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Engineering Bulletin #2020306
New Discharge Door & Controls Upgrade

For better control and more efficient operation the original door and amperage meter system on the Simpson Multi-Mull® has been redesigned to improve control methodology.

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Affected Products: Replacement Part:
21G Simpson Multi-MullEngineering RFQ - Discharge Door & Controls Upgrade
215G Simpson Multi-MullEngineering RFQ - Discharge Door & Controls Upgrade
22G Simpson Multi-MullEngineering RFQ - Discharge Door & Controls Upgrade
225G Simpson Multi-MullEngineering RFQ - Discharge Door & Controls Upgrade
23G Simpson Multi-MullEngineering RFQ - Discharge Door & Controls Upgrade
Current Situation

The primary design objective of the Simpson Multi-Mull was to enable the preparation of large quantities of tightly controlled molding sand using less energy (horsepower), space and capital than any other muller or mixing system. To achieve this objective the Multi-Mull operates on a continuous basis and has automated process controls. When properly applied and adjusted, the Simpson Multi-Mull is a competitive advantage for the user foundry because it is capable of consistently producing higher qualities of quality molding sand at lower costs of operation than any competitive muller.

In practice, users reported the opportunity to improve the performance of the Multi-Mull due to the following issues –

  1. To maintain optimal performance of the muller during major changes insand demand it is required that a operator intervene to manually reset mechanical adjustments of the inner discharge door mechanism. This requires a skilled, knowledgeable operator and some muller downtime. In many foundries the adjustment was just not done and system performance suffered. Major changes in sand demand could result from a change in the number of active molding machines requiring sand due to a major maintenance event or reduced production schedules. If the Multi- Mull were set up to run at a high capacity but sand demand was low, frequent starting and stopping of the muller resulted in poor sand control and increased muller maintenance.
  2. The design using a combination of a fixed inner door and the floating outer door lacked the sensitivity required to maintain close tolerance control of molding sand properties during periods of minor changes in demand. Minor changes in demand could result from temporary demand changes due to a machine stoppage for a pattern change or a change from a low to a high sand/metal ratio job or visa versa.
  3. Prior to the year 2000 the supply of most Multi-Mulls took place with separately provided compactability controls resulting in redundant components (panels, PLC’s, etc.) and minimal interfacing between the muller and its primary process control. The redundant controls increased the cost of operator training & maintenance and reduced the overall
    performance of the system.
  4. The original discharge mechanism of the Simpson Multi-Mull was designed to maintain a constant retained mass of sand inside the muller by controlling the rate of discharge according with a constant amperage draw on the drive motor. The amperage was monitored from one phase (also referred to as one leg) of the three phase motor. However,
    fluctuations in amperage can occur across all three legs of a three phase motor. Some foundries can experience changes in the power supply within their plants.
  5. Unbalanced electrical loads and fluctuations in power demand often create variations in the available power. Sometimes, those variations can be as much as 15%. These variations reduce the true power consumed
    by the Simpson Multi-Mull drive motor, thereby reducing its efficiency. Monitoring amperage alone typically does not reveal the problem and controlled retention suffers. For the demanding conditions of modern foundries, the old amperage monitoring method, discharge door design and control logic were not precise enough.
Simpson Solution

With over 1,000 installations worldwide, the Simpson Multi-Mull continuous green sand muller is an industry proven standard and the only widely proven continuous mixer for foundry molding sand. Properly applied, its ability to produce consistently high quality green sand in a wide variety of applications is confirmed by years of rigorous use. These variations are often due to changes in the number of or speed of the molding lines and/or changing sand to metal ratios. In order to allow medium to high volume foundries to continue to enjoy the advantages of continuous mulling but also to optimize control over sand preparation during frequently changing conditions, Simpson Technologies has updated the discharge door and its control logic to meet these challenges. The object of the new discharge door system is to reduce or eliminate the requirement for manual adjustment to compensate for a majority of changing conditions. The new door allows any foundry to easily enhance
performance of their Simpson Multi-Mull.

For better control and more efficient operation the original double door and amperage meter system have been redesigned. They have been replaced by significant improvements in both control methodology and mechanical elements. The control of retention and discharge is no longer accomplished by monitoring single leg amperage alone. The new discharge door control system accurately and continuously measures the true energy usage at the drive motor, processes this information by comparing it to a set-point value, and adjusts the new discharge door to retain a precise mass of sand in the Simpson Multi-Mull at all times. In order to accomplish this, the new system must first accurately determine the energy required to retain a constant mass. Utilizing a power transducer, the control system first monitors three phase power at the drive motor. Unlike the old system that measured amperage from one phase, the new system monitors amperage, voltage, and phase angle from all three phases of the drive motor. By monitoring all three phases it is possible to eliminate the fluctuations found by monitoring amperage alone. Additionally, the power transducer can be adjusted to overcome the fluctuations in plant electrical power, which hampered the old door design. This provides precise monitoring of the power utilized to retain a consistent retained load of sand inside the Simpson Multi-Mull. This utilization is expressed as a percent kilowatt (or percent horsepower) demand. As the Simpson Multi-Mull operates, the transducer continuously supplies the percent kilowatt demand to the control system. This information is sent through a three mode control loop (also known as a PID Loop) and is continuously analyzed. The percent kilowatt demand is compared to a set point value. This value is preset by the user depending on the sand quantity and properties required. The three mode controller is programmed to continuously move the new discharge door into proper position so that the percent kilowatt demanded from the drive motor equals the set point value. These values are continuously compared and, over time, the three mode controller tightens the span of control. This improves retention accuracy, reduces excessive movement of the discharge door, reduces muller stopping and starting, and minimizes sand property variations. Door control set-points are input into a PLC rather than with manually set with conventional needle type meters.

In order to accomplish precise positioning of the discharge door, a new design has been created. The new door consists of a single, vertical discharge gate. This door is positioned by an electro-mechanical actuator in response to the three mode control loop. This actuator, complete with a variable frequency drive for positioning, is designed to quickly respond and locate the door to retain a constant retention time at all times manual intervention. This significantly improves the performance of the Simpson Multi-Mull during varying foundry conditions. More consistent sand properties result, even when slight fluctuations in sand composition and demand occur. If more dramatic changes in retention time are required (for example, when one of the two or more molding machines on the sand plant are taken off-line), the new discharge door system can be more quickly and easily balanced.

Conversion Kit

For existing Simpson Multi-Mull installations the system has been engineered to easily replace the old door. Field removal of old discharge section and the installation of the upgrade kit, complete with controls, can typically be accomplished in less than two shifts. For new installations, the redesigned discharge door system comes standard on all new Simpson Multi-Mulls.

The Simpson Multi-Mull Discharge Door Upgrade Kit consists of:

  1. Mechanical – One (1) pre-assembled discharge door section containing the following:
    1. One (1) vertically actuated, single discharge door complete
    2. One (1) servo linear actuator with built in drive
    3. One (1) discharge hopper and crib section
    4. Shims and fasteners for installation
  2. Engineering Services as follows:
    1. Two (2) revised Simpson Multi-Mull Operation & Maintenance Manuals
  3. Controls – One of the three following control options
    1. Stand alone controls – One (1) control cabinet, NEMA 12 enclosure, containing the following:
      1. One (1) Allen Bradley Compactlogix 1769-L33ER Programmable Automation Controller
      2. One (1) Allen Bradley PanelView Plus 7  10” touch screen
      3. Process control and diagnostic capabilities
      4. One (1) emergency stop button
      5. One (1) power cell power transducer
      6. Set of fuses, transformers, safety disconnect, terminal
        blocks, etc.
    2. Controls integrated into an existing Hartley 17 PC or Mk2 Control panel (must have an Allen-Bradley PLC and Uticor or CTC operator interface)
    3. Controls provided in a new Simpson Hartley 17Mk2 Control panel (thereby updating both the muller controls and the Hartley controls to the latest designs)

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