Urick Foundry Partners With Magaldi on Equipment That Protects Staff

AFS Corporate Member Urick Ductile Solutions (Erie, Pennsylvania) part of Emerson, supplies ductile iron castings to industries including hand tools, agriculture, oil field, heavy truck, and rail. Founded in 1905, the company has emphasized continuous improvement and has a very strong safety culture.  Safety at Emerson is not merely important—it is a core value and is emphasized much more than production or profits. Urick’s safety accomplishments were recently recognized when they were finalists in the Emerson Safety Leadership Award competition in 2020.  

For years, Urick struggled to degate castings on a vibratory conveyor for multiple reasons. The conveyor was a maintenance nightmare. The bouncing of hot castings and gating generated high noise levels and made it difficult to safely pick them up without the operators being burned, pinched, or cut. The upward stroke of the conveyor also threw dust into the air making it difficult to prevent silica exposure despite the large ventilation expenditures. It would also frequently impact and damage the hydraulic wedges; thus, the wedges were being rebuilt constantly.  

In addition, castings and gating were separated into different paths to allow for discharging into separate conveyors. To keep castings from coming back to the wrong path after sorting, a small barrier lip was installed on the centerline of the conveyor. Because of the barrier, the operators had to constantly pick up the castings to go over the barrier. Finally, a sufficient discharge height to feed the continuous blast machine was not able to be achieved with a vibratory conveyor due to its inherent incline limitations.  

After reviewing the situation, Magaldi custom-designed a solution for Urick that accommodated the tight location and provided their operators with a much cleaner, quieter, and safer environment to degate castings. This solution addressed their issues, specifically:
•    The conveyor offers trouble-free operation with a very high uptime. 
•    Because there is no longer any bouncing, operators are not being burned, pinched, or cut. And, there is no need for a barrier between castings and gating.

Castings that break free from the gating in the shakeout can just be slid to their side of the Magaldi Superbelt Conveyor without being picked up. The discharge chute that Magaldi designed and built diverts castings to one conveyor and gating to another.
•    Silica is not being thrown into the air, greatly reducing any chances for silica exposure.
•    Wedges are not having to be rebuilt due to impact damage on the conveyor.
•    The conveyor was able to be inclined much more than before to allow for proper loading into the continuous shot blast machine.

“Urick is committed to the safety and wellbeing of its employees,” said project leader and Urick plant engineer David Moyer. “We tried many things to overcome the safety hazards presented by the old natural frequency conveyor, but in the end realized that we needed to make a major change.  The improvements in air quality and noise are immediately evident.  The Superbelt Conveyor is built very rugged and should withstand many years of punishing operation.”