Firm helps push boundaries of aluminium casting

Posted on 3 Aug 2016 by Jonny Williamson

Sarginsons Industries has used its sand and low pressure casting expertise to help an aerospace student deliver a final year project that pushes the boundaries of aluminium casting and aerospace technology.

L to R: David Hayden (Sarginsons Industries), Tim Squires (Squires Gear & Engineering - who helped with post-manufacture work) and Saif Arif.
L to R: David Hayden (Sarginsons Industries), Tim Squires (Squires Gear & Engineering – who helped with post-manufacture work) and Saif Arif.

Sarginsons Industries was approached by Coventry University student, Saif Arif to sandcast a bell crank component for a control column to connect wings on military Harrier aircraft.

The 23-year-old re-designed the bell crank to demonstrate the component could be stronger and more efficient by hollowing out the product.

Sarginsons has a particular expertise in light-weighting automotive components and came to the student’s aid by designing a solution that allowed a totally hollow aluminium casting to be delivered.

Using design software to optimise the component, Arif explored whether it could be CNC machine; however, it became clear that wasn’t an option.

Arif explained: “I thought outside the box and started approaching local manufacturing companies.

“Sandcasting was one of my initial ideas as it seemed to accommodate this complex design and I’d heard of Sarginsons, researched the company and called them.

“I was seeing a dead end and needed some help, and thankfully Sarginsons was happy to help with the project and it went from there. There were a few adjustments which I had to make to the original design, but then Sarginsons worked their magic and that was that.”

After conducting real time casting simulations with its Magma software, Sarginsons was able to refine the design and manufacture a product that was 33% lighter than other aerospace bell cranks – helping Arif to attain a first class mark.

To Sarginsons’ knowledge this is the first time modern hollow casting technology has been used in a Harrier jump jet and represents a whole new area of enterprise for the company.

Sarginsons Industries’ David Hayden commented: “Sarginsons has extremely strong links with academia as we currently work on R&D projects with six universities on behalf of a range of automotive companies, and we welcomed the opportunity to support one of Coventry University’s brightest aerospace students.

“We were impressed with Saif’s ingenuity and application and the component we helped him produce ended up being five-times stronger than the original, and much lighter too. We congratulate him on his success and wish him all the best in his career.”