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Extrusion process: Forming aluminium extrusions from billet

Under pressure the billet is crushed against the die, becoming shorter and wider until it has full contact with the container walls.

While the aluminium is pushed through the die, liquid nitrogen flows around some sections of the die to cool it.

This increases the life of the die and creates an inert atmosphere which keeps oxides from forming on the shape being extruded. In some cases, nitrogen gas is used in place of liquid nitrogen. Nitrogen gas does not cool the die but does create an inert atmosphere.

Because of the pressure added to the billet, the soft but solid metal begins to squeeze through the die opening.

Want more? Download our free Desperately Seeking Aluminium – Aluminium Extrusion Buyers Guide by Inal Metals here.

Extrusion process: Preparing billet for aluminium extrusion


Billets must be heated to approximately 800-925°F. After a billet reaches the desired temperature, it is transferred to the loader where a thin film of smut or lubricant is added to the billet and to the ram.

The smut acts as a parting agent (lubricant) which keeps the two parts from sticking together. The billet is transferred to the cradle.The ram applies pressure to the dummy block which, in turn, pushes the billet until it is inside the container.

Under pressure the billet is crushed against the die, becoming shorter and wider until it has full contact with the container walls.

While the aluminium is pushed through the die, liquid nitrogen flows around some sections of the die to cool it.

This increases the life of the die and creates an inert atmosphere which keeps oxides from forming on the shape being extruded. In some cases, nitrogen gas is used in place of liquid nitrogen. Nitrogen gas does not cool the die but does create an inert atmosphere.

Because of the pressure added to the billet, the soft but solid metal begins to squeeze through the die opening.

Want more? Download our free Desperately Seeking Aluminium – Aluminium Extrusion Buyers Guide by Inal Metals here.

It’s all about fit & function

Telescopic triple tube design

At Inal Metals we don’t say things fit like a glove…we say they fit like a Konrad!. Awesome telescopic design by Konrad our in house designer ensuring a fit over 2000mm on this high volume consumer product. Super proud when a product reaches this stage after many weeks of design and prototyping. Come back for full case study in a few months time.

The advantages of aluminium extrusion in product design

Extrusion is a process used to create objects of a fixed cross-sectional profile. A material is pushed through a die of the desired cross-section.

There are two main advantages of this process over other manufacturing processes.

The first is to create very complex cross-sections. The second is to work materials that are brittle, because the material only encounters compressive and shear stresses. As an additional benefit, it also forms parts with an excellent surface finish.

Extrusion may be continuous (theoretically producing indefinitely long material) or semi-continuous (producing many pieces). The extrusion process can be conducted with hot or cold material.

 

Dies

Commonly extruded materials include metals, polymers, ceramics, concrete, modelling clay and foodstuffs. The products of extrusion are generally called “extrudates”.

Hollow cavities within extruded material cannot be produced using a simple flat extrusion die, because there would be no way to support the centre barrier of the die.

Instead, the die assumes the shape of a block with depth, beginning first with a shape profile that supports the centre section. The die shape then internally changes along its length into the final shape, with the suspended centre pieces supported from the back of the die. The material flows around the supports and fuses together to create the desired closed shape.

The extrusion process in metals may also increase the strength of the material.

Aluminium extrusion

Aluminium extrusion is a technique used to transform aluminium alloy into objects with a definitive cross-sectional profile for a wide range of uses.

The extrusion process makes the most of aluminium’s unique combination of physical characteristics.

Aluminium is the most commonly extruded material and it can be hot or cold extruded. If it is hot extruded it is heated to 575 to 1100 °F (300 to 600 °C).

Examples of products include profiles for tracks, frames, rails and heat sinks.

 

Want more? Download our free Desperately Seeking Aluminium – Aluminium Extrusion Buyers Guide by Inal Metals here.

Five things to ask an extrusion partner at the outset

We’ve been in this business for other thirty years and whilst we still occasionally see something new, different, challenging, there are some incontrovertible truths that need to be understood.

Asking these five questions when you are evaluating providers will help to find a partner worthy of your project: –

1. Do they have the in-house design accreditation? Most don’t, but offer “help”.

2. Do they offer a wide range of alloys and a wide range of extrusion sizes?

3. Do they offer in house machining and have state of the art equipment to ensure compliance?

4. Can they offer all the finishing options?

5. Can they deliver what you need, as you need it when you need it?

You may also want to know if they make a decent brew.

 

Want more? Download our free Desperately Seeking Aluminium – Aluminium Extrusion Buyers Guide by Inal Metals here.

Two D or not Three D that is the question

3D printing is very useful to prove fit and or function prior to producing production tooling.  In this case we are printing a 300mm diameter motor housing, whilst we can’t prove function the complex nature of the many mating parts involved in the final construction can be.  3D printing is an essential tool in mitigating risk in design..and you can also print some really cool fun stuff as well.

Maybe its because we’re not Londoners

Rounded the week off with another very pleasing contract win, yet again in the construction field this time for a major Yorkshire Facilitator re shaping the Thames Skyline in London with our complex 5 axis machined extrusions.  Construction has proved to be a very successful area for us this year, from solar shading to balconies much of it making good the post Carillion legacy, looking forward to many more successes in 2019.

Baby it’s cold outside

Design accredited we get to work with some product development visionaries. After months on the drawing board we initially produced 3d printed samples for basis fit and function. We then produced this wire eroded machined two-part section, painted on the bottom anodised on the top for a ground-breaking new product for launch early next year with enormous export potential. Now off for thermal and CE testing.. come back for a very detailed cased study early in the new year.

Do you want fries with that??

Do you want fries with that??..Sssssh awesome extrusions for major fast food retailer from major fast extrusion supplier! Extrusion we’re loving it!

 

Inal Warriors Rounding up the 2018 Rounders season

A great season for our super rounders team the Inal Warriors, not quite trophy winners this time out but much promise for next season. Resilience, dedication, enthusiasm plus they always tried just that bit harder….a bit like us really.  Ladies we salute you, for a more detailed look at how the season went click the Facebook link and enjoy!