Developed by Advanced Magnesium Technologies, the AM-converter rapidly melts magnesium ingots and scrap and minimises the formation of dross and sludge. This increases the efficiencies of melting operations, reduces costs and facilitates more efficient recycling of scrap. The AM-converter approximately doubles the rate at which metal can be melted in a conventional melting furnace. The low disturbance of melt surfaces during introduction of ingots and scrap, combined with good seals and cover gas technology, results in very low rates of dross production. Circulation of metal ensures uniform temperatures in the crucible and sludge production is very low.
What are The Benefits of Using AM-converter to Melt Magnesium?
The ease with which molten magnesium oxidises generally results in significant losses of metal during molten metal processing in foundries. This is particular so in those high pressure die-casting plants that have a large amount of internally recycled metal. Melt losses add considerably to the cost of die-castings because:
- Up to 8% of purchased metal is lost to dross and sludge in some operations. The industry average for high pressure die casting is 5%;
- The effect of melt loss is exacerbated each time metal is melted during recycling;
- Dross and sludge cannot be readily recycled and therefore its removal, transport, treatment and disposal of residues may attract a significant costs;
- The increased risk of inclusions in the cast part with attendant higher reject rates;
- Downtime of the melting furnace, and associated labour, to clean out accumulated sludge;
- Reduced furnace capacities due to accumulation of sludge;
- Due its insulating effect, the presence of sludge reduces heat transfer from the heating medium to the magnesium. This results in poorer temperature control, extension of heating cycles and decreased crucible lives due to increased temperatures at the crucible wall.
The AM-converter provides important cost savings by minimizing dross and sludge. This can lead to savings of up to 10% of the cost of purchased metal, reduce defects and improve operational efficiencies.
However the major emerging cost benefit is the potential for a diecaster to recycle the majority of its process scrap in-cell and significantly reduce external recycling costs. External scrap recycling charges are typically EUR 0.50 per kg.
Manufacture of AM-converters
AM-converter is the subject of patent applications that are being pursued internationally. The technology has been extensively trialled in diecasting foundries in Sweden and Germany. The equipment is now being manufactured and marketed by a consortium of equipment manufacturers including Hindenlang (Germany) and Nordisk Industriovner (Norway).
These companies have been licenced by Advanced Magnesium Technologies to manufacture AM-converters and are working with Advanced Magnesium Technologies to develop further new cost reducing metal handling technologies. Advanced Magnesium Technologies is in discussions with a North American equipment manufacturer to meet the needs of the North American market. First orders for installations have already been received and a number of diecasters in both Europe and North America have expressed strong interest in the technology.