In order for aluminum to be useful it needs to go through extrusion. The process will turn the aluminium into malleable material that can be molded into different shapes. Manufactures need to understand the process so they can see how to make quality items each time. These are the 10 steps followed when it comes to aluminum extrusion.
Before anything else is done, a die needs to be prepared from H13 steel. Once ready the die is heated to a temperature of 450C so it can be effective in ensuring the metal flows evenly. In situations where the die has already been made, all that needs to happen is heating it up. Once it gets to the desired temperature, it can then be loaded into the process.
A billet is a cylindrical block of aluminum alloy that is used in the extrusion process. The billet needs to get to up to 450C before it can be used. Without the right temperature then it won’t be hot enough to get to a malleability level that allows it to get molded. When even temperatures are reached, the next step starts.
The heated malleable billet will be transferred into the next extrusion process mechanically. Since the hot billet can get stuck in ram, a lubricant or grease is applied to prevent this. The well lubricated billet and ram can then be loaded into the press.
With the billet heated to a point of malleability, it can be forced into the container with the extrusion press. The material gets pushed for extrusion as the ram applies pressure. The press works on the billet until it fills the sides of the container.
With the alloy filling the container, it will run out of space and can only get pressed against the extrusion die. As more pressure is applied to the billet, it will start moving through the die opening. The extrusion will come out of the opening through the die as a fully formed profile.
As the extrusion comes out, it will be gripped by a puller that will guide it to the runout table. The speed will be determined by how fast the extrusion leaves the press. As the extrusion leaves the press, the profile gets quenched by either water bather or a fan above the table.
Once the extrusion gets guided through the runout table and gets to fill table length, it is cut by a hot saw. The cut length separates from the rest of the process and the saw cuts it again once it reaches full length. Even though the extrusion was quenched, the hot saw is hot enough to cut through it.
After extrusion, the but bit needs to be left to cool and will be transferred from the runout table to a cooling table. The pieces stay on the cooling table until they come to room temperature before they can be stretched again.
The whole process from heating to cutting meads to twisting in the profile which must be rectified. Once the profile is fully cooled it is moved to a stretcher to be mechanically pulled on both ends until they are straight.
With the extrusions at the right length and straight, they can get transferred to the saw table. They then get sawed to a specific length as per requirements. Most of these extrusions need to be cut anywhere between 8 and 22 feet. While sawing them down these extrusions need to match the T4 temper. They will then be aged in the oven to get to a T5 or T6 temper.
The aluminum extrusion process is vital in ensuring that the right profiles are made. It makes up the most important part of the entire process and ensures that different companies have the right profiles to work with. Learning about them goes a long way to ensure that you have no issues with the user profiles. It also helps you appreciate the extrusion process.
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