Page 11 - GlobalEyes Edition 3 Jun 2011

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One recent example
was a key component on a
heavy road transport vehicle.
Historically plagued by hot
tearing, manufacture of the
bracket has constantly
necessitated a substantial
amount of rework, particularly
weld repair. Methods
engineers identified the root
cause of these issues as an
incompatibility between the
product design and the
casting methods. The solution
called for some redesign,
which involved the Bradken
product development team
and the customer as well.
The first challenge was the
customer drawings, which, due
to their age, did not accurately
reflect the manufactured
component. The product
development team was
engaged to reverse-engineer
the existing bracket (using Faro
Arm, laser scanning, and CAD)
to produce a 3D model for the
methods engineers to use for
their solidification analyses.
For many years the Industrial
division of Bradken has
manufactured a vast array
of cast brackets, frames and
fixtures for global mining and
heavy transport OEMs.
Many of these castings
were designed and methods-
engineered long before the
introduction of 3D CAD
modelling and solidification
simulation capabilities, both of
which are now commonplace
at Bradken.
The pre-3D technology
designs and casting methods
often offer many ways for
Bradken to improve the end
product for the customer, and
continually striving to enhance
the relationship that Bradken
has with its OEM customers.
Such efforts are usually highly
advantageous to both parties.
From the OEM’s point of view,
these castings are typically
critical structural members that
must be manufactured to high
levels of quality and soundness.
Any product that has a high
rework or reject rate is
detrimental to Bradken’s
manufacturing efficiency,
and adds unnecessary costs
to our processes. Benefits
such as yield improvements or
component weight reductions
are gained on some products,
resulting in increased viability.
The product development
team and foundry methods
engineering teams have been
working together with the
customers to identify those
products where design and
casting method improvement
will yield the most benefit.
Once candidate products
have been selected we
collaboratively determine
and implement solutions
that improve the quality of the
cast product, simultaneously
improving foundry efficiency.
More challenges were met
in the form of resistance to
design changes from the
customer. Subsequent
negotiations involved
submitting 3D models
incorporating the proposed
changes to the customer
so that they could conduct
clearance studies with their
vehicle models.
After all issues were resolved,
the customer approved the
proposed design changes.
Bradken is now able to supply
the customer with a more
robust, sound casting that
does not require welding
rework. In doing so, Bradken
has improved the working
relationship we have with the
customer, and been able to
increase internal production
efficiency and quality.