QMT Features: April 2015
Cast iron certainty
Innovative scanning technology allows the inspection of complex castings at Benninger Guss

Sometimes the original documentation of parts that need to be cast is not available – a problem that many businesses now solve using modern scanning technology. Indeed, even when a drawing is available, 3D scanning technology can be used to validate potential geometric and dimensional deviation between the manufactured component and the original documentation. These results can then be used in consultation with the customer to define which geometry is correct.

In March 2013 Swiss foundry Benninger Guss AG started producing sand moulds on a 3D printer to use in the manufacture of castings for prototypes, replacement parts and production parts with specific geometrical requirements. In order to complete the manufacturing chain for replacement parts the investment also included the purchase of a Creaform’s HandySCAN 3D portable 3D scanner and software to carry out quality control on the reverse engineered  castings and sand cores.

This software allowed Benninger Guss to generate a completely parametric CAD data record of the part. This was important as it is necessary to simulate the casting process on this type of work as the pouring of the replacement part must be successful on the first attempt. Otherwise time delays and costs would not make this a viable solution.
The HandySCAN 3D from Creaform was chosen for a number of reasons including accuracy, maximum handling flexibility and the ability to scan on the move in a production environment. Also decisive were the fast starting up of the system and possibility of measuring a range of component sizes.

Mr.Jans, who is the team leader of Technical Model Assembly and in charge of the digital castings section at Benninger Guss AG, explains: “For the application mentioned above there is, in our view, no suitable alternative available on the market that meets our requirements.

“It is the purchase of a 3D scanner together with a 3D printer for sand casting that has made it possible for us to generate more turnovers in the replacement parts business for the. The advantage is quite obvious. Now we can handle tasks quickly that we would not have been able to carry out before by ourselves. As we inevitably have to work very closely with the customer when making replacement parts, an outsourcing solution was not advantageous.”

Mobile and Accurate 3D Measurements

Inspections for casting and forging require the acquisition of dimensions on parts of various shapes and complexity, potentially performed in any kind of environment. Due to its portability and versatility, the HandySCAN 3D can perform the acquisition of any part not only directly at foundry, but also at the customer’s premises, on the production floor or at the supplier’s location.

Quality inspectors or operators usually need to evaluate the physical part themselves using its corresponding digital model. Because of that, acquisition data must be accurate and the 3D model must include all the information needed for a complete inspection.

In casting and forging, raw parts are usually machined in particularly critical areas to produce the final component. So it is also important to carry out dimensional checks on the raw casting to make sure that there is enough metal to machine. A 3D scan allows operators to align the raw part on the machine and orient it so as to guarantee enough material for the operation. Moreover, time and money are saved because unqualified cast and forged parts will not be machined.

Creaform says that thanks to the integrated TRUaccuracy technology, the portable and self-positioning HandySCAN 3D Scanner delivers complete and accurate mesh files (.stl format) regardless of environmental conditions (e.g. instabilities, vibration, heat differences or suboptimal user skill).

It says that compared to traditional measurement methods, the HandySCAN 3D solution also helps save a considerable amount of time. The scanned data is documented in real time and is reproduced more easily than data resulting from visual inspection and manual testing devices.
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Rob Tremain Photographer
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