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Number of results: 23
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Abstract

The paper presents the theory of constraints (TOC) as a method used to improve results in a complex, multiplants organization. In the article the assumptions of this method has been presented as well as iterative approach concerning how to launch it in practice. Main indicators for organizational effectiveness assessment have also been presented. The maximization of production assets utilization is a key issue for competitive organization in the changing market conditions. An appropriate usage of the theory of constraints enables efficient allocation of financial assets among particular plants within a capital group. An application of a method has been presented based on throughput analyses and its influence to improve financial results of one plant organization and synergy effect in multiplants organization. The theory of constraints can be used in almost every kind of business sectors, among them are metal and foundry industries. It allows to be implemented in production organizations as well as in any other company’s profiles. Everywhere the constraint has been defined there is a chance to achieve an improvement following the presented method. The examples have been taken from the casting plants which use continuous and mold casting technologies. The examples show that TOC approach can be successfully employed as the improvement tool of foundries’ performances.
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Abstract

As experience shows the practical, reliable assessment and optimisation of total costs of logistical processes implemented in supply chains of foundry plants is a quite complex and complicated process, because it requires to enclose all, without exception, performed actions, including them in various reference cross-sections, systematic activities and finally transforming them in a totally homogenous collection. Only solid analysis and assessment of assortment management in logistical supply systems in foundry plants of particular assortment groups allows to lower the supply costs significantly. In the article the analysis and assessment of the newest implemented optimising algorithms are presented in the process stock management of selected material groups used in a production process of a chosen foundry plant. A practical solution to solve a problem of rotary stock cost minimisation is given as well as of costs while creating a stock with the usage of economical volume and value of order.
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Abstract

The article discusses the weldment to casting conversion process of rocker arm designed for operation in a special purpose vehicle to obtain a consistency of objective functions, which assume the reduced weight of component, the reduced maximum effort of material under the impact of service loads achieved through topology modification for optimum strength distribution in the sensitive areas, and the development of rocker arm manufacturing technology. As a result of conducted studies, the unit weight of the item was reduced by 25%, and the stress limit values were reduced to a level guaranteeing safe application.
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Abstract

Mathematical programming, constraint programming and computational intelligence techniques, presented in the literature in the field of operations research and production management, are generally inadequate for planning real-life production process. These methods are in fact dedicated to solving the standard problems such as shop floor scheduling or lot-sizing, or their simple combinations such as scheduling with batching. Whereas many real-world production planning problems require the simultaneous solution of several problems (in addition to task scheduling and lot-sizing, the problems such as cutting, workforce scheduling, packing and transport issues), including the problems that are difficult to structure. The article presents examples and classification of production planning and scheduling systems in the foundry industry described in the literature, and also outlines the possible development directions of models and algorithms used in such systems.
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Abstract

The problem considered in the paper is motivated by production planning in a foundry equipped with the furnace and casting line, which provides a variety of castings in various grades of cast iron/steel for a large number of customers. The quantity of molten metal does not exceed the capacity of the furnace, the load is a particular type of metal from which the products are made in the automatic casting lines. The goal is to create the order of the melted metal loads to prevent delays in delivery of goods to customers. This problem is generally considered as a lot-sizing and scheduling problem. The paper describes two computational intelligence algorithms for simultaneous grouping and scheduling tasks and presents the results achieved by these algorithms for example test problems.
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Abstract

The problem considered in the paper is motivated by production planning in a foundry equipped with the furnace and casting line, which provides a variety of castings in various grades of cast iron/steel for a large number of customers. The quantity of molten metal does not exceed the capacity of the furnace, the load is a particular type of metal from which the products are made. The goal is to create the order of the melted metal loads to prevent delays in delivery of goods to customers. This problem is generally considered as a lot-sizing and scheduling problem. The paper describes a mathematical programming model that formally defines the optimization problem and its relaxed version that is based on the conception of rolling-horizon planning
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Abstract

It has been found that the area where one can look for significant reserves in the procurement logistics is a rational management of the stock of raw materials. Currently, the main purpose of projects which increase the efficiency of inventory management is to rationalise all the activities in this area, taking into account and minimising at the same time the total inventory costs. The paper presents a method for optimising the inventory level of raw materials under a foundry plant conditions using two different control models. The first model is based on the estimate of an optimal level of the minimum emergency stock of raw materials, giving information about the need for an order to be placed immediately and about the optimal size of consignments ordered after the minimum emergency level has occurred. The second model is based on the estimate of a maximum inventory level of raw materials and an optimal order cycle. Optimisation of the presented models has been based on the previously done selection and use of rational methods for forecasting the time series of the delivery of a chosen auxiliary material (ceramic filters) to a casting plant, including forecasting a mean size of the delivered batch of products and its standard deviation
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Abstract

The article presents the issues of costs analysis of iron casts manufacturing using automated foundry lines. Particular attention was paid to departmental costs, conversion costs and costs of in-plant transport. After the Pareto analysis had been carried out, it was possible to set the model area of the process and focus on improving activities related to finishing of a chosen group of casts. In order to eliminate losses, the activities realised in this domain were divided into activities with added value, activities with partially added value and activities without added value. To streamline the production flow, it was proposed to change the location of workstations related to grinding, control and machining of casts. Within the process of constant improvement of manufacturing processes, the aspect of work ergonomics at a workstation was taken into account. As a result of the undertaken actions, some activities without added value were eliminated, efficiency was increased and prime costs of manufacturing casts with regard to finishing treatment were lowered.
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Abstract

The article presents issues related to creating and realizing added value by logistic processes and processing in a casting enterprise. It discusses possibilities of improving systems of casts production by evaluating labour intensity of casts manufacture and analyzing manufacturing prime costs. Operations with added value, processes indirectly creating added value and operations without added value have been specified. The problem was presented on the example of materials flow design in a foundry, where casts are manufactured in expendable moulds and using automated foundry lines. On the basis of the Pareto analysis, a group of casts was specified whose manufacture significantly influences the functioning of the whole enterprise. Finishing treatment operations have been particularly underlined, as they are performed away from the line and are among the most labour-consuming processes during casts production.
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Abstract

This article presents a practical solution in the form of implementation of agent-based platform for the management of contracts in a network of foundries. The described implementation is a continuation of earlier scientific work in the field of design and theoretical system specification for cooperating companies [1]. The implementation addresses key design assumptions - the system is implemented using multi-agent technology, which offers the possibility of decentralisation and distributed processing of specified contracts and tenders. The implemented system enables the joint management of orders for a network of small and medium-sized metallurgical plants, while providing them with greater competitiveness and the ability to carry out large procurements. The article presents the functional aspects of the system - the user interface and the principle of operation of individual agents that represent businesses seeking potential suppliers or recipients of services and products. Additionally, the system is equipped with a bi-directional agent translating standards based on ontologies, which aims to automate the decision-making process during tender specifications as a response to the request.
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Abstract

Conducting reliable and credible evaluation and statistical interpretation of empirical results related to the operation of production systems in foundries is for most managers complicated and labour-intensive. Additionally, in many cases, statistical evaluation is either ignored and considered a necessary evil, or is completely useless because of improper selection of methods and subsequent misinterpretation of the results. In this article, after discussing the key elements necessary for the proper selection of statistical methods, a wide spectrum of these methods has been presented, including regression analysis, uni- and multivariate correlation, one-way analysis of variance for factorial designs, and selected forecasting methods. Each statistical method has been illustrated with numerous examples related to the foundry practice.
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Abstract

A comparative analysis involving the evaluation of the effectiveness of investment projects can be based on various rules indicating selection of the most favorable decisions. The dynamic methods for assessment of investment projects discussed in this article, which consider the possibility of modifying the predetermined investment options, are quite complex and difficult to implement. They are used both in the construction phase of the new company, as well as in its subsequent modernization. The assessments should be characterized by a high coefficient of the economic efficiency. The, observed in practice, high dynamic variability of both the external and internal conditions under which the company operates is the reason why in the process of calculating the economic efficiency of investment projects, there is a significant number of random parameters affected by high uncertainty and risk. Investments in the metallurgical industry are characterized by a relatively long cycle of implementation and operation. These are capital-intensive projects and often mistakenly taken investment decisions end in failure of the investment project and, consequently, in the collapse of the company. In addition, the applied methods of risk assessment of investment projects, especially the dynamic ones, should be fully understood by managerial staff and constitute an easy to use, yet accurate tool for improving the efficiency of the company.
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Abstract

In the paper, we present a coordinated production planning and scheduling problem for three major shops in a typical alloy casting foundry, i.e. a melting shop, molding shop with automatic line and a core shop. The castings, prepared from different metal, have different weight and different number of cores. Although core preparation does not required as strict coordination with molding plan as metal preparation in furnaces, some cores may have limited shelf life, depending on the material used, or at least it is usually not the best organizational practice to prepare them long in advance. Core shop have limited capacity, so the cores for castings that require multiple cores should be prepared earlier. We present a mixed integer programming model for the coordinated production planning and scheduling problem of the shops. Then we propose a simple Lagrangian relaxation heuristic and evolutionary based heuristic to solve the coordinated problem. The applicability of the proposed solution in industrial practice is verified on large instances of the problem with the data simulating actual production parameters in one of the medium size foundry.
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Abstract

A novel approach for treating the uncertainty about the real levels of finished products during production planning and scheduling process is presented in the paper. Interval arithmetic is used to describe uncertainty concerning the production that was planned to cover potential defective products, but meets customer’s quality requirement and can be delivered as fully valuable products. Interval lot sizing and scheduling model to solve this problem is proposed, then a dedicated version of genetic algorithm that is able to deal with interval arithmetic is used to solve the test problems taken from a real-world example described in the literature. The achieved results are compared with a standard approach in which no uncertainty about real production of valuable castings is considered. It has been shown that interval arithmetic can be a valuable method for modeling uncertainty, and proposed approach can provide more accurate information to the planners allowing them to take more tailored decisions.
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Abstract

The problem considered in the paper is motivated by production planning in a foundry equipped with a furnace and a casting line, which provides a variety of castings in various grades of cast iron/steel for a large number of customers. The goal is to create the order of the melted metal loads to prevent delays in delivery of goods to customers. This problem is generally considered as a lot-sizing and scheduling problem. However, contrary to the classic approach, we assumed the fuzzy nature of the demand set for a given day. The paper describes a genetic algorithm adapted to take into account the fuzzy parameters of simultaneous grouping and scheduling tasks and presents the results achieved by the algorithm for example test problem.
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Abstract

The paper presents a novel Iterated Local Search (ILS) algorithm to solve multi-item multi-family capacitated lot-sizing problem with setup costs independent of the family sequence. The model has a direct application to real production planning in foundry industry, where the goal is to create the batches of manufactured castings and the sequence of the melted metal loads to prevent delays in delivery of goods to clients. We extended existing models by introducing minimal utilization of furnace capacity during preparing melted alloy. We developed simple and fast ILS algorithm with problem-specific operators that are responsible for the local search procedure. The computational experiments on ten instances of the problem showed that the presence of minimum furnace utilization constraint has great impact on economic and technological conditions of castings production. For all test instances the proposed heuristic is able to provide the results that are comparable to state-of-the art commercial solver.
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Abstract

The paper undertakes an important topic of evaluation of effectiveness of SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems, used for monitoring and control of selected processing parameters of classic green sands used in foundry. Main focus was put on process studies of properties of so-called 1st generation molding sands in the respect of their preparation process. Possible methods of control of this processing are presented, with consideration of application of fresh raw materials, return sand (regenerate) and water. The studies conducted in one of European foundries were aimed at pointing out how much application of new, automated plant of sand processing incorporating the SCADA systems allows stabilizing results of measurement of selected sand parameters after its mixing. The studies concerned two comparative periods of time, before an implementation of the automated devices for green sands processing (ASMS - Automatic Sand Measurement System and MCM – Main Control Module) and after the implementation. Results of measurement of selected sand properties after implementation of the ASMS were also evaluated and compared with testing studies conducted periodically in laboratory.
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Abstract

The paper presents data concerning the total production of castings over the 2000-2014 period, both on a global scale, and in Poland. The basic types of casting alloys were taken into account. Changes in the production volume and structure over the period of the analysed 15 years were pointed out with respect to countries leading in foundry production. The topmost position in the world foundry industry is held by China for several years (with almost 45% share in the foundry market), the second place is taken by India (with almost 9% share). A distinct reduction in the shares of the once significant producers of castings, such as USA, Japan, Germany, Russia, Italy, or France, was observed over the 2000-2014 period. Poland had a share of 1.16% in 2000, and of 1.02% in 2014. Comparing the detailed data concerning the years 2000 and 2014, one can see that the fractions of castings made of ductile iron, cast steel, aluminium alloys, or magnesium alloys increase on a global scale, while such alloys as grey cast iron or malleable are in decline.
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Abstract

The paper presents the issue of production processes improvement in foundries in the area of finishing treatment of iron casts manufactured on automated foundry lines with vertical or horizontal mould division. Due to numerous factors which influence the efficiency of the processes, multi-criterion assessment tools were proposed in order to select the optimal solution for the assumed criteria. After determining the criteria weight using the Saaty method, a simulation experiment was designed and carried out which presents possible scenarios of casts finishing treatment operations. Basing on experiment reports from a computer model, particular solutions were evaluated using the Yager’s method. The evaluation of the experiment results was performed by experts who assessed different options according to each of the criteria adopted. After the establishment of the total standardized ratings by averaging the scores given by individual experts, the final decision was generated. Using the presented method, the best solution was chosen from among the analyzed scenarios.
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Abstract

The paper presents a practical example of improving quality and occupational safety on automated casting lines. Working conditions on the line of box moulding with horizontal mould split were analysed due to low degree of automation at the stage of cores or filters installation as well as spheroidizing mortar dosing. A simulation analysis was carried out, which was related to the grounds of introducing an automatic mortar dispenser to the mould. To carry out the research, a simulation model of a line in universal Arena software for modelling and simulation of manufacturing systems by Rockwell Software Inc. was created. A simulation experiment was carried out on a model in order to determine basic parameters of the working system. Organization and working conditions in other sections of the line were also analysed, paying particular attention to quality, ergonomics and occupational safety. Ergonomics analysis was carried out on manual cores installation workplace and filters installation workplace, and changes to these workplaces were suggested in order to eliminate actions being unnecessary and onerous for employees.
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Abstract

The objective of studies presented in this publication was structuring of research knowledge about the ADI functional properties and changes in these properties due to material treatment. The results obtained were an outcome of research on the selection of a format of knowledge representation that would be useful in further work aiming at the design, application and implementation of an effective system supporting the decisions of a technologist concerning the choice of a suitable material (ADI in this case) and appropriate treatment process (if necessary). ALSV(FD) logic allows easy modelling of knowledge, which should let addressees of the target system carry out knowledge modelling by themselves. The expressiveness of ALSV (FD) logic allows recording the values of attributes from the scope of the modelled domain regarding ADI, which is undoubtedly an advantage in the context of further use of the logic. Yet, although the logic by itself does not allow creating the rules of knowledge, it may form a basis for the XTT format that is rule-based notation. The difficulty in the use of XTT format for knowledge modelling is acceptable, but formalism is not suitable for the discovery of rules, and therefore the knowledge of technologist is required to determine the impact of process parameters on values that are functional properties of ADI. The characteristics of ALSV(FD) logic and XTT formalism, described in this article, cover the most important aspects of a broadly discussed, full evaluation of the applicability of these solutions in the construction of a system supporting the decisions of a technologist.
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Abstract

The paper presents a practical example of improvement of foundry production systems in terms of post-finishing of nodular iron castings produced in the conditions of bulk production for automotive industry. The attention was paid to high labour-intensive efforts, which are difficult to be subjected to mechanization and automation. The times of actions related to grinding processing of castings in three grinding positions connected with a belt conveyor were estimated with the use of a time study method. A bottleneck as well as limiting factors were specified in a system. A number of improvements were proposed, aimed at improving work organization on the castings postfinishing line. An analysis of work ergonomics at the workplace was made in order to eliminate unnecessary and onerous for the employee actions. A model of production system using the Arena software, on which a simulation experiment was conducted, was drawn up in order to visualize the analysed phenomena. The effects of the project were shown on graphs comparing times, costs, work ergonomics and overall efficiency of production equipment indicator.
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Abstract

Article present various forms of transfer of information available on the Internet. An attempt was made to show the possibility of such a selection of the knowledge sources that, taking into account user preferences, would arouse his interest, showing in parallel the intended substantive content. This commitment is shown in the context of the current assumptions of building a platform dedicated to support the needs of production processes in foundry and metallurgy.
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