Measuring for Success

Ensuring that the products we make here in the foundry continually comply with their specified tolerances is a constant challenge. To help ensure a consistent level of quality, we use four Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs). These allow us to precisely measure parts against 3D CAD models and customer drawings. Two are located within the foundry itself, and a further two in a separate room adjacent to our machine shop.

Over the years, as parts have become more complex, so have the requirements for Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T). CMMs enable us to complete this process faster than traditional methods and allows for quicker batch or repeat measurements of parts, while maintaining constant levels of high accuracy.

In-house quality control

In addition to ensuring compliance with customer and industry requirements, we also use Statistical Process Control (SPC) to measure and control the quality of our parts during our manufacturing process. Monitoring this data allows us to detect trends early and prevent concerns before they develop, as each dimension on every part can be tracked and plotted.

SPC Data on a Chart

An example of an SPC chart showing the tolerance tracking over time.

 

Over the years, CastAlum has grown from having six high-pressure die casting cells, to now eleven cells, plus another three squeeze casting machines, and a machining centre. Our SPC data enables us to check for any dimensional variations across both our casting and machining cells. This is especially invaluable when we have multiple cells producing the same parts.

‘As cast’ parts are required to maintain tolerance typically between +/- 0.25mm and +/- 0.8mm. Machine shop can be as tight as 0.008mm for diameters and roundness or 0.025mm for true position.

Best in class equipment and support

Our CMMs range from a bed length of 1 metre to 2.5 metres. This range enables us to measure a multitude of part sizes. Plus, with automatic tool changers, tool changes are performed on the fly while the measuring program is running. This allows us to choose the most suitable probe for the measurement process.

The wide range of skills and equipment we possess in-house means we can design and manufacture our CMM fixtures onsite. This gives us better accessibility to the setup we need and allows us to decide and tweak features such as part orientation until they are optimal.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of other specialists in this field. All four of our CMMs are supplied by Hexagon Metrology, who are based within an hour’s drive of the foundry. Our probes and changes for the foundry CMMs are supplied by Renishaw, while the machine shop CMMs are provided by Hexagon Metrology.

If you’d like to know more about our capabilities or processes then get in touch by emailing info@castalum.com or using the chat function here on the website!

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