David Fiegel is joined by Tom Nentwick of Extrusion Supplies to discuss the process of extruding soft alloys. #BlackbirdTV #alloyextrusion #alloys #aluminumextrusion
About this segment of Blackbird TV
Recorded: December 9, 2020
Published: July 6, 2021
I’d like to introduce Tom Nentwick. Tom is my good friend from many years ago. He owns Extrusions Supplies in Youngstown, Ohio. Tom is an expert in soft alloy extrusion, aluminum and other soft metals. And today, we’re going to talk about the process. What is aluminum extrusion? What is this all about? Well, David, thanks for having me. Aluminum extrusion, in its simplest form, would be a tube of toothpaste. For instance, you’re you’re pushing the material in the tube through a hole on the end, and it comes out and goes right on your toothbrush. So it’s essentially squeezing something through a die, right? Yes. In the aluminum extrusion process, it’s heating up a billet and pushing that billet with a lot of pressure through a die that is formed to the application that you want to come out the other end. So you’re telling me that we’re going to take a solid piece of metal and we’re going to jam it through something and it’s going to come out of shape on the other side? Exactly. Come on, man. This metal, you can’t do that. How many tons of pressure does it take to to push that stuff through there? Well, it just depends upon the alloy and the size of the profile that you’re pushing. So a lot of times you have 100000 PSI on the face of the die as you’re extruding. It’s a lot of pressure. That’s a lot of pressure. Walk us through the components of how that actually works. It can’t be just pushing it through. Right? There’s got to be parts to it. The reason I ask is we have a lot of appraisers that watch this and some of these guys have never seen an extrusion press, so they can use this and learn something. So walk us through the components and we’ve got some images. Yes, you have a press and you have a handling system and you start off with a log that’s at varying long lengths. And you push that through a heater and it exits the exit side of that heater and it feeds into a shear and that shear will shear it off into short billets and the billets will drop down into a billet loader. That loader will take it into the the press itself in front of the ram. And there’s a container there that they will close over the top of the billet. The ram will push that billet through that container and then through the die. And as it exit the front of the press through that die, it’ll come out in the shape that the die was was made to accommodate. That’s really cool. I’m going to share this photograph of this Extral Technology press that you you had installed at one of your one of your customers. What are the what are the components we’re looking at in this picture? Well, on the right side of the picture, you’ve got the shear that I mentioned. So as a log comes forward, it’s sheared off. At that point the log is at about 850ºF. It’s sheared off, drops into that loader. The loader moves forward into the equipment, as you mentioned earlier, and the billet sits in front of the container. The container closes over the billet. The ram moves in this picture from right to left as it pushes it through, the die sits on the front side of that container. You have frictional heat buildup. So as it exits to die in the front of the press, it will be about a thousand degrees. And then some pullers will grab it to assist it down the table and it’ll run a couple of hundred feet down the table and it’ll be cooling the entire time. And then it’ll move across the table as it cools over to a stretcher, which at that point it should be ambient temperature, stretch the material, move it over in front of a saw and then cut it to length. After that, actually, it has to go through an aging process. Aluminum will naturally harden with age. But we take it through an artificial aging process, which is feeding it through an oven at an average of three hundred fifty degrees for anywhere from five to 10 hours, depending upon the application. And then when it exits, it’s hardened material, and it can be fabricated from that point. From the toothpaste tube to the hardened material, that’s a really cool process. It is. Tommy Nentwick, Extrusion Supplies. Youngstown, Ohio. You are a great man. Thanks for joining me today. Thanks, David.