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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Austcast
Cleaner Production Demonstration Project

Table of Contents

Pouring molten metal into moulds

Executive Summary

1.0 Review of Austcast's Operations

2.0 Planning and Organisation of Austcast's Cleaner Production Project

2.1 Approach to Cleaner Production at Austcast
2.2 Cleaner Production Opportunities at Austcast
      2.2.1 Sand Reclamation
      2.2.2 Improvement in Sand Quality
      2.2.3 Trial of New Resins
      2.2.4 Improved Recycling of Solid Waste Materials

3.0 Cleaner Production Initiatives

3.1 Sand Reclamation Project
      3.1.1 Detailed Evaluation of Opportunity
      3.1.2 Project Implementation
      3.1.3 Results

4.0 Review of Project

5.0 Concluding Remarks

6.0 Austcast's Perspective

List of Tables

Table 1 Preliminary Economic Assessment of the Long Term Project

Table 2 Preliminary Economic Assessment of the Short Term Project

List of Figures

Figure 1 Excisting Sand Reclamation System

Figure 2 Proposed (Long Term) Sand Reclamation System

Figure 3 Proposed (Short Term) Sand Reclamation System

List of Appendices

Appendix A Reclamation Reference Papers

Appendix B Manufacturers of Reclamation Equipment


Executive Summary

The Cleaner Production Demonstration Project (the Project) is an initiative of Environment Australia - Environment Protection Group (EPG). The aim of the Project was to raise the awareness of Australian industry and actively promote cleaner production issues. This was to be achieved by conducting ten successful cleaner production demonstration projects in industry around Australia, documenting the benefits and experiences of the project, and publicising the results to wider industry. Dames & Moore, were engaged as technical consultants on the project. The project commenced in June 1994, and ran for 27 months.

Austcast was selected as one of the 10 companies to participate in the Cleaner Production Demonstration Project to participate in the project. This case study report presents a record of the progress of the project, from initial meeting to project completion, and detail the findings of the project and any problems which may have been encountered. This case study demonstrates the application of Cleaner Production to the foundry industry.

Austcast is the foundry division of Cutting Edges Pty Ltd, a division of Delta Group Australia. Austcast operates in Brisbane, Queensland, manufacturing high integrity, small to medium sized repetition steel, SG iron and other iron castings. The company uses Alkaline Phenolic binding resins with silica sands for their moulds and cores.

An initial "review" of the site, conducted by Dames & Moore and Energetics in close discussion with Austcast's personnel identified a number of Cleaner Production demonstration projects as being potentially applicable to Austcast's operations. These projects included investigations into the following:

Follow up site visits and meetings between Dames & Moore, Borden Chemicals(Resin suppliers), Casting Development Centre (CDC) and Austcast evaluated the environmental and economic costs and benefits associated with each of the potential cleaner production projects.

The Sand Reclamation project was selected as the demonstration project as it was an area of major interest throughout the foundry industry. It has the potential for sand reclamation to provide significant environmental and economic benefit, with an expected short payback period on capital investment.

The initial sand reclamation project proposed involved the installation of the following components:

The installation of this equipment would increase the excisting rate of sand reclamation from 20% to 90%. This would decrease the annual quantity of used sand disposed to landfill sites by 5,000 tonnes, with a subsequent saving of $270,000 in each year of operation and a return of the capital investment cost within a period of 4.1 years.

This project was not implemented because at the time, Austcast could not commit the large capital outlay required in an uncertain economic environment. Therefore a second short term project was proposed.

The short term sand reclamation project proposed included the following components:

The installation of this equipment would ensure that the excisting reclamation equipment could be utilised during the twenty weeks of summer. This would decrease the annual quantity of used sand disposed to landfill sites by 400 tonnes, with a subsequent saving of $23,000 in each year of operation and a return of the capital investment cost within a period of 4.3 years.

Although this project was not implemented during the time-span of the Project, the study reinforced that sand reclamation represented an economically viable, environmentally pro-active option to Austcast.

The critical lesson learnt from this project, in relation to foundry sand reclamation is that solutions are site specific. Each facility must research and investigate a sand reclamation system to suit the individual circumstances and needs of its operations.

This project reflects some of the difficulties in implementing Cleaner Production projects involving capital expenditure under economic uncertainties. This is particularly the case for small to medium companies which are especially vulnerable to economic conditions. Small to medium companies are also limited to the amount of capital available to invest and many projects (including those externally imposed) affect the ability to implement Cleaner Production projects regardless of the projected environmental and economic benefits.

1.0 Review of Austcast's Operations


Update

Austcast has continued to benefit from these initiatives. As a Demonstration Project this case study  has been maintained in its original form.

Contact

Gus Rissman
Austcast
Holland St
Northgate, Qld 4013 
Ph: 61 7 3266 0500
Fax: 61 7 3266 7208
Date of implementation: 1994-1996
Date of further initiatives: Ongoing.
Case study prepared: 1997 by Dames & Moore (URS) and Energetics. 
Date last reviewed: May 2001.