What is Aluminium extrusion Process?
Aluminium Extrusion Process involves the transformation of the raw aluminium billets into specific cross-sectional shapes and profiles by forcing the billet through the extrusion die. This versatile and cost-effective process is used to create a wide range of products with intricate design and has applications in various industries, including construction, automotive, aerospace, shipbuilding, furnishing, road structures, photovoltaics, bridges,electronic and consumers goods.
Types of Aluminium Extrusion Process
There are two main types of aluminium extrusion processes: direct and indirect.
Direct Aluminium Extrusion Process
Direct Aluminium Extrusion, also know as forward extrusion, is the most common extrusion method. In this process, a heated billet of aluminium alloy is placed in a container and then pushed by hydraulic ram through a stationary die. The pressure exerted by the ram forces the malleable aluminium to take on the shape of the die opening as it passes through. This process allows the creation of a wide range of complex shapes and provides a high-quality surface finish
Indirect Aluminium Extrusion Process
Indirect aluminium extrusion manufacturing process, or backward extrusion, is an alternative method. The billet remains stationary while the container and die assembly move. A hollow ram pushes the die against the billet, forcing the aluminium through the die opening. This process generates less friction, requires less energy and produces less heat, allowing better control of dimensional accuracy, material properties and grain size. However, it has limitations in terms of the maximum size of the die profile. It can also result in reduced surface quality due to migration of surface contaminants from the billet.
Aluminium Extrusion Manufacturing Process Flow chart
There are several steps in the aluminium extrusion process, which are outlined below:
- Die preparation: A round shaped die is preheated to 450-500°C and loaded into the extruding press.
- Billet preheating: An aluminium alloy billet is cut from a block of material and preheated in an oven to 400-500°C to make it malleable but not molten.
- Billet transfer: The preheated billet is mechanically transferred to the extrusion press and lubricated to prevent sticking.
- Billet compression: The hydraulic ram applies pressure to the billet, forcing it into the container, causing it to expand and fill the container walls.
- Extrusion: The aluminium is pressed against the die and the continuous pressure forces it through the die opening, resulting in a fully formed extrusion.
- Quenching: The extruded material is evenly cooled as it moves along a run-out table to improve its mechanical properties.
- Shearing: The extruded material is cut to the required length using a hot saw.
- Shearing: the entire extruded length is cut with a hot saw and placed on a waiting table for stretching.
- Stretching: The extruded material is mechanically gripped and stretched to straighten and align it to specification.
- Cutting: The extruded bars are cut to final lengths.
- Secondary operations: The extruded bars could be heat treated, surface treated or fabricated to achieve its final dimensions and properties.
The aluminium extrusion process’s flow chart provides a visual representation of the steps and stages involved.
Factors affecting the aluminium extrusion process
Several factors can impact the quality and success of the aluminium extrusion process, including:
- Alloy Selection: Choosing the right aluminium alloy is crucial for the final product’s characteristics like strength, durability and other properties like productivity and surface quality
- Extrusion Temperature: The aluminium temperature during extrusion can significantly affect the final product’s quality and must be carefully controlled to ensure maximum speed and best quality.
- Extrusion Die Design: A well-designed die can minimize defects and improve the overall quality of the extrusion and increase productivity.
- Lubrication: Proper lubrication of the billet head is essential for successful extrusion
- Extrusion Speed: The extrusion speed can affect the final product’s quality. If it is too fast its could lead to defects and poor dimensional accuracy, if it is too slow it increase production times and costs.
- Cooling Rate: The cooling rate of the extruded aluminium determines the mechanical properties and must be done according to the alloy and profile to be extruded.
- Exrusion Ratio: The extrusion ratio can influence the extrusion performance of a part, with higher ratios making the part more challenging to extrude.
Optimizing aluminium Extrusion Process with Atieuno Software solutions
As an Aluminium Extrusion Software Company we at Atieuno are commited to develope and implement Software solutions such as our Extrusion Management System (EMS) and the stand-alone solutions, Ulixes, Theoria, Extrusion Intelligence, N5Nitrogen, Press Supervisor, Cast-House, enable the digital transformation of the aluminium extrusion process, while boosting quality, optimizing resources, productivity and sustainability. The advanced vertical modules of our aluminium extrusion system EMS interact in a holistic way, offering a complete data visibility, helping to solve critical issues and meet the market challenges and requirements of the aluminium extrusion industry.
Some of the main benefits:
- Process optimizations and stabilization
- Collaborative links between departments
- Planning and Real time control
- Continuous staff training and process improvement
- Sustainable manufacturing process
Moreover, our Aluminium Extrusion software EMS, automates all the stages of the aluminium extrusion process, offering a unique level of delivery, cost and quality control, achieving higher level of efficiency and operational excellence.
If you’d like to learn more about how to optimize your aluminium extrusion process, contact our experts!