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Providing Value With 3-D Scanning


One case study shows how 3-D scanning can trim lead times by quickly developing tooling for complex castings while ensuring dimensional accuracy. GLENN MCQUARTER, BAY CAST INC., BAY CITY, MICHIGAN


A


casting buyer needed a large, curved compo- nent as part of a new project, but the design’s


size (1,200 lbs.) and curved shape presented specific challenges that severely limited the available methods of manufacturing. Not only that, the turn-around time for the project was relatively short. Te customer approached Bay Cast


Inc., Bay City, Mich., which special- izes in heavy-sectioned castings and large-format machining services. Tis specific project highlighted


how metalcasters can provide added value with 3-D scanning as a method of ensuring the accuracy of first article castings and minimizing tooling work. Te customer needed 16 large castings in a 1030 steel alloy, including 10 large elbows (1,200-lb. castings with a maximum envelope size of 132 x 58 x 15 in. and a maximum wall thickness of 1.44 in.) and six small elbows (500- lb. castings with a maximum envelope size of 93 x 42 x 8 in. and maximum wall thickness of 1.12 in.). 3-D scanning involves the use of a three-dimensional data acquisition


device to acquire X, Y and Z coordi- nates (or points) from the surface of a physical object. Te conglomeration of these points, known as a point cloud, then can be used to create a 3-D mesh and, eventually, a solid model in vari- ous CAD formats. Tese models then can be used in inspection, analysis, rapid manufacturing and reverse engi- neering efforts. Te customer initially pursued cast- ing the parts, which were part of a new project, because of the difficult design. Te only other viable method for pro- duction required rolling and shaping approximately 18 individuals pieces and then welding them together. Cast- ing this component as a single part had the potential to lower costs and reduce lead times, as long as they could be cast to the desired shape.


Capabilities & Concerns Timing on this particular project


was critical because these castings were part of larger fabrication assemblies. Figure 1 shows the elbow piece in its final application. Bay Cast’s engineer- ing department, with a minimum amount of experience with these cast-


ings’ geometry at the time, had major concerns about casting this particular project: •Will parts with this much surface area and so little weight encounter a restraint to contraction on the large open sides?


• Can the length of the longest over- all dimension be held to a consis- tent tolerance?


Fig. 1. The component is a critical curved edge in a larger fabrication.


November 2015 MODERN CASTING | 43


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