BIRN Iron Foundry reduces energy consumption with AI
Foundry & Metallurgy, Innovation

AI Reduces Iron Foundry’s Energy Consumption

The iron foundry BIRN has recently completed an AI project in cooperation with pour-tech AB to optimize the dosing of molten iron from casting machines into molds. The project aims to reduce energy consumption and has been such a success that BIRN is now planning to scale the technology to almost all the foundry's pouring units.

Two laser sensors have been installed on two of BIRN's pouring units to monitor and analyze, using AI technology, how the liquid iron is dosed into the molds. The dosing process plays a crucial role in the heating process and, consequently, energy consumption, as explained by BIRN's CTO, Lars Jørgensen: "The technology helps us save a significant amount of energy because precise dosing into the molds is essential for determining the exact amount of energy needed to fill the molds adequately and allow the molten metal to flow perfectly into the molds"

The project began in 2020, during which the technology collected data from BIRN's casting production. Subsequently, the technology was tested in BIRN's operations, where it significantly reduced energy consumption. As a result, BIRN has decided to scale the technology to nearly all the foundry's pouring units: "Sustainability is one of the cornerstones of BIRN Group's overall corporate strategy, and we continually work strategically to reduce and optimize our energy consumption. AI technology, with its substantial energy optimization potential, holds promise not to mention the financial benefits, as lower consumption positively impacts our electricity bills, says Lars Jørgensen.

Learns from the best in the field

The AI-based technology, named EASYpour®TM, was developed by the global market leader in automatic pouring solutions pour-tech AB and had the opportunity to be tested in BIRN's production before its market launch. BIRN provided the technology with a valuable learning experience, drawing from the expertise of the foundry's seasoned employees. "Our AI technology works based on data collection that had to be collected in the first step. In cooperation with BIRN, we had the chance to fill our database with crucial information over an extended period and data to acquire knowledge before it was introduced into a production process. Our EASYpour®TM technology had the opportunity to learn from some of the industry's best casting operators at BIRN and can continuously optimize the pouring and try to maintain a high and consistent result of the pouring", says Oliver Schmitz from pour-tech. Lars Jørgensen, however, clarifies that the technology is far from replacing BIRNs human casting operators. Instead, it provides operators with more time to focus on other, more specialized tasks: The technology is a great aid to our operators, but it certainly cannot replace them in the whole process. It essentially serves as a skilled assistant, helping to optimize the pouring processes while operators can take samples of molten iron and perform other specialized tasks", he concludes.