Machinery manufacturers are benefiting from the latest breakthroughs in laser scanning technology. It’s an industry that has been constrained by limitations. These limitations come from shape inspection and modelling methods. But 3D scanners are changing all that.
Casting is one of the oldest methods of making tools and just one of the methods that 3D laser technology has revolutionised. It has been used throughout human history, but as requirements changed, casting processes and castings inevitably became increasingly more sophisticated.
Three benefits of 3D scanning:
- High accuracy
- Great portability
- Much more speed
Casting techniques rely on molten material, usually metal. The molten material is poured into a cavity. Then in a mould that takes the shape of the finished object. The molten metal then cools, releasing heat through the mould until it solidifies in the appropriate shape. Casting, the metallurgy of molten metal, is often a difficult process.
There are two types of casting processes: Disposable moulds and permanent moulds. Permanent moulds are typically used to produce large quantities of products. They are also used when high accuracy and tight tolerances are required. Since the mould is reused in permanent moulding, it must be designed so that the casting can be easily removed.
As mentioned earlier, casting is also used for very complex parts. Designing such a mould for a complex part presents many challenges. Improving the quality and production of large castings is a high priority for machine manufacturers. Improving the quality and production of large castings is, therefore, a high priority for machine manufacturers.
Challenges of Traditional Casting
Improving the quality control processes and production of large castings is a high priority for machine manufacturers.
As mentioned above, casting is also used for very complex parts. Designing such a mould for a complex part presents many challenges. One challenge is the inspection of the manufactured parts. Parts must be inspected to determine if they conform to the design or if they meet tolerances. Such dimensions are especially important for complex machines.
Castings typically consist of heavy weights, large dimensions and complicated structures. As a result, manufacturers spend a great deal of time on inspections and quality control procedures to obtain conforming parts.
In addition, variations in the dimensions of castings are an inherent part of the manufacturing process. Because of these variations, it can be difficult to expect accurate dimensions throughout the production process.
The heat and hydraulic pressure of the molten metal being poured into the mould can cause the metal to contract, either during cooling or after post-casting heat treatment. Many factors can affect the quality of castings, and the example given is just one of them.
How 3D Scanning Solves These Problems
In both the design and testing phases, Trevilla‘s Reverse Engineers consider the critical part dimensions provided by the customer. We can then verify part dimensions using 3D laser scanning technology.
3D scanning technology is one of the non-destructive testing methods. By creating a digital copy of the part, an engineer can verify that the casting matches the designed part. 3D Laser Scanners have an accuracy of 0.03 mm. This contributes to the dimensional accuracy and casting quality of the parts produced.
All of this means that 3D scanners are a great way to quickly and accurately control the quality of manufactured parts without creating scrap.
Advantages of 3D Scanning Over Other Methods
Of course, other tools already exist to check the quality of parts. But 3D scanning technology has strong advantages over these. Laser scanners offer a number of advantages over more sophisticated measuring instruments such as Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs) and simpler instruments such as callipers and gauges. These advantages include measurement coverage, measurement speed and cost.
One of these technologies is the touch probe, which determines dimensions by touching the surface of the part with a very sensitive stylus. Touch probes are highly accurate. The number of points they can produce from a given object is limited, however.
Each data point generated by a probe requires a corresponding touch. In contrast, the width of a laser scanning strip can range from 300 mm to 400 mm, allowing the scanner to capture thousands of data points in a single pass.
One of the main advantages of laser scanning over touch is the ability to capture the entire surface of the part.
Probing measurements of highly curved or free-flowing areas provide relatively few useful data points. In addition, 3D laser scanners can travel much faster over homogeneous surfaces at higher tolerances.
We can scan anything, reverse-engineer it, and then update the computer program in a couple of minutes thanks to speedier processing processes.
It’s unlikely that probes will reach speeds of more than a few thousand points per second. While that’s a huge improvement over ten years ago, it’s still nowhere near the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of points per second that a laser scanner can capture.
Nothing beats a 3D laser scanner in terms of the number of data points captured. However, from an inspection standpoint, speed cannot be quantified simply by the number of data points captured. Ultimately, it comes down to the total time it takes to evaluate the quality of the part, and that is determined by your inspection application.
On the other hand, 3D laser scanning allows machine manufacturers to optimise the inspection process by providing accurate, high-resolution data. The benefits of using 3D laser scanners for inspection checks include accuracy, portability and speed.
With the changes that 3D scanning makes to your quality assurance processes, it will be much easier to apply reverse engineering methods. You will be able to measure the quality of the casting easily, quickly and correctly. Take the necessary actions to fix problems and improve efficiency.