Dotson Iron Castings

Dotson Iron Castings

Mankato, MN

This 136 year-old foundry needed to bring a new level of safety, automation, and energy savings to their operations. A new 9,000 square-foot addition was designed for a major melt expansion in order to bring full automation to its charging system and increase melt production capabilities by more than 30%. The fully automated charging system allows the entire melt system to be run by one operator while reducing charge variations.

Site access and maneuverability was a challenge due to limited space and constraints on the property, however the design maximized opportunities and resulted in efficient site access. The building addition provides a new location for raw steel to be unloaded and sorted. From there the steel is picked with a large overhead crane and magnet and is then delivered to furnaces for melting. New electric furnaces required a complex series of infrastructure systems with unique design solutions. A new raised platform and control area was designed to provide location for visual and remote control of furnaces, and charging cars which deliver the steel after it is placed by magnet. Residual heat from the furnaces are used to heat the building during the cold months by use of a water jacket system that is run through the furnaces and then pumped in radiant tubing through the concrete floors. During the warmer months, the extra heat is dissipated through cooling towers located on the roof of the addition.

Building foundation systems were designed on pilings to bedrock as the soils in the location are not suitable for bearing conditions. Monorail systems and support for monorails systems were included in the design as the monorails are used to carry the melted steel. Improved efficiencies in energy and automation have improved capacities and brought this industry leader to a new level of service and operation.

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