Foundrax, the world’s leading specialists in Brinell hardness testing, has just shipped a second bespoke system for the intricate inspection of automotive suspension components to a full-service supplier of aluminium and plastic automotive solutions in Mexico.
The leading supplier of high-quality automotive parts that include aluminium powertrain, structural and transmission components have international automotive manufacturers across the world. Last year, they commissioned Foundrax to address a complex requirement to test suspension parts being produced for a prestigious German car manufacturer.
Pioneers in Brinell hardness testing equipment, Foundrax design and manufacture all their own equipment to deliver the highest standards of reliability and repeatability. They are also one of the only companies in the world to offer custom built solutions. This made them the perfect partner for the automotive supplier’s intricate component testing requirement, one that other standard hardness testers on the market simply couldn’t match.
The challenge was that the hardness test location as specified by the car manufacturer was in an extremely tight space, hemmed in on three sides by vertical sections and almost no test area to work with. As many of these parts are hollow, there is no other position which would be strong enough to allow for a reliable test.
After discussing the options both remotely and on site with the customer, Foundrax solved this challenge by developing a uniquely customised BRIN400B; a rugged, shop floor Brinell hardness tester with customised automatic Brinell microscope to carry out fully automatic indentation and hardness measurement without operator influence on the test or the results.
This robust and reliable machine was designed with custom features in the form of an extended indenter in order to access the restricted space and an external BRINtronic microscope with a special narrow nose to enable the customer to measure their indentations. This meant the customer could test exactly where the automotive manufacturer required rather than having to ask for a dispensation to test elsewhere and Foundrax’s solution proved to be a great success.
Ultimately, the part design specification effects optimum performance of the vehicle’s suspension. If the material is too hard, the part cracks, too soft and the material bends; so, in either scenario, this is a safety critical test of the component material.
Following the successful application of the first machine, the automotive parts supplier went back to Foundrax with an even more complex shaped part to measure. Foundrax commissioned a second system with a bespoke configuration to enable the customer to test in very awkward locations that ensured the highest quality and structural integrity of the suspension component.
Alex Austin, Foundrax MD said; “We’re delighted we could fulfil the customer’s requirements. We are always open to making changes to equipment or to making special purpose machines. Our job is to solve the problem and, if required, to give our customers a bespoke product that addresses their need, not simply give them an off the shelf, one-size-fits all, solution.”
Offering custom solution components is one of Foundrax’s core USPs and they have done it all over the world, including customers in China, Russia, India, USA and throughout Europe. A modular product design means they can design and build to a customer’s exact requirements.
The machines are now being used at this Mexican site as an integral part of the production process in two areas of the factory for quality testing prior to shipping.
Foundrax was founded in 1948 with over 70 years of foundry, forge and steelworks experience. They provide hardness testing solutions to customers in 46 countries worldwide and also serve the aerospace, power generation, leisure and construction industries.