Founded in 1991, Alphacasting has quickly become a worldwide leader in precision investment casting, pouring more than 120 different types of alloys, including aluminium, stainless steel, carbon steel, bronze, titanium and other exotic alloys.

The company specialises in the production of innovative and modern castings for a variety of different industries, including transport and aerospace. Alphacasting has carved an enviable reputation for the quality, precision, reliability, compliance and on-time delivery of all the casting projects it works on with clients. It is through its commitment to high standards that Alphacasting has perfected a rigorous quality control system to inspect all the parts it produces.

The challenge

Alphacasting uses traditional tools, such as conventional fixed co-ordinate measuring machines (CMMs), X-ray inspection systems, callipers and fixtures, to perform quality control inspections on the parts it manufactured. However, according to Steven Kennerknecht, Head of Engineering for Alphacasting, getting good information quickly on every occasion a part needed to be inspected was difficult at best.

In particular, for the development of a recent aluminium casting for the lube and scavenge pump on the passport engine for Bombardier’s Global Express ultra-long-range business jet series, quality control processes were to last several months, entailing multiple iterations to correct elements of the manufacturing process and produce the part precisely according to specifications. With so many iterations, a new approach had to be found in order to shorten the development time and ensure impeccable part quality.

“It is important to take measurements of each iteration during the development of a new casting,” explained Kennerknecht. “Particularly one as highly complex as this one, to better understand the impact of previous changes and determine what modifications need to be made for the next iteration.”

How Creaform stepped up to the plate

The time-consuming setup, slowness and lack of high-quality information with traditional methods was just not going to cut it. Consequently, Alphacasting turned to Creaform’s 3D scanners and metrology services for the Bombardier project. The company uses the HandySCAN 700, a metrology-grade handheld scanner developed specifically for discerning manufacturers looking to perform highly accurate and reliable inspections in industries such as aerospace where impeccable quality control cannot be compromised.

Moreover, Alphacasting worked closely with Creaform’s experienced 3D metrology services team to carry out the surface inspections.

“The team used the HandySCAN 3D to scan the entire casting very quickly,” said Kennerknecht. “Having 100% of the surface and the inspection report was so vital for us to understand the changes to be made and also to make sure there is enough material before machining. The quality of the scanned data enabled us to make better decisions and reduce development time.”

Moreover, the professionalism and expertise of Creaform’s 3D metrology services team did not go unnoticed.

“They provided the quality information we needed on time,” added Kennerknecht. “We were impressed not only by how fast the set-up, scanning and reporting time was, but also with their knowhow in getting the scanning done right, the first time.”

Hi-Tech Metrology, the Australian distributor for Creaform products, is fully equipped with demonstration equipment and application specialists ready to evaluate and recommend solutions to any 3D scanning and inspection need.