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What is aluminium extrusion

What is aluminium extrusion?

Do you want to know more about the extrusion process and how an extrusion plant works?

In this article you will find general info about this long-standing process.

For more detailed info, i.e., assisted engineering for customised profiles, click here for direct contact.

The extrusion process

The aluminium extrusion process basically consists in forcing and pressing the material (aluminium alloy), initially at its doughy state, through a mould (die) that reproduces the external shape of the piece you want to obtain. Dies are shapes into which aluminium billets (raw material of cylindrical shape), duly pre-heated, are pressed and transformed-by means of so-called extrusion- in long moulded bars.

Extrusion Plant

When extruding aluminium, raw material used is called billet and comes in the shape of a log (10’’ diameter cylinders and adjustable lengths from 5 to 7m).

To reach the needed doughy state and let the material deform, billets are firstly heated in a dedicated oven at a temperature of 450°-500°C (depending on the alloy used).

Secondly, billets are slid into the press, after being cut to the required length automatically set by the press software.

The press forces the doughy material (duly pre-heated) to get through the die and acquire the required shape, hence the required profile.

When out of the die, the profile has no stiffness, so it firstly undergoes the cooling phase by means of dedicated fans within the intensive air-cooling tunnel.

Once out of the cooling tunnel, the profile, still being in a flexible state, is moved onto a roller where it is furtherly cooled off by an air conduct therein located.

At a later time, the profile is fetched by a device called “puller” which drags the profile out of the press and lays it down on the roller.
When the required length is reached, the profile is cut by a shear, and it is moved again on another roller for additional air-cooling.

The cooled profile is then moved to the stretcher that permits a mechanical straightening that guarantee perfect linearity and accurate geometrical shape.

At this point, there is an initial double check of the profile, a passage of the utmost importance:

  • Dimensional check
  • Quality check

Which is done to determine whether a profile complies with all requirements and tolerances parameters asked for by customers.

Besides the usual mechanical check, samples are cut and put in a dedicated device called “ Ascona”.

Such machine, on the basis of specific software, checks that all measurements and tolerances of the section match with the customers’ and with the given UNI tolerances.

A saw cuts the profiles at the final length and then they are stored in crates by stackers.

The last step is the thermic treatment in age oven, a process in which mechanical features and finally defined, and the molecular structure of the profile is hardened so the extruded profiles will eventually be solid and resistant.

At the end of the treatment, the profiles are transferred to the packaging line, in which they are automatically packed in papers sheets, or wooden slats, so to have them duly prepared and protected for the following steps of storage, transport or manipulation.

Lastly, the package is moved to weighing and labelling station.

Extruding is by far the most complex and crucial stage when producing aluminium profiles.

It does require the highest technologies, but also technical skills and know-how.

The extrusion process starts from the manufacturing of dedicated steel dies, designed by expert technicians, supported by the most upgraded engineering software (2d and 3d).

The extrusion is performed complying with minimum tolerances which ensure the perfect assembly of the components made, making it easy for the final products to obtain all necessary quality certificates.

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