OUR ALUMINUM EXTRUSION PROCESS
Following the initial aluminum profile design review, we work with your product development engineers to develop a desired aluminum profile that meets their finished product requirements. Once the aluminum profile design has been approved, the aluminum extrusion die is manufactured. An advantage of the aluminum extrusions process over of other metal production processes, such as casting, is that custom engineered aluminum extrusion dies can be made in a fraction of the time.
EXTRUDING THE ALUMINUM PROFILE
With the final profile design approved and the die prepared, the billet and extrusion tools are preheated to ready them for the aluminum extrusion process. The billet is transferred to the cradle and then crushed against the die, becoming shorter and wider until it has full contact with the container walls.
QUENCHING (COOLING) THE PROFILE
Once the fully formed profile has been extruded, depending on the alloy, the profile is cooled by high velocity, multi-sided air and water quench system. Faster cooling preserves the extrusion profile characteristics, mechanical properties and tolerances and ensures even and distortion free cooling of any extrusion shape.
STRETCHING, CUTTING & AGING
A “stretcher” is employed after the profile has been quenched (cooled) to straighten the extrusion and correct any twist that may have occurred. The stretcher is also used to impart cold work to the extrusion. Conveyors then feed the profile to the saw to be cut to pre-specified lengths. Production of short lengths, miter cuts or tight tolerances is performed with a secondary cutting operation. Depending on the aluminum alloy used, aging, or age-hardening, may be needed to obtain maximum strength, hardness and elasticity.
ALUMINUM SURFACE FINISHING
As soon as unfinished aluminum is exposed to the atmosphere, a protective oxide coating naturally begins to form. For certain applications, aluminum profiles require no more protection than this thin, transparent oxide film. If an additional surface protection or enhanced finish, such as liquid paint, powder coat or anodizing, is desired, Min-aluminum has different kinds of surface finish facilities to meet customer’s requirements.
FABRICATION, CNC MACHING AND COMPONENT PACKAGING
After sufficient aging, the aluminum profiles maybe moved to other areas of our plant for further fabrication and machining, or are packed and prepared for shipment. Profiles are packaged to ensure they are protected from surface damage, twisting or other transit, handling and storage hazards. Customers may specify their own packaging requirements, or the type of extruded product may suggest a particular method of packaging for ease of storage or delivery.