One of the biggest problems for sand casting foundries must be the waste produced from disposable molds. Stricter environmental regulations make it harder to dispose of waste sand, so a truly competitive foundry does no longer only make great products, but also concentrates on a sustainable casting process. While methods for repurposing waste foundry sand are still limited, the internal circulation of such sands proves significant possibilities. This paper will focus on thermal reclamation of foundry sands in a special rotating drum furnace in a central facility to serve several foundries. Thermal reclamation is a process for handling foundry sands in elevated temperatures to combust unwanted substances from reusable base sand. The introduction focuses on background of the Finnish foundry business, the most common sand systems in Finland and their reclaim properties. The experimental part features presentation of the new reclamation plant process and the conducted test runs. The samples collected from each test run have been laboratory tested to assure proper sand quality. The results of this work showed that the reclamation of alkaline phenolic no-bake sands was excellent. Reclamation of green sands did not provide satisfactory results as expected and the reclamation of furan no-bake sands provided mixed results, as the raw material was imperfect to begin with. The most important result of this work is still the successful initiation of a centralized thermal reclamation plant, with the ability to reclaim sands of several foundries. With this all of industrial symbiosis, circular economy and sustainability advanced in Finland, and the future development of this plant provides even further opportunities and a possibility to spread the ideas on a global scale.
- environment protection
- innovative foundry technologies
- spent foundry sands
- thermal reclamation
- industrial symbiosis