Latest from Simulation/IT

Messe Dusseldorf
Each mold and core element of the aluminum alloy, twin-turbo V12 engine was designed, simulated, and produced for prototype testing.

Test, Cast, and Go Fast

Nov. 4, 2016
Grainger & Worrall Ltd. worked with Aston Martin to develop the power plant for the luxury automaker’s first turbocharged sports car Aluminum alloy blocks, heads Precision sand casting 3D printing cores, molds

With the heightened awareness that quality control principles have spawned in manufacturing, it is a rare foundry that has not adopted one or more of the standard methods for inspecting finished castings: visual inspection, hydrostatic pressure testing, magnetic particle inspection, ultrasonic testing, dye penetrant inspection, or radiography (or even computed tomography/aka CT scanning.) Each has particular strengths and advantages, depending on the casting buyers’ needs or expectations.

Big Data entered the QC picture long ago, and now it presents a front-door approach to eliminating defects – via process simulation.

Now, the most advanced foundries will incorporate their technological resources and data analysis to develop new work orders. Aston Martin, a marquee name in automotive engineering and craftsmanship, is the beneficiary of such an integrated approach to design and quality control by Grainger & Worrall Ltd., one of Great Britain’s most consistently recognized sources of excellence in metalcasting design. 

Earlier this year Aston Martin confirmed Grainger & Worrall as its preferred engine castings supplier for the new DB11, a luxury sports car powered by a newly developed 5,204-cc, twin-turbo V12 engine. It is the first turbocharged vehicle Aston Martin has developed for series production. Unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Auto Show, the DB11 is in production now at Aston Martin’s assembly plant in Graydon, England.

At the heart of the new sports car is a new 5.2-liter twin turbocharged V12 engine that the automaker claims is “the cleanest, most fuel efficient, powerful, and fastest accelerating model” it has ever developed and installed in its vehicles. Drawing on skills and technology developed by Grainger & Worrall in its work with Formula 1 race teams and other high-performance automotive brands, the foundry worked with Aston Martin’s engineers to develop the lightweight, yet powerful, engine.

Aluminum alloy engine blocks and cylinder heads are produced in a dedicated, precision sand casting program at the foundry in Shropshire, England.  Grainger & Worrall (or GW) is a family-owned business with over 500 employees, and proud to be an emblem of British engineering and industrial skill. It exports over 55% of its products, and the foundry also notes that it invests significantly in process and product research and development.

“GW’s precision sand casting process, developed specifically for the engine’s manufacture, delivers accurate, high-integrity parts with increased design freedom,” explained Edward Grainger, managing director of prototypes. “Utilizing the latest real time X-ray and CT scanning capabilities in parallel ensures exacting and reliable quality in the development process.”

As part of the extensive development process, Grainger & Worrall designed complex sand cores and structures that it produced using 3D sand printing. This fulfilled and confirmed the extensively iterated CAD programs developed by the design team. Each individual part was produced and validated prior to the start of series production.

Now, in addition to supplying engine castings for series production, Grainger & Worrall provides rigorous in-process inspection together and individual part identity, ensuring full product traceability.

The engines are assembled at Aston Martin’s plant in Cologne, Germany. The twin-turbo, 48-valve, V12 power plants meet the most stringent emission and fuel consumption requirements, and still delivers the advanced level of power and performance that is expected of the brand.

“Aston Martin is a great British success story across the globe and acts as a superb ambassador for U.K. engineering,” Edward Grainger continued. “We are delighted to be a part of this very special and desirable sports car, which has been described as the ‘true 21st century Aston Martin’.”