Extrusion presses, ovens, handling equipment, saws, shears, automation and advanced technologies.

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Papers published by the Extrusion Technology for Aluminum Profiles Foundation ("ET Foundation") in The Proceedings of the ET Seminar are subject to copyright. No part of The Proceedings, including individual papers submitted by authors for The Proceedings, may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the ET Foundation.

Extrusion Equipment (EE) Track

EE338 - New Developments for Automatic Surface Inspection during Aluminum Extrusion

Michael Hoenen, ISRA VISION Parsytec GmbH, Germany

Supreme surface quality is most important for aluminum extrusion. Especially for the automotive industry, the process chain has to guarantee a surface free of any defects for the extruded product. Manual surface inspection by the human eye bares the risk of varying judgment and inconsistent quality decisions. Besides, some surface defects might be invisible to the human. Potentially long feedback times between manual inspection and taking corrective measures in the process, additionally, might result in an unnecessarily high amount of defective material that no longer meets the desired quality criteria.

The potential of automatic surface inspection as well as the future vision of a digitized manufacturing process were already highlighted during ET 2022. In this presentation, recent new improvements of the automatic surface inspection for extrusion are presented. It is shown how the system deals with multi strand extrusion and results of the recently installed references are presented.

EE360 - Promex CYRUS – In-Line AI Inspector for Surface Defects

Eva Kesisoglou, Dimitris Zarpalas and Dimitris Katsikas, D-Cube Immersive Solutions, Greece; Anastasios Nikolaidis, ETEM-Gestamp Aluminium Extrusions SA, Bulgaria; Bjorn Biehler, ASCONA GmbH, Germany; and Brad Allen, iNOEX, LLC, USA

Eliminating unnecessary scrap is a key strategy for every aluminum extruder.  Surface defects are costly forms of scrap that are too often still being inadvertently created within the aluminum extrusion process.  We know that the human eye is not an effective enough solution for efficiently capturing all surface defects caused during the aluminum extrusion process.  Surface defects like blisters, tearing, scratches, pickup and more, become increasingly costly the farther they get from the mouth of the press.  For this reason, ASCONA and D-Cube have partnered to develop a real-time in-line measurement solution capable of detecting a wide variety of surface defects by using cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI).  With installations at ETEM Gestamp, Alumil, and Hydro in Europe, the promex CYRUS is proving to be a successful and valuable solution, achieving a 100% detection rate of non-conforming surface defects, while providing real-time process feedback for corrective action and scrap reduction.

EE381 - Profiles Automatic Logistics in Modern Aging Centers Equipped with AGVs

Stefano Mancini, Cometal Engineering S.p.A., Italy

Technological advances allow extruders to turn to automation instead of manual labor, consequently cutting costs, increasing productivity and worker safety while decreasing scraps and inefficiencies. The modern spacer-less basket design eliminates use of spacers while improving performance. Each basket contains up to 15.000 pounds of aluminum charge, and for each basket the space between profile supports can be automatically changed, according to profile dimension, optimizing storage space and allowing automatic de-stacking using the first in, first out (FIFO) system for each layer. Besides the advantage of moving larger quantities, the basket is designed to provide stable and steady support to each layer while removing the risk of profile damage during transportation, whereas easy air flow reduces aging cycle and increases profile quality. The basket transportation using the automated guided vehicle (AGV) system allows floor and ovens to be free from the conveyor, reducing foundation use and allowing the installation in compact workshops.

EE392 - Extrusion Lubrication - Next Generation

James E. Dyla, AMCOL Corporation, USA

The use of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) has gained widespread use to control, monitor, and optimize aluminum extrusion presses and related ancillary equipment (i.e., billet heater, log saw/shear, loader, extrusion press, cut-to-length saw). Over the years, automatic extrusion tool lubrication systems have typically been controlled using PLC outputs from these components.  Simple lubrication systems are easily integrated with these components and require limited outputs, inputs, programming, and wiring.

Automatic lubrication systems have become more complex to improve performance and reliability.  With this comes the need for PLC programming and related inputs/outputs.  To ease installation and ensure proper sequencing, small pre-programmed pre-wired independent PLCs are now being employed.  This is especially useful when retrofitting older equipment with limited PLC outputs and inputs.  This presentation provided an overview of how these systems are quickly evolving the concept of automatic lubrication expectations.

EE406 - Data Fusion and AI for Predictive Maintenance of Hydraulic Valves for Aluminum Extrusion Plants

Marco Tarabini and Fabio Conti, Politecnico di Milano, Italy; and Pietro Palini and Maurizio Colombo, One-Off America LLC, USA

This work describes a novel architecture for the condition-based maintenance of aluminum extrusion hydraulic circuits.  The proposed system collects the valves’ temperature, their absorbed current and the vibration to detect malfunctions and to predict their remaining useful life.  The architecture is based on the concept of edge computing and processes data acquired by the aforementioned sensors and by the PLCs for the plant automation.  Different machine learning algorithms are compared to identify the optimal predictive model to solve the monitoring task and to address the missing data problem that may affect online monitoring.  The random forest algorithm provides the best performance out of all the algorithms considered and is therefore identified as the one that best fits the predictive maintenance task.  The valves’ remaining useful life is estimated by applying particle filter algorithms with Monte Carlo simulations.  A case-study is presented and discussed.

EE414 - Power on Demand – POD

Egon Martini and Janos Vogt, Oilgear Towler GmbH, Germany; and Scott Myers, Oilgear Company, USA

Giving older and existing extrusion presses a new efficient life – saving energy, increasing efficiency, uptime of presses and production output are key.  It’s about the drive of extrusion presses, installing the variable frequency converter (VFD) in combination with the existing hydraulic pumps.  This, combined with knowledge about the extrusion cycle process, hydraulics, and controls is presented.

Oilgear developed a power on demand (POD) concept to save energy and improve the working cycle of the press.  Where the actual system is inefficient, why we save energy and how to use the VFD technology best with presses hydraulics is discussed in detail.  To keep press performance durable and reliable, it is essential to understand the process and the limitations of the existing press, as the process to design and value its future and improved state.  The presentation is based on real-world achievements and customer experiences.

EE415 - Framework for the Comparison and Selection of Release Agent Technologies for Aluminum Extrusion

Hector Kelly, Miguel Preciado, Ricardo Ocaranza, and Christopher Rivera, Interlub, Mexico

Technical review of the industry's top four release agent technologies used in aluminum extrusion: acetylene flames, boron nitride, graphite-based suspensions, and water-based solutions. This review serves as a framework for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each release agent technology, and how each one fits into each user's business and operation goals.

Each one of these technologies is radically different from the rest, from their chemical structure to their implementation in the extrusion process. This presents a true challenge for aluminum professionals because there is no 1:1 comparison they can easily make. That is why this presentation establishes a comprehensive process to compare these technologies, based on information obtained from experimental data results and user experiences from real-use cases in extrusion plants.

EE439 - Measuring and Correcting Distortion in Extrusions

Norbert Meinikmann and Philipp Hettich, Laubinger + Rickmann GmbH & Co. KG, Germany; and Martin Hartlieb, Viami International Inc., Canada
Maximizing properties and minimizing tolerances are two typical goals for structural components, but they are anti-correlative. Straightening to correct distortion is therefore sometimes unavoidable. If distortion was always identical, straightening would be much easier, but it is not that simple. Some profiles need extensive straightening while others don't need any. Measuring tolerances in-line (100% of the profiles) is therefore vital to technical and commercial success with complex structural profiles, as only those will go into the straightening equipment that really need it. This allows minimizing straightening equipment and time and optimizing subsequent machining (amount and cycle time). Proper 100% inline optical measuring of tolerances (especially of critical areas like joining or attachment surfaces) also allows quick feedback about the process and any changes. This measuring step (outside the straightening equipment) then replaces the first measuring step in the machine and sets the basis for the straightening stroke.

EE453 - Hydraulic Modernization of a World War II-Era Extrusion Press Complex

Steve DeMar, Hauhinco, USA

In August 2020, a modernization of the hydraulic systems began, for three WWII-era extrusion presses in Indiana. Over the last three years, each press was brought back on-line with new and improved valve controls. This presentation examines these upgrades, as follows:

  • General features of the presses, such as operating pressures, pressure vessels, Ram cylinders, speeds and tonnages, and resulting products;
  • Original water hydraulic systems, including cartridge valve blocks, and equipment condition;
  • Engineering solutions to special challenges, including filtration, safety pressure vessel isolation, speed control, pushout, and press creep prevention;
  • New hydraulic system scope of supply, including engineering process, manifolds, installation, commissioning, and overall time frame;
  • Special challenges in the years since startup, diagnosing and resolving valve failures, and real-world maintenance required at a modernized extrusion press.

With the upgraded systems in production for several years, net improvements and challenges to the press operation are summarized.

EE465 - Intensive Quenching: Advanced "Variable Geometry" Cooling Technology for High-Quality Aluminum Profiles

Pau Vial and Roger Blanch, Kautec Solutions, Spain

The High-Intensive Quenching Table is an advanced cooling system specifically designed for extruded aluminum profiles. It features adjustable spray nozzles with selective angles of incision that can be programmed according to the specific geometry and section of the profile being cooled. What makes this system stand out is its ability to tailor the cooling process to each individual profile. By parametrizing the profile in the software, the machine can automatically orient the spray nozzles for optimal cooling of all sections of the profile. This high-efficiency cooling system is particularly well-suited and up to date for use in the automotive industry. High-intensive quenching ensures that each profile section is cooled evenly, reducing the risk of deformation and improving product quality. The system’s advanced cooling capabilities offer unparalleled flexibility and precision, making it an ideal choice for manufacturers looking to optimize their production processes and improve overall product quality.

EE472 - The Manifestation of Industry 4.0 in Aluminum Extrusion Operations

Christian S. Ferman and Drew T. Griffioen, Granco Clark, Inc., USA

The benefits of Industry 4.0 are beginning to manifest themselves at every level of the aluminum extrusion process. Maintenance staff can now take advantage of predictive analytics, using sensor and process data to notify personnel of potential process or equipment failures in advance. Production engineers gain access to archived process and equipment data via SCADA software packages and system digitalization protocols such as IO-Link. Such software can analyze data, then present it to engineers in graphical or table-based summaries. Thus, extruders can optimize processes without extensive manual data collection and analysis. Management staff can now remotely view the operational status of any connected facility, production line, or machine from a smart phone, tablet, or PC. The pinnacle feature of Industry 4.0 is product traceability, giving extruders the power of data to conduct audits and root-cause analyses down to seconds of live cycle, feet of extrusion, and inches of billet.

EE485 - Development of Technology to Maintain Solution Temperature between Press Exit and Quench System

Tanju Çeliker, Gülben Karaarslan, Harun Uslu, and Irfan Eker, Onat Aluminyum Sanayi Ticaret A.S., Turkey

Extrusion is an interactive, multi-parameter process, resulting in material properties. Alloy, die design, and ram speed, are important factors. Ram speed determines profile temperature after the die exit together with the alloy. The 7xxx-series alloys are pressed slowly to prevent surface defects. Reduced ram speed affects a low profile exit temperature, which is under solution temperature. Delayed entry because of less profile velocity to the quench system lowers profile temperature, resulting in a microstructure that is not suitable for optimal strength post-aging. For this reason, additional heat treatments are performed afterwards to give alloys their final properties (additional time, cost and labor loss).

To solve these problems, some equipment developments are presented. Experiments to explain the technology are carried out with 7xxx-series alloys. Material investigations such as strength testing and structure investigations are carried out to compare results with/without the developed technology.

EE493 - Induction Technology for High-Quality Extrusion Profiles with Reduced Carbon Footprint

Dieter Kleen, Christian Löbbe, Christina Knipping, and Torsten Schäfer, IA GmbH, Germany

Induction heating of billets has been the standard in the extrusion industry for many years, especially when complex profiles from the automotive and aerospace sectors require precise heating temperatures. At the same time, induction technology opens up the possibility of meeting global efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. Today in most countries of the world, fossil fuels are used for power generation. As a result, today more CO2 emissions per ton of heated aluminum are caused by using an induction furnace compared to a high-efficiency gas furnace. Changing from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is a long-term process, but at the same time, innovative concepts for induction heaters such as utilizing process heat or increasing the coil efficiency already offer today the potential for saving energy and thus avoiding CO2 emissions.

EE498 - Vision System Assistant for Automation of Extrusion Process

Michael Horan and Alireza Ali Zadeh, Danieli Breda, Italy

The modern camera system integrated with the extrusion plant software is able to reduce maintenance activity and increase productivity, keeping constant the quality of the product and increasing safety for personnel. This is the way kept by Danieli Breda, changing the idea of sensors, and implementing a new software that is able to manage frames and traducing them in action. The following controls of the Danieli extrusion plant are benefitting from: the alignment of the container with the press; and the puller releasing by the profile before evacuation.

EE499 - A Comparison of Various Billet Heating Concepts for Today's Extrusion Process

Stefan W. Beer, extrutec GmbH, Germany

The requirements for tighter control of the extrusion process in recent years have resulted in, among other things, ever-increasing demands for the quality of the billet heating. This paper will compare various heating concepts (gas/induction) based on recent installations. It will introduce the Power Focus TechnologyTM for induction heaters as well as a new energy supply concept, which will be suitable for retrofitting existing induction furnaces. This new concept will provide the potential of energy savings, resulting in cost savings.

EE500 - Recovering the Maximum Amount of Energy from the Exhaust Gases of a Gas-Fired Direct Flame Impingement Log Furnace

Ulrich Bucher, extrutec GmbH, Germany

Direct flame impingement furnaces are a staple in the extrusion industry today. Depending on the throughput, a modern furnace should achieve a fuel efficiency of approximately 65 percent. There is still a considerable amount of energy contained in the flue gas at such efficiency. Various measures have reduced the amount of energy wasted, by sending hot exhaust up the stack, over time. Preheating the log using the exhaust gas and using the exhaust gas to preheat the combustion air are some of these measures. This paper will introduce the patented Eco Shower Unit (ESU), a method to further improve the energy efficiency of the gas furnace. Hot exhaust gas is used to heat up water, which is used to preheat the log prior to entering the traditional preheating section of the furnace. This improves energy efficiency and also increases the throughput of the furnace over furnaces of similar length.

EE504 - Modernizing an Extrusion Press with the Latest Drive and Control Technology

Michael Kramer, Bosch Rexroth Corporation; and Shawn Gavin, Keymark Corporation, USA

After 30+ years of production, many extrusion presses are structurally sound but can benefit from a drive and control upgrade of their hydraulics and electronic control systems. Modernizations can provide new press benefits at lower cost, and with less lost production time. An upgrade project allows implementation of the latest technology to improve performance, reduces energy usage, and incorporates advanced controls and data collection systems to improve maintainability and productivity. This paper examines the results of a complete modernization of a 2200-Ton direct extrusion press. The project includes a completely new hydraulic and controls system utilizing the latest technologies. In addition to describing the equipment and systems upgraded, a detailed presentation of before-and-after data will be presented and evaluated. Results demonstrate improvements in performance, productivity, maintainability, and energy use. A discussion of real-world benefits of the included advanced electronic sensors and automated diagnostics system will also be presented. Improvements in process control and maintainability will be quantified using actual machine data.

EE521 - Improvement in Water Quenching System by Innovative Tall Pump and Smart Filter

Sutanay Parida and Ali Al Shamsi, National Aluminium Products Company SAOG, Sultanate of Oman

The water quenching system in Napco faced a problem of nozzle clogging and pump motor burning out quite often. The maintenance team developed a filter innovation whose mesh size can be adjustable with a linear increasing value. The filtrate mass can be removed without opening the filter unit, which eased the complete cleaning process. The horizontal recovery pump was replaced with a tall vertical pump, innovated by Napco's team. This pump with long extended shaft was fabricated in-house. The specialty of the pump is a normal flange-mount motor, which has been mounted on a specially made cylindrical housing that holds the pump shaft and impeller. As the pump is much above the ground level, motor burnout is completely eliminated. This engineering marvel of filter and pump manufacturing work is presented.

EE523 - Sealing Pump and Other Factors Affecting Mushrooming Problem in Extrusion Process

Sutanay Parida and Ali Al Shamsi, National Aluminium Products Company SAOG, Sultanate of Oman

During the extrusion process, the face of the container and face of die or die ring or both parts should remain in perfect contact and no aluminum should come out of that area.  When the faces are not rigidly in contact, the aluminum makes its way out instead of passing through the die aperture and subsequently results in a shape that looks like a mushroom.  Most commonly it is known as flashing, flowering, or mushrooming.

Napco has worked on dies, tooling, sealing pumps and hydraulic system pipelines as a single project and ultimately brings the mushrooming problem under control.  The paper highlights the role of the sealing pump, especially its location outside or inside as a submersible pump.  How the pipeline’s routing impacts the pump cavitation and life is described, as has been practically demonstrated to shop floor personnel.

EE530 - EMPRESS Stands for Electro-Mechanical Press Revolutionizing the Extrusion Process

David Turla, EMPRESS Technology SAGL, Switzerland

The main cylinder generating extrusion force is now replaced by an electro-mechanical system, designed to produce up to several thousand tons, which offers unique advantages of environmental sustainability, operator safety and process control. The absence of several thousand liters of flammable oil above the operator's head alleviates a significant fire risk and eliminates the environmental impact of oil disposal. Oil that may spill and collect under the press tray can cause a fire, and the complex system required to compress the oil and send it to the main cylinder through a series of components poses risks (pumps, filters, sensors, controls, proportional valves, pipes...). The controllability of the process in an electric press is extremely high because the motors are now directly connected to the spindle, making the press work more like a machine tool. The DCT is less than 10 s. System advantages are explained.

EE533 - The XR Plant Inspector - a New Approach in 3-D Data Use

Sebastian Kemper and Mark Haverkamp, SMS group GmbH, Germany

Digitalization is currently the focus of the metal extrusion industry in order to optimize plant planning, production, maintenance, service, and training. Due to the large system dimensions and according complexity, intelligent solutions are in demand today more than ever. The "XR Plant Inspector" (XRPI) is such a solution. This advancement enables a user to visualize complex plant models in 3-D. In contrast to conventional CAD programs, this software can display entire metal extrusion plants in full detail by techniques deduced from the game world. XRPI creates a digital image of the real system, which helps to analyze maintenance tasks quickly and effectively. During training, XRPI supports participants in surveying the complete system virtually and collaboratively, thereby significantly enhancing qualification. Through this immersive training, the user gains an immediate deep insight and can identify directly with the system, even in an early planning stage. Furthermore, the XRPI facilitates the commissioning process. Here, open questions, changed boundary conditions and solution approaches can be documented and discussed through the direct connection to the 3-D data, preventing miscommunication. The publication describes these new developments. The use cases listed here give an insight into the wide range of potential applications and advantages for the plant operator.

EE541 - Advancing Safe and Reliable Press Operations with Nondestructive Examinations

Richard Manganello and Ron Manganello, Carlesa NDE Services, USA

By focusing on case studies, this paper highlights how applying Nondestructive Examination (NDE) methods to aluminum extrusion presses can detect cracks or service-related problems before they become serious threats to production, reliability, or safety. NDE advances decision-making related to deciding when press components can be replaced and when press repairs should be applied.