There’s something that feels almost unfair when the two smartest kids in the class get paired up to work on a group project together. Despite your best efforts, you know their presentation is going to outshine everyone else in a few weeks.
The two companies have brought to market a game-changing innovation – the IonicLife Cast. The technology brings Mettop’s expertise in designing, simulating and optimising coolers for critical applications with WeCo’s proven track record in mastering the manufacturing process of copper casting.
Together, the ionicLife Cast is set to improve the efficiency, recyclability and lifetime value of the entire casting process.
How? Read on to find out.
Copper is king when it comes to cooling.
It enjoys fantastic cooling properties, long service life and affordable use. The key though, is that more copper in a cooling process means better heat conductivity in the cooling process. This means a pure copper tube is the ideal solution for cooling processes.
Or at least, it should be.
The problem with copper is its low melting point. You can imagine the problems that arise when the object to be cast in has the same melting point as the liquid metal with which it is to form a bond. The reality is that a pure copper tube can easily melt if it’s not cooled from the inside. This leads to damaged cooling channels, a reduced cooling effect and ultimately a rejected casting.
This is the problem Mettop and WeCo have solved.
Water has been used as a primary method of cooling for many generations of metallurgy.
But water cooling found its way into cooling technology more through simplicity and ease-of-access rather than through any reputation of reliability or safety. It was the easiest choice for cooling when you have the option of taking ready-made water as opposed to developing a custom solution yourself.
Today, water simply cannot be used as a coolant. Should water come into contact with molten metal it will spontaneously multiply into water vapour, creating enormous, explosive forces.
In search of a solution, Mettop developed IL-B2001, an ionic liquid that offers an alternative cooling media for such applications. It can be used within a wide temperature window, and no vapour pressure means it does not pose a safety risk in case of damage at high temperatures.
With IL-B2001, Mettop and WeCo have separated themselves from competing solutions. While there are other ionic liquids on the market, most of these are highly corrosive. IL-B2001 is entirely non-corrosive, eliminating any concerns on tube longevity.
So Mettop and WeCo’s IL-B2001 solution provides a safer alternative than water-based solutions, and a more enduring alternative than other ionic liquids on the market.
But the IL-B2001 allows us to use pure copper tubing, and this too comes with its own advantages…
Recyclability Of The Coolers
If the hot-side cooling surface of a copper cooler is worn out, it must be replaced completely.
Until now, the copper cooler has had to be recycled in the first steps of copper production. The mechanical separation of the tubes from the copper castings is usually not feasible with reasonable effort, which is why the remaining parts of the elements are usually molten down in the primary unit of a copper smelter. The reason for this is that the contaminating elements from the tube alloys or coatings can only be separated in these aggregates.
When a cooling element consists entirely of pure copper, recycling is much easier. Such a cooling element can simply be remelted in a melting furnace of a copper foundry and cast into a new cooler.
The end result?
A higher residual value of the product at the end of its lifetime. This will provide users with cost savings over the entire life cycle of the product.
Taking Advantage Of New Technology
The driving force behind the development of the ionicLife cast process was the aim to provide a safe manufacturing process that enables the best possible heat transfer and recyclability of copper cooling elements.
In bringing the ionicLife Cast to the market, Mettop and WeCo have successfully achieved that goal.
While the ionicLife Cast technology brings benefits to the manufacturing process through safer, more durable cooling and a higher lifetime value, it also carries with it a slew of other features that give it an edge over competing products:
- The metallurgical bond between the copper tube and the high purity copper casting is enhanced by a eutectic phase which bonds the two components efficiently together.
- The entire cooling circuit is made from one piece of tube which is bent to shape. There are no welds that can result in cracks or leaks over time! An additional benefit of the smooth curves is a minimal pressure drop and a maximum flow of the cooling medium.
- WeCo copper coolers can be ordered with up to 100 % IACS – providing the absolute best thermal conductivity on the entire market.
- Copper in copper coolers can be manufactured with up to 4 cooling circuits in one cooler giving you the most efficient cooling and additional lifetime that you need in your furnace.
Where To From Here?
At Mettop, we can make and install these new copper coolers for your manufacturing needs at an affordable rate.
When ordering CFM coolers we work with your requested specifications, including the refractory casting and drying work. You receive a completely finished cooler ready to go and do not have to worry about logistics, refractory installation and drying specifications. On top of this, we can pour the refractory mix according to your specifications or you can rely on the experience of the refractory team at Mettop to choose the most suitable solution for you.
In short, we cover the entire range from designing cooler, thermal and fluid simulation within the cooling circuits as well as pattern making and producing high quality copper coolers. We offer a unique partnership that can create more value for your cooling needs.