Foundry Automation: the Role of Robotics

Foundry automation refers to the application of advanced technologies and robotics to automate various processes within a foundry. Foundries are industrial facilities where metal casting takes place, and automation plays a crucial role in improving efficiency, productivity, and safety in these environments.

Foundry Automation:

Foundry automation refers to the application of advanced technologies and robotics to automate various processes within a foundry. Foundries are industrial facilities where metal casting takes place, and automation plays a crucial role in improving efficiency, productivity, and safety in these environments.

Image of Foundry Automation
Image of Foundry Automation/ image credit iStock

Robots play a significant and crucial role in foundry automation, and some common applications of robots in foundry automation include;

Material Handling:

Automation systems in foundries can handle heavy materials, such as raw metal, moulds, and finished castings, using robotic arms, conveyors, and automated guided vehicles (AGVs). These systems can transport materials between different stages of the production process, including loading and unloading materials from furnaces, moving moulds, and transferring finished castings to various areas.

Moulding and Core Making:

Automation can be applied to the moulding and core-making processes in foundries. Robotic systems can handle sand, binders, and other materials to create moulds and cores with complex shapes and patterns. Automated processes ensure consistency, accuracy, and faster production rates.

Pouring and Casting:

Automation can be employed in the pouring and casting operations within foundries. Robotic systems equipped with ladles can pour molten metal into moulds with precision and consistency, reducing the risk of defects and improving the quality of castings. Automated systems can also control the timing and rate of pouring, ensuring optimal results.

Grinding, Deburring, and Finishing:

Automation plays a significant role in post-casting processes such as grinding, deburring, and finishing. Robots can be programmed to handle these tasks, ensuring consistent and precise removal of excess material, smoothing rough surfaces, and achieving the desired final product.

Inspection and Quality Control:

Automation systems can integrate various inspection techniques such as vision systems, sensors, and non-destructive testing methods to inspect castings for defects, dimensions, and surface quality. Automated inspection processes improve accuracy, speed, and repeatability, ensuring high-quality products.

Data Management and Integration:

Automation in foundries involves integrating various equipment, machines, and systems. Data management and integration technologies facilitate the exchange of information, coordination between different processes, and real-time monitoring of production parameters. This enables efficient decision-making and optimization of the entire production workflow.

Safety and Ergonomics:

Automation systems can enhance safety and ergonomics in foundries by replacing workers in hazardous or physically demanding tasks. Robots can handle heavy loads, work in high-temperature environments, and perform repetitive tasks, reducing the risk of accidents and improving worker well-being.

The benefits of foundry automation include increased productivity, improved product quality, reduced labour costs, enhanced worker safety, and optimized resource utilization. Automation allows foundries to streamline their operations, increase efficiency, and remain competitive in the global manufacturing landscape.

Types of robots used in foundry automation

In foundry automation, different types of robots are employed to fulfil specific tasks and requirements. Here are some common types of robots used in foundry automation:

1. Articulated Robots: Articulated robots consist of multiple rotary joints, mimicking the movement of a human arm. They offer high flexibility and a wide range of motion, making them suitable for various tasks in foundry automation. These robots can handle material transportation, perform complex assembly operations, and execute precise movements required for tasks like pouring molten metal or grinding and finishing operations.

2. SCARA Robots: SCARA (Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm) robots have a parallel arm structure and are often used for applications that require fast and precise movements in a horizontal plane. In foundries, SCARA robots can be employed for tasks such as material handling, pick-and-place operations, and assembly of components.

3. Cartesian Robots: Cartesian robots, also known as gantry robots, operate on a three-linear-axis system (X, Y, and Z). They provide high accuracy and are commonly used for handling heavy loads and large workpieces in foundries. Cartesian robots are suitable for tasks such as loading and unloading heavy moulds, transferring castings, and working on stationary workstations.

Image of Cartician Robot/
Image of Cartician Robot/ credit Assembly magazine

4. Delta Robots: Delta robots are designed for high-speed and precision applications. They consist of three arms connected to a common base, allowing them to move quickly and precisely in a limited workspace. In foundries, delta robots can be utilized for tasks such as picking and placing small components, sorting and inspection operations, and precise movements in confined spaces.

5. Collaborative Robots (Cobots): Cobots are designed to work alongside humans, offering safe interaction and collaboration. In foundry environments, cobots can assist workers in tasks that require human skill and decision-making, such as part inspection, assembly, or quality control. They can also be equipped with sensors and vision systems to enhance safety and perform intricate tasks.

6. Mobile Robots: Mobile robots are autonomous or semi-autonomous robots that can move independently within the foundry environment. They are equipped with sensors, navigation systems, and mapping capabilities to transport materials, tools, or finished products between different areas of the foundry. Mobile robots can optimize material flow, reduce manual transport, and improve overall efficiency.

7. Vision-Guided Robots: Vision systems are often integrated with robots in foundry automation. These systems use cameras and image processing algorithms to provide visual feedback to the robot, enabling tasks such as part identification, quality inspection, and precise positioning.

Image of Vision Guided Robotics
Image of Vision Guided Robotics/ Quality Magazine

The choice of robot type depends on the specific requirements of the foundry, including the nature of the tasks, payload capacity, reach, accuracy, and the desired level of automation. A combination of different robot types may be used to create an integrated automation system that optimizes productivity and efficiency within the foundry environment


Robotics plays a very crucial and essential role in foundry automation. As discussed Foundries are industrial facilities where metal casting takes place and needs specialization and safety. Automation plays a pivotal role in improving efficiency, productivity, and safety in these environments. Different types of robots are used in the industrial sectors for increasing the productivity and safety of human workers.

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