a pile the arm then rotates to place the cathode onto a similar feeding table as is described above for the single-furnace configuration. It is possible to place more than one cathode onto the feeding table before charging them together into the melting furnace.
The carrier-type cathode charging system which was originally designed for single-furnace lines has been adapted also to double-furnace lines. This results in cost savings when expanding from single- to double-furnace configuration. The carrier-type design has a higher capacity than the jib-type as well as certain operational advantages when the foundry building lacks an overhead crane.
Cathode charging for the highest production capacities
UPCAST® lines with highest production capacities have a special portal-type cathode charging system. This system is based on a robotic arm and gripper, moving along a portal track. This system picks cathodes one by one from a conveyor, carries them to the melting furnace and feeds them directly into the melting furnace. No feeding table is need.