UK-based Tridan Engineering traditionally takes 8 to 10 weeks to go through design, testing, and
Two complex castings make up the rear axle assembly – a cover and
“With every batch of castings machined for Ricardo, we have to supply a first article inspection report (FAIR) detailing all critical dimensions on the part,” says Paul Coupland, machine shop manager at
“Ricardo Performance Products was having problems in the testing of a rear axle for a rally car that we had manufactured on previous occasions,” Coupland explains. “The issue was one of design/strength, so they needed a new beefed-up axle to test. A project like this would normally take 8 to 10 weeks as we would arrange meetings with the customer, offer design-for manufacture recommendations to help remove cost, prepare
The quick turnaround time forced
“On our 5-axis machines, we use Renishaw RMP600 high-precision probes, which enable us to balance the cover castings accurately on the first operation,” Coupland says. “That way, we can guarantee to Ricardo that the holes and features are where they need them to be. Similarly, on the
When machining a casting, it is imperative to create a datum or some other point from which to work. By setting the position and alignment of the casting using Renishaw machine tool probe technology, Tridan engineers ensure the machining process automatically adapts to any variation in stock condition. The work coordinate system is automatically aligned to each part. Optimal part setup guarantees that no shortage of material (undercut) will occur during machining.
“The meat of the casting has to be in the right place,” Coupland says.
The process requires a measurement data set of the blank casting to be aligned to the position and orientation of datum and machined features, which is where the Renishaw probes come into play. Probing can maximize the efficiency, quality, capability, and accuracy of machine tools. Standard routines built into modern CNC controls simplify the integration of probing cycles into machining operations.
After separate machining of the cover and main case components, the two parts are bolted together and machined as an assembly on
“Accuracy is the main reason we use Renishaw technology,” Coupland states. “I don’t think we could do half of what we do without their probes. Furthermore, as a company Renishaw is very supportive, although to be honest, we’ve never had to call on their service department – the products simply don’t go wrong.”
The ability to align the castings accurately and
Tridan employees collaborated with Ricardo’s team and worked overtime to machine and test axle parts, delivering the updated rear axle to the customer at 10 a.m. the day before the scheduled test.