Developing and Manufacturing To Aluminum Extrusion Parts
The aluminum extrusion process involves forcing an aluminum alloy through a die. It is useful for product design and manufacturing since demand has increased over the years. The products made from this process have many applications. Industries that benefit include the automotive, aerospace, electronics, and architectural industry. Here is a guide to the process in steps and types of achievable finishes.
What’s The Aluminum Extrusion Process?
Preparation of Extrusion Die
First, we machine a round-shaped die from H13 steel. Alternatively, if a die is already available that suits your specification, we can use that instead. This even saves on the lead time needed to make one. Then before extrusion, we preheat the die to about 450 to 500 degrees. This will help prolong the life of the die and guarantee even metal flow. Once preheated, we load into the extrusion press ready to begin.
Preheating of an Aluminum Billet
A billet is a cylindrical solid block of aluminum alloy. We cut from a longer piece of alloy log. We preheat it in an oven at 400 to 500 degrees Celsius. This makes it malleable enough for extrusion. However, we do not achieve a molten state to safeguard the equipment.
Extrusion Transfer to The Billet
We mechanically transfer the preheated billet to the extrusion press. This is after the application of a release agent or lubricant. It prevents the sticking together of the ram and billet.
Ram Pushing Billet Material into A Container
A hydraulic ram pushes the malleable billet once loaded into the press. It does this by applying up to 15000 tons of pressure. This forces the material to expand and fit in the container’s walls.
The emergence of Extruded Material Through the Die
The material becomes pressed against the extrusion die while filling the container. Continuous pressure forces the aluminum material through the die opening(s). This is because it has no other escape route. Thus, it will emerge after fully-forming the die’s opening shape.
Guiding The Extrusions Along with the Runout Table for Quenching
Once the aluminum extrusion comes out of the die, a puller grips and guides it along with the runout table. The speed, however, must match the exit speed of the press. Its rate depends on the profile difficulty, wall thickness, part weight, and aluminum alloy selection. While the extrusion moves along the table, we quench it uniformly using either a water bath or fans.
Shearing The Extrusions at Table Length
We shear the extrusion after achieving the full table length. A hot saw does this to separate it from the extrusion process. However, even after quenching, the extrusion is not cool enough yet for further processing. This requires an extra step.
Cooling Extrusions at Room Temperature
We transfer the cut sections to a cooling table. Here, the profiles cool until they achieve room temperature. This will allow for stretching of the made extrusions later.
Moving and Stretching Extrusion into Alignment
The extrusion process sometimes results in natural twisting in the profiles. This must be corrected as it may affect the product’s functionality. We use a stretcher for this task. We mechanically grip both ends of the profile and pull on it until fully straight. This we do to achieve the specification.
Moving The Profiles to Finish for Sawing to Length
This is the last step after achieving a straight table-length extrusion. At Creatingway, we saw off to the pre-specified lengths. It is generally between 7 and 22 feet long. The extrusions at this stage match a T4 temper. However, we can age them in the oven for a T5 or T6 temper.
Finishes for Extruded Aluminum Products
This comes after the extrusion is complete. We use it to enhance the properties of the extruded material. Yield stress and tensile strength are among the profiles. An oven accelerates the aging process bringing the aluminum material to a T5 or T6 temper.
This step mainly enhances the appearance and corrosion resistance of aluminum. Other finishes like anodizing thicken the metal’s oxide layer. It makes the metal more resistant to wear, improves surface emissivity, and provides a porous surface for easier dye acceptance.
This step facilitates the achievement of the profile’s final dimensions. We can drill, machine, punch or cut the extruded products so as meet your specifications. For instance, fixing screw holes into a structural product. Therefore, regardless of your specifications, we are able to match them using several operations made possible by the available machines.
Categories of Extruded Shapes
Here is a breakdown of the kind of shapes Creatingway can extrude.
- Solid. This has no openings or enclosed voids within the final product. Example of products made include beams and rods
- Semi-hollow. These products have a partially enclosed void. For instance, a C channel comes with a narrow gap.
- Hollow. These contain one or more voids or an opening from end to end. An example is a rectangle or square tube. Contact Creatingway now for your aluminum extrusion needs.
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