Steve Roberts, Quality Director, Alloy Heat Treatment.
Alloy Heat Treatment are the biggest sub contract heat treater of aluminium alloys in the UK, serving sectors including aerospace, automotive, power generation, leisure, and construction. Alloy Heat Treatment have a large number of prime customer approvals including Leonardo Helicopters, Airbus, Safran, Boeing, and BAE Systems to name a few. They are accredited to heat treat to these Prime’s specifications and often work as a trusted supplier to other companies that deal direct with them. Alloy Heat Treatment are proud to have BAE systems and Leonardo as direct customers but generally, manufacturers and machinists will send components for heat treatment directly to AHT and then supply back in to the Primes post treatment.
Part of the Prime specifications dictate that Brinell hardness testing is carried out prior to releasing the components.
Steve please can you tell us why you settled on the Foundrax BRINtronic automatic Brinell microscope?
For Alloy Heat Treatments, moving over to the BRINtronic was due to an efficiency drive. Part of the release process for aluminium alloys is that we must do conductivity and hardness testing on every job that leaves us. As such we were looking at ways that we could gain efficiencies in this process. Using the BRINtronic from Foundrax has allowed us to gain these efficiencies.
Looking at competitors, where do you see our strengths and weaknesses with our prices and support process?
We did have a look at other pieces of kit, one of the problems we needed to solve with equipment selection is that the microscope must get into quite intricate places, all the other microscopes we looked at have wide noses on them so, the design of the Foundrax scope was right up our street. We’ve used the manual Foundrax microscopes for as long as I’ve been here.
We weren’t terribly impressed with the competitive equipment we tried. The ergonomics of the BRINtronic are far superior. Obviously, the usability of the BRINtronic suited us, because we could get it into the places that we would struggle with using the competitor’s equipment. The process of measuring was far easier with the Foundrax BRINtronic as with the others we had to try and hold it with both hands and press buttons. They weren’t particularly well balanced either so in practice we were losing efficiencies rather than gaining them. The other advantage we found with Foundrax is your software, it allows us to produce automatic reports as an Excel file, although we haven’t taken full advantage of this facility yet. We found it far simpler on the BRINtronic than the competitor’s to generate these automatic reports.