Artificial Intelligence improves casting quality: Condals cuts scrap by 45%

Spanish foundry group Condals has seen its scrap rates drop significantly after adopting DISA’s Monitizer® digital solution. Scrap rates dropped by 39% and 45% for two patterns during production testing with the Monitizer | PRESCRIBE optimisation tool.

During the project, Condals first upgraded its Monitizer | CIM installation, then deployed Monitizer | GLOBAL to collect and monitor live process data from equipment – DISA and non-DISA – on all three of its casting lines. Next, it brought in the Monitizer | PRESCRIBE Artificial Intelligence (AI) solution to improve its casting quality and reduce scrap.

We were interested in finding an AI solution that would help us lower our scrap rate as much as possible,” says David de la Cruz, CIO at Condals Group. “DISA offered a complete solution with Monitizer. Other competing solutions only look at parts of the process in detail and only optimise certain parameters – mould alignment, temperature, porosity – whereas Monitizer | PRESCRIBE optimises the entire process to reduce scrap. That was exactly what we were looking for.”

Towards the data-driven foundry

At its two Spanish and Slovakian locations, Condals Group’s three DISAMATIC® moulding lines produce over 43,000 tons of iron castings each year for customers in the automotive, railway and construction sectors. As an experienced digital innovator, Condals wanted more value from its process data and to supply staff with a single, trustworthy source of information.

“Our goal is to be a data-driven company, taking decisions based on the data from our process,” says de la Cruz. “We already had Monitizer | CIM installed and that had worked well for us. Monitizer | GLOBAL lets us do a lot of additional things and is a really powerful tool for putting all our data in one central place and making it easily available, but reducing scrap was always the main goal.”

Monitizer can support any foundry at any stage of its digital journey, whether they are novices or experts. Monitizer’s modular approach lets foundries start by collecting data, then move quickly to more sophisticated digital applications – gaining value at each step.

Using Monitizer | CIM with DISA machines, individual foundries can collect data, implement automatic process control and perfectly synchronise their DISA equipment – cutting out the need for manual intervention. Monitizer | GLOBAL collects data from any vendor’s equipment across multiple foundries, lines or sites, and presents it in real time to users who can monitor and analyse it, then use the learnings to inform improvements.

Monitizer: proven digital tools from the foundry experts

The project was mostly delivered during the 2020 pandemic, with Condals and the DISA team making full use of Monitizer’s remote working capabilities. The Monitizer | CIM upgrade made reliable, time-stamped, structured data available from DISA equipment and unlocked other advantages such as improved automation and recipe management.

Monitizer | GLOBAL came next, giving Condals a live view of its entire process while storing the merged data for historical analysis. The company installed NoriGate hardware to securely collect and transport data to GLOBAL’s cloud database, connecting the complete Spanish foundry as well as sand mixing and moulding in Slovakia.

By November 2020, Condals had 12 systems connected to Monitizer | GLOBAL in Spain, with almost 2000 different data points available through over 40 different dashboards. In Slovakia, there’s currently two systems connected supplying over 500 data points to six dashboards.

“Now anyone can connect and see the data from anywhere,” said de la Cruz. “We fitted the NoriGates in Slovakia ourselves which was very easy. For less digitally experienced foundries, the NoriGates in particular help make implementation faster and the Monitizer products are straightforward to implement and work with. Considering the global situation, the whole installation went amazingly smoothly.”

Rapid results from digital

With the data foundation in place, Monitizer | PRESCRIBE was the next step. Powered by DISA’s award-winning AI partner DataProphet, PRESCRIBE’s automated AI-driven analytics deliver dynamic, real-time process analysis across an entire production line to significantly reduce scrap and improve profitability.

The team extracted, transformed and loaded Condals’ historical production data into the Monitizer | PRESCRIBE platform. Over 700 parameters described the processes for the initial five test patterns.

“Because Condals had such a good digital infrastructure and Monitizer | CIM and GLOBAL were already up and running, we could build straight on top of that foundation,” said Bennie Leonard, Principle Data Scientist at DataProphet.

Once DataProphet had built and tested the first two AI models, commissioning work began in live production – and improvements arrived quickly. One test pattern already had a very low scrap rate but that was reduced by a further 39%. The other pattern had a high existing scrap rate which PRESCRIBE’s prescriptions helped cut by 45%.

“These initial commissioning results are very encouraging,” explained de la Cruz. “The scrap rate is staying at the lower level and actually still dropping slowly. Though we are still at an early stage with results for only two patterns, this is the right approach and we are going in the right direction. We definitely expect further improvements in future.”

Accelerating into a digital future

“I can for sure recommend the complete Monitizer package,” said de la Cruz. “We have been able to unify all our data in dashboards and that’s a clear advantage. PRESCRIBE relates all the process parameters from the entire production line to one output – casting quality – and it’s a very easy solution to understand and use. The prescriptions are pointing us in the right direction, for example, in showing us which variables have the most influence on our process and so what our priorities should be.”

“With their willingness to innovate and great experience in foundry technology and data, Condals has been the perfect foundry partner for this project,” said Kasper Paw Madsen, Global Product Manager for Digital Solutions at DISA. “We’ve seen three sets of technical experts working together towards a common goal and I’m very excited to see the results for the next stage as we expand the number of patterns that Monitizer | PRESCRIBE is providing prescriptions for. Condals will soon have prescriptions for each pattern they use and the optimum settings for each process – with no new machines required.”

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