Title:
Equipment for continuous casting operation
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Equipment for a continuous casting operation includes a closed chamber having first and second connecting holes, a furnace unit disposed in the chamber, a horizontal casting apparatus connected to the first connecting hole and including at least one first die having a first passage connected to the melting furnace, a first drawing unit disposed downstream of the horizontal casting apparatus, an upcast casting apparatus disposed above the chamber and connected to the second connecting hole, and a second drawing unit disposed downstream of the upcast casting apparatus. The upcast casting apparatus includes at least one second die having a second passage connected to the melting furnace. With the equipment, either horizontal casting or upcasting may be performed.



Inventors:
Wang, Kai-lu (Kaohsiung City, TW)
Liu, Lo-ying (Kaohsiung County, TW)
Lei, Sio-hou (Kaohsiung City, TW)
Application Number:
12/152758
Publication Date:
11/19/2009
Filing Date:
05/14/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B22D11/14
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HA, STEVEN S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP (Glendale, CA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. Equipment for a continuous casting operation, comprising: a closed chamber having first and second connecting holes; a furnace unit disposed in said chamber for melting solid metal into molten metal; a horizontal casting apparatus connected to said first connecting hole, and including at least one first die having a first passage connected to said melting furnace to form a casting; a first drawing unit disposed downstream of said horizontal casting apparatus; an upcast casting apparatus disposed above said chamber and connected to said second connecting hole, and including at least one second die having a second passage connected to with said melting furnace to form a casting; and a second drawing unit disposed downstream of said upcast casting apparatus.

2. The equipment of claim 1, further comprising a first collecting unit disposed downstream of said first drawing unit to collect the casting either from said first die or from said second die.

3. The equipment of claim 2, wherein said first collecting unit includes a first platform, and at least one first coiler and at least one first runout table supported by said first platform.

4. The equipment of claim 3, wherein said first platform is movable relative to said chamber between a first position, where said first coiler is aligned with said first drawing unit, and a second position, where said first runout table is aligned with said first drawing unit.

5. The equipment of claim 1, further comprising a first collecting unit disposed downstream of said first drawing unit to collect the casting from said first die, and a second collecting unit disposed downstream of said second drawing unit to collect the casting from said second die.

6. The equipment of claim 5, wherein said first collecting unit includes a first platform, and at least one first coiler and at least one first runout table supported by said first platform, said second collecting unit including a second platform, and at least one second coiler and at least one second runout table supported by said second platform.

7. The equipment of claim 6, wherein said first platform is movable relative to said horizontal casting apparatus between a first position, where said first coiler is aligned with said first drawing unit, and a second position, where said first runout table is aligned with said first drawing unit, said second platform being movable relative to said upcast casting apparatus between a third position, where said second coiler is aligned with said second drawing unit, and a fourth position, where said second runout table is aligned with said second drawing unit.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a continuous casting operation, more particularly to equipment for a continuous casting operation.

2. Description of the Related Art

FIG. 1 illustrates a conventional horizontal continuous casting apparatus 10 for smelting, but not limited to, copper. The apparatus 10 includes a movable melting furnace 11, a holding furnace 12, a die 13, a cooler 14, and a drawing unit 15. The melting furnace 11 receives and melts solid copper into molten copper. The holding furnace 12 receives the molten copper poured out from the melting furnace 11, and is continuously heated so as to maintain the molten copper at a suitable temperature. The holding furnace 12 has a receiving hole 121 formed in a sidewall thereof in communication with an interior of the holding furnace 12. A layer of graphite or carbon flakes covers a liquid surface of the molten metal in the corresponding furnace 11, 12 so as to minimize contact of the molten metal with the atmospheric air which could result in oxidation of the molten metal. The lining of each of the melting furnace 11 and the holding furnace 12 is made of oxidized aluminum bricks. The die 13 is disposed within the receiving hole 121, and is formed with a horizontal passage 131 connected to the interior of the holding furnace 12. The molten metal in the holding furnace 12 passes through the passage 131 to thereby form a casting. The cooler 14 is provided to cool the casting. The drawing unit 15 includes two rollers 151 that rotate in opposite directions to draw continuously and horizontally the casting.

FIG. 2 illustrates a conventional upcast continuous casting apparatus 20, which includes a chamber 21, a melting furnace 22 disposed within the chamber 21 to melt solid metal into molten metal, a die 23 that extends uprightly through the chamber 21 such that a portion thereof is inserted into the melting furnace 22 and another portion thereof is exposed outwardly of the melting furnace 22, a cooler 24 surrounding the die 23, and a drawing unit 25 disposed above the cooler 24. The die 23 is formed with a passage 231 that communicates with an inner portion of the melting furnace 22. When the molten metal passes through the passage 231, the molten metal is solidified through the cooler 24 to become a casting that is then drawn upwardly by the drawing unit 25.

The aforementioned conventional horizontal and upcast continuous casting apparatuses 10, 20 are limited to particular sizes of products. For example, the conventional horizontal continuous casting apparatus 10 is suitable only for producing thick metal rods, so that when metal rods of small diameters (below 12 mm) are to be produced, technical difficulties are encountered by the conventional horizontal continuous casting apparatus 10. Similarly, the conventional upcast continuous casting apparatus 20 is generally not suitable for producing metal rods of large diameter (over 30 mm) because of technical difficulties that are encountered and the limited size of the apparatus 20.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, the object of the present invention is to provide equipment for a continuous casting operation that is able to perform both horizontal and upcast casting.

According to this invention, equipment for a continuous casting operation comprises a closed chamber having first and second connecting holes, a furnace unit disposed in the chamber for melting solid metal into molten metal, a horizontal casting apparatus connected to the first connecting hole, a first drawing unit disposed downstream of the horizontal casting apparatus, an upcast casting apparatus disposed above the chamber and connected to the second connecting hole, and a second drawing unit disposed downstream of the upcast casting apparatus. The horizontal casting apparatus includes at least one first die having a first passage connected to the melting furnace to form a casting. The upcast casting apparatus includes at least one second die having a second passage connected to the melting furnace to form a casting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a conventional horizontal continuous casting apparatus;

FIG. 2 illustrates a conventional upcast continuous casting apparatus;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of equipment for a continuous casting operation according to the first preferred embodiment of this invention;

FIG. 4 is a schematic side view of the first preferred embodiment in a state of use;

FIG. 5 is a schematic top view of the first preferred embodiment, illustrating a first platform in a first position;

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5, but illustrating the first platform in a second position;

FIG. 7 is a schematic side view of equipment for a continuous casting operation according to the second preferred embodiment of this invention in a state of use;

FIG. 8 is a schematic top view of the second preferred embodiment, illustrating a second platform in a third position;

FIG. 9 is a view similar to FIG. 8, but illustrating the second platform in a fourth position; and

FIG. 10 is a schematic top view of equipment for a continuous casting operation according to the third preferred embodiment of this invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Before the present invention is described in greater detail, it should be noted that the same reference numerals have been used to denote like elements throughout the specification.

Referring to FIGS. 3 to 6, equipment for a continuous casting operation according to the first preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown to comprise a closed chamber 3, a furnace unit 4, a horizontal casting apparatus 5, an upcast casting apparatus 6, a first drawing unit 7, a second drawing unit 8, and a first collecting unit 91.

The closed chamber 3 has a first connecting hole 31 and a second connecting hole 32.

The furnace unit 4 is disposed in the chamber 3, and has a receiving hole 41 at one side thereof. The furnace unit 4 serves to melt solid metal into molten metal, and maintains the molten metal at a suitable temperature. In this embodiment, the exemplified metal is copper, and the suitable heating temperature ranges from 600° C. to 1500° C. To melt other kinds of metal, such as aluminum, nickel, copper alloys, aluminum alloys, nickel alloys, etc., the suitable heating temperature range may be adjusted according to the physical properties of the metal used.

The horizontal casting apparatus 5 is connected to the first connecting hole 31, and includes a first die 51 and a first cooler 52. The first die 51 has one end positioned within the receiving hole 41 in the furnace unit 4, and another end extending out of the chamber 3. The first die 51 is formed with a first passage 511 connected to the furnace unit 4. The molten copper in the furnace unit 4 is permitted to flow out of the chamber 3 through the first passage 511. The first cooler 52 surrounds the first die 51, and cools the molten copper that flows through the first passage 511, so that the molten copper is gradually solidified into a copper casting.

The first drawing unit 7 is disposed outwardly of the chamber 3 in proximity to the first cooler 52 for drawing the copper casting from the first die 51 horizontally and continuously to form an elongated copper rod 500. The first drawing unit 7 has a pair of rollers 71 that rotate oppositely to clamp and pull out the copper material continuously and horizontally.

The upcast casting apparatus 6 is disposed above the chamber 3, and includes a second die 61 and a second cooler 62. The second die 61 is inserted uprightly into the furnace unit 4 by extending through the second connecting hole 32 in the chamber 3, and is formed with a second passage 611 connected to an inner portion of the furnace unit 4. The molten copper in the furnace unit 4 is permitted to flow out of the chamber 3 through the second passage 611. The second cooler 62 surrounds the second die 61, and cools the molten copper that flows through the second passage 611, so that the molten copper is gradually solidified into a copper casting. The second cooler 62 has an inlet 621 for entry of a cooling liquid, and an outlet 622 for exit of the cooling liquid after absorbing the heat of the molten copper. Preferably, the second cooler 62 includes a cooling tower (not shown), and the cooling liquid may be water. The water absorbs the heat of the molten copper and can be cooled and continuously used.

The second drawing unit 8 is disposed above the second die 61 for drawing the copper casting from the second die 61 upwardly and continuously so as to form an elongated copper rod 500′. In this embodiment, the second drawing unit 8 includes four rollers 81 that cooperate with each other to clamp and pull out the copper material continuously.

The first collecting unit 91, as shown in FIG. 4, is disposed downstream of the first drawing unit 7, and is used for collecting the elongated copper rods 500, 500′ drawn by the first and second drawing units 7, 8, respectively. The first collecting unit 91 includes a first platform 913, a first coiler 912, and a first runout table 914. The first platform 913 supports the first runout table 914 and the first coiler 912, and is movable relative to the chamber 3 between first and second positions. When the first platform 913 is in the first position, as shown in FIG. 5, the first coiler 912 is aligned with the first drawing unit 7. In this state, the copper rod 500 drawn by the first drawing unit 7 can be wound by the first coiler 912 into a coil. When the first platform 913 is in the second position, as shown in FIG. 6, the first runout table 914 is aligned with the first drawing unit 7 so as to collect the copper rod 500 drawn by the first drawing unit 7 and to cut the copper rod 500 to a preset length by using a cutter 400 (shown in phantom lines in FIG. 6).

The purpose of the cutter 400 and the first runout table 914 is to provide another way of collecting the copper rod 500 after drawing. That is to say, instead of winding the copper rod 500 into a coil, the copper rod 500 can be cut into pieces on the first runout table 914.

If the first die 51 is to be changed into a die that can produce a metal slab or sheet, the first drawing unit 7 may be configured to draw the metal slab onto the first runout table 914 so as to facilitate a cutting operation. Hence, the equipment of the present invention can produce not only an elongated metal rod, but also a metal slab.

Referring back to FIG. 4, when the first collecting unit 91 is used for collecting the elongated copper rod 500′ drawn by the second drawing unit 8, a guide roller 300 and a winding speed controller 200 may be used to cooperate with the first collecting unit 91. The guide roller 300 is disposed in proximity to the second drawing unit 8 to guide and change the direction of the copper rod 500′. The winding speed controller 200 is mounted on the first platform 913 in proximity to the first coiler 912. The copper rod 500′ is directed downwardly by gravity after passing over the guide roller 300, and is wound by the first coiler 912 into a coil. Alternatively, the copper rod 500′ may be directed to the first runout table 914 to conduct a cutting operation.

It is worth mentioning that, in this embodiment, since both of the upcast casting apparatus 6 and the horizontal casting apparatus 5 are supplied with molten copper from the same furnace unit 4 to produce the elongated metal rods 500′, 500, and since the first and second dies 51, 61 have different forming sizes, different sizes or different forms of metal rods can be produced at the same time by the equipment of the present invention. Further, because it is not necessary to stop the operation of the furnace unit 4 during switching between the upcast and horizontal casting apparatuses 6, 5, different sizes of metal materials can be produced continuously. Hence, the present invention not only can produce different products in small quantities, but can also minimize the danger caused by stopping and re-starting the apparatuses 6, 5.

The first collecting unit 91, in this embodiment, includes only one first coiler 912. However, when the first drawing unit 7 draws a plurality of metal rods 500 from the horizontal casting apparatus 5, or when the second drawing unit 8 draws a plurality of metal rods 500′ from the upcast casting apparatus 6, the first collecting unit 91 may be provided with a plurality of the first coilers 912 to wind the respective metal rods 500, 500′ into coils. Since the structure and operation of the first coiler 912 are known in the art, a detailed description of the same is dispensed herewith.

The equipment of the present invention integrates the conventional horizontal and upcast casting apparatuses into a single unit. Hence, not only is the space occupied by the present invention minimized, but the related operational costs, such as maintenance of the apparatuses 6, 5, can be economized as well.

Referring to FIGS. 7 to 9, equipment for a continuous casting operation according to the second preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown to be similar to the first preferred embodiment. However, in this embodiment, the equipment further comprises a second collecting unit 92 disposed downstream of the second drawing unit 8 to collect the elongated metal rod 500′ drawn by the second drawing unit 8. The first collecting unit 91 is used to collect the elongated metal rod 500 drawn by the first drawing unit 7. The second collecting unit 92 has a second platform 923, a second coiler 922, and a second runout table 924. The winding speed controller 200 is mounted on the second platform 923 in proximity to the second coiler 922 in this embodiment. The second platform 923 supports the second runout table 924 and the second coiler 922, and is movable relative to the upcast casting apparatus 6 between third and fourth positions. When the second platform 923 is in the third position, as shown in FIG. 8, the second coiler 922 is aligned with the second drawing unit 8 so as to wind the metal rod 500′ drawn by the second drawing unit 8 into a coil. When the second platform 923 is in the fourth position, as shown in FIG. 9, the second runout table 924 is aligned with the second drawing unit 8 so as to collect the metal rod 500′ drawn by the second drawing unit 8 and to cut the copper rod 500′ to a preset length by using a cutter 400. With reference to FIG. 7, the drawn metal rod 500′ is wound into a coil by the second coiler 922 through cooperation of the guide roller 300 and the winding speed controller 200. Alternatively, the drawn metal rod 500′ may be collected on the second runout table 924, as shown in FIG. 9, and may be cut to a preset length using the cutter 400 (shown in phantom lines in FIG. 9).

The second collecting unit 92, in this embodiment, includes only one second coiler 922. However, when the second drawing unit 8 draws a plurality of metal rods 500′ from the upcast casting apparatus 6, the second collecting unit 92 may be provided with a plurality of the second coilers 922 to wind the metal rods 500′ into coils, respectively. Since the upcast and horizontal casting apparatuses 6, 5 of the second preferred embodiment are provided respectively with the collecting units 92, 91 and can be operated simultaneously, not only is the winding operation effective, the production yield and the ability to vary product dimensions can be enhanced as well. Further, since the upcast casting apparatus 6 is disposed higher than the horizontal casting apparatus 5, and since the second collecting unit 92 is also disposed at a level substantially as high as the upcast casting apparatus 6, the winding operation of the second collecting unit 92 can be carried out effectively.

Referring to FIG. 10, equipment for a continuous casting operation according to the third preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown to be similar to the second preferred embodiment. However, in this embodiment, the horizontal casting apparatus 5 cooperates with the first collecting unit 7 to produce four elongated metal rods 500. Similarly, the upcast casting apparatus 6 can cooperate with the second collecting unit 8 to produce simultaneously four elongated metal rods 500′ (see FIG. 7). Hence, the production yield is further increased. Since the upcast and horizontal casting apparatuses 6, 5 can separately and simultaneously produce four elongated metal rods 500′, 500, each of the first and second collecting units 91, 92 (see FIG. 7) is provided with four coilers 912, 922 (see FIG. 7) to cooperate with the corresponding casting apparatus 6, 5 to wind the four metal rods 500′, 500 into coils, respectively.

Moreover, in this embodiment, the horizontal casting apparatus 5 includes four first dies 51 (see FIG. 7) and four first coolers 52 (see FIG. 7). The first collecting unit 7 is modified so as to accommodate drawing of the four elongated metal rods 500. Similarly, the second collecting unit 8 is also modified so as to accommodate drawing of the four elongated metal rods 500′. Since modification of each of the first and second collecting units 7, 8 is known in the art, a detailed description of the same is dispensed herewith.

It should be noted that since the first and second collecting units 91, 92 (see FIG. 7) in this embodiment are operated in a manner similar to the manner in which they are operated in the second preferred embodiment, only the first collecting unit 91 is illustrated in FIG. 10. In FIG. 10, the first platform 913 is disposed in the second position. The aforementioned end product, i.e., the elongated metal rods 500, 500′, is only an example to facilitate description of the present invention. The end product may be changed as required. If the end product is changed, the number and position of the first and second drawing units 7, 8 and of the first and second collecting units 912, 922 may be altered accordingly, and the present invention is not limited in this regard to the disclosed embodiments.

While the present invention has been described in connection with what are considered the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretations and equivalent arrangements.