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October 11, 2021

How Castech reverse engineered and improved 1950s bogey frames

Mining Technology spoke to Allen Vaughan, General Manager at Castech, about one of the many examples of how the company has worked with a customer to produce specialised custom parts.

By Fred Heritage

Since its inception in 2003, Castech Solutions has grown to become a leading supplier of castings, forgings, and fabrications. With its range of qualified manufacturing partners and broad scope of capabilities, Castech has delivered quality components and assemblies to multiple industries across the globe.

Mining Technology spoke to Allen Vaughan, General Manager at Castech, about one of the many examples of how the company has worked with a customer to produce specialised custom parts.

V/Line Bombardier Transportation approached Castech and requested that the company reverse engineer Bogie Frames from the original and manufacture replacements for a fleet of its passenger carriages.

According to Vaughan: “This was an interesting project, because it was for passenger rail vehicles that were using technology from the 1950s. These trains were used for travelling into rural Australia, rather than in the cities. So, they were very old vehicles.

“These trains have been modified over the years but always on the same chassis (or bogey frame), so they were just fatiguing. There was then a derailment, and they tracked it back to the fact that one of these chassis had failed.”

Due to the age of the bogey frames, Bombardier Transportation did not have the original designs. To reverse engineer the frames, Castech laser scanned the part and then created a 3D model. From this, they created 2D drawings and ascertained the specifications.

“We created all of the manufacturing documentation that was necessary for the manufacturer of these components. Once that was all done, and was signed off by their engineers, they went out for tender,” Vaughan explains.

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Following this, Castech won the tender to supply the components. According to Vaughan, it was the most difficult project that the company had undertaken so far. “It was the most complex casting we’ve ever made. Even to the point of transporting the products because they wouldn’t fit inside of a 20-foot container. We had to load them into containers on their own at an angle, and we had to design frames to load the castings into.

“The technologies involved had obviously moved forward an awful lot. In the 1950s, the specification was probably looser on these castings, because that’s what they did back then. That was the level of quality they could ensure. Also, they didn’t have the equipment or the instrumentation that we have now to be able to test parts. By the end, the customer was getting a much better quality of product, simply because the standards have moved so far in that period.”

Part of Castech’s unique offering is leveraging its expertise to find the best solution for its customers. At the time of the project, Castech was a team of 12 staff in Australia and another 12 in China, already supporting the needs of engineering giants Bombardier Transportation.

As for the future, Castech’s proven capabilities and trusted partnership with Bombardier Transportation will continue to lead to new and exciting ventures.

“Bombadier put this project out for tender, but they already knew they wanted to work with us. It was just a formality. If you do a good job initially, then you’re their trusted partner, and they’re much more likely to stick with you,” Vaughan adds.

“There are very few companies around that can understand the whole project. There are many wonderful engineers in the industry, but there are few companies that can go from the design stage right through to manufacturing and testing and bring all that together for the smaller bespoke projects. There’s not many of those around.”

To find out more about Castech’s capabilities and services, and what the company can do for your project, download the whitepaper below.

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