Read ftj sept 07 text.indd text version

Here comes the sun

The approach to Turkish foundry Trakya Dokum, along the old European road that was once the only route from East to West, does little to prepare visitors for the surprise inside the package ­ a world class foundry with world class business acumen. The foundry is based between Istanbul and the Bulgarian border and can transport castings to Germany in five days by truck and two weeks by sea to the UK. Clearly it is also ideally placed to supply the Middle East and Asia. Looking more like a research establishment than a major player in the global foundry industry, the vast site is peppered with greenery, picturesque vistas, large modern buildings, olive trees, pear trees and rose gardens! Indeed one could be forgiven for thinking this is a foundry in a fantasy land ­ a pleasant external environment hiding a giant engineering facility that has developed from the smallest of seeds ­ much like the sunflowers themselves. On further inspection the large modern buildings in fact house five casting lines, extensive laboratories, patternshops, coreshops, sand plant, machine shop, offices, training facilities and stores. Part of the Soyak Group and established in 1980 before commencing production in 1982, Trakya Dokum has developed over 25 years into a state-of-the-art facility with continual investment in the latest moulding and casting technology. This ISO/TS 16949, ISO 9001:2000, OHSAS 18001, ISO 14001 foundry is based around a culture that embraces change to meet industry and customer needs. Located in Luleburgaz, 140km west of Istanbul, the foundry sits on its own 215,000 square metre site of which 50,000 square metres are enclosed. It appears there are two obsessions at the company: quality and capacity. The management believe that they can only truly succeed if their castings are of the highest quality and they believe that the need to increase capacity and move forward is essential. This drive for growth has recently led to the commissioning and installation of the fifth

Set amidst kilometres of sunflower fields standing proud and tall, Trakya Dokum stands equally proud ­ although a little less flamboyant than the bright yellow fields that engulf the site.

DISA 230X line, sitting handsomely alongside the fourth line, also a DISA 230X, machine installed in May 2006. The foundations and track for line five were prepared at the same time as those for line four; strategic planning at its finest. Production on line five will start in November, will ramp up in the first quarter of 2008 before high volume production is met by the line in the second quarter of 2008; thus increasing annual casting capacity from its current 55,000 tonnes to 80,000.

Machining critical to future

Clearly the supply of finished components is the `added value' required by much of the tier 1 customers in TD's portfolio of clients and with 20% of production at the plant being machined a great deal of investment has been made in the machine shop. Yet more investment is planned for the future with the target of 40% machined parts by 2010. The automotive industry accounts for 45% of production, 20% white goods, 15% pipe jointing and 20% other industries. Safety critical parts are a particular expertise, with the volume of these set to grow significantly. Supported by a head office base in Istanbul, TD employs multilingual staff helping to develop the vast export market. Also TD have marketing/ technical management based in the UK. Alan Gibson has worked with TD since May 2006 and has many years experience in the UK foundry industry. A journey through the company site is like a potted history of DISA and of the emergence of the foundry industry from the 20th to 21st century. Malleable iron line number 1 and grey iron line number 2 have their own sand plant and melting capabilities and are still running at high capacity. SG iron line number 3 has two medium frequency furnaces and is housed in a separate facility to lines one and two with its own unique finishing and paint carousel. All three lines are Disa 2013A machines installed in 1980, 1982 and 1996. The obvious progression from shake out on line 1, to rotary on line 2, to the installation of a DISA cool drum on line 3 highlights the company's desire to invest in the latest equipment from the early days.

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Company Profile

Indeed the strategic development from 1980 onwards is staggering. Pro-active rather than reactive, a minimum of 10% of turnover is invested in the site and equipment on an annual basis ­ with more land left to develop it is easy to see how this can and will continue on an ongoing basis. Patterns and coreboxes are mostly produced in-house in steel, iron, bronze and polyurethane, some are sub-contracted. Always on the look-out for equipment to improve Quality Control, TD has recently installed a new Storz endospcoe. Using light source the inspection camera projects excellent quality images that can be viewed on monitors to check for internal defects. journey through the DISA shotblast continuous cleaning machine before dropping to the lower level conveyor where the castings are separated from the runner systems. The castings then continue their journey on the belt to the finishing line back up on the higher level, while the runner systems go on a separate belt back to the furnace for recharge. Back on the higher level the castings are then inspected and finished manually, or on fully automated grinding machines and trimming presses. A DISA SERF non-destructive testing line performs eddy current, resonance and crack detection tests, on relevant safety critical parts. With dimensions of 750 x 535 mm the fourth line can produce moulds at an average of 500 moulds/hour and castings up to 30kgs in grey and SG iron.

State-of-the-art foundry

The latest phase of the development ­ lines four and five are housed in the new custom-built foundry. Resembling an aircraft hangar with a high curved ceiling and double height windows, the space is well lit and well ventilated and is a clean modern building. With 100 metre long cooling tracks, lines four and five are quite simply `moulding heaven'! Moulding sand is prepared in a clean and quiet sand plant accommodating 800 tonnes capacity Silos. Two 100 ton/hour Simpson SpeedMuller mixers utilising belts, not elevators, deliver the sand to the Disamatic moulding lines. Return sand is also transferred back to the sand plant utilising conveyor belts with no elevators in the system. Using a clever design concept the architects took advantage of the drop of the land at the far end of the vast TD site so that the sand plant doesn't impact on the vision at the top end of the site and from the road. Both vertical and horizontal modern core machines are used to produce hotbox, coldbox or shell cores as required. Using four huge concrete pits to store the basic raw material (steep scrap, pig iron and cast iron returns) and an automatic transfer system, the two medium frequency Dual-Trak Inductotherm furnaces, with a 10 tons/hour capacity, are fed by General Kinematics vibratory chargers. Graphite, ferro-silicon and other ferro alloy additions are made automatically from individual hoppers working to pre determined charge weight calculations. Two tonne ladles then transfer the molten metal from the furnaces to the heated autopours, which also incorporate Inductotherm camera systems to monitor and control metal pouring. With the help of instant response sampling, live information is fed from the computer monitoring the pour back to the laboratory, the office and the furnaces where the melt can be adjusted accordingly if required. This fast response is critical and is vital considering the high volume production. Following the journey down the 100 metres track, the moulds then travel on various vibrator systems before progressing to the DISA cool drum. There is a two-way by-pass system at the end of the line in the event of moulds requiring quarantine. With the 100m track all the main Quality Control tests are carried out before the moulds reach the end of the line. The sand and casings are then separated and cooled down prior to a short conveyor

From concept to production

Company emphasis is on design and production to the highest standard. This critical design support ensures that new products can be integrated into production relatively quickly and that new customers feel confident about production schedules. TD take time and effort at prototype and pre-production stages to ensure quality levels can be maintained in full production. This is aided by the in-house x-ray system and full dimensional control facilities. TS16949 is treated very seriously and with utmost respect in the whole TD organisation. It is a live working system which is continuously reviewed to improve product quality and reliability.

People power

Because of the high status appeal of engineering in Turkey, there is a ready supply of good labour and of skilled engineers and TD offers excellent facilities and transport to work for its employees.

What next?

Marvelling at the achievements and at the sheer level of investment and thought, it is easy to be lulled into thinking this is the finished object. Not so! This is a `work in progress' and no sooner has line five arrived than the management are on to the next phase of the plan. TD is now the second largest foundry in Turkey and once again it returns to the `mantras' of quality and capacity when it looks to continue moving forward. The next plan is further investment in process improvements and in increasing capacity in the coreshop and of course moulding lines six and seven are on the cards to increase production capacity. General manager M Ugur Kocaoglu is clear in his vision ­ to be world class you need a high level of structured investment and quality people to produce quality components. It's as simple as that ­ TD has no intention of being anything other than `the Best'. So it appears that behind the `floral facade' lies a high technology 21st century foundry that understands the development of the industry in recent years ­ because it has tracked it! Just as the sunflowers turn their heads towards the sun, Trakya Dokum is tracking the technological developments in the cast metals industry in much the same quiet and graceful manner, but with a fierce determination to stand out from the rest.

Trakya Dokum, Buyukkaristiran Mevkii, 39750 Luleburgaz-Kirklareli,Turkey. Tel: 00 90 288 436 1403. email: [email protected] Web: www.trakyadokum.com

FTJ September 2007

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