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A time-dependent, feature-based die design method in the aluminium extrusion process.

The aim of this project is to develop a time-dependent,
feature-based method for dies including the possibility of
inserts, using profile-geometry representation and
extrusion simulation methods.

The West European aluminium extrusion sector is threatened by strong competition from "low wage" countries in North Africa and Eastern Europe. West European extrusion companies are being superceded by low end bulk markets and competition on the other, higher market segments is increasing. To survive, West European extrusion companies need to improve the efficiency of their extrusion process, shorten their time-to-market for new products and produce qualitative superior products. Existing knowledge and technology have proved to be insufficient to reach these goals. BOAL and PHOENIX, in co-operation with the UNIVERSITY OF TWENTE, started with the IPECTIES project in 1995. The aim of this project was the development of an integrated extrusion process evaluation and control system by which the aforementioned goals could be obtained. This research project was partly successful. Controlling the aluminium extrusion process is complicated because there are a lot of factors that influence the output of the process. The influence of these factors is not known precisely. To get an good product, trial and error is still a well-known phenomenon in the extrusion process. BOAL and PHOENIX will take another step forward in the aluminium extrusion technology: they will start a new research project. The aim of this new project is to develop a feature based design theory for dies. Based on a number of defined features (for example bearings, legs, feeder hole, welding chamber, etc.) a 3D solid model could be made in a short time. The system will be interactive and self-learning. Main research subjects in this new project are: Time-dependency: In the simulation the complex dynamic phases of the extrusion process will be integrated. In the previous EUREKA project (E! 1348 IPECTIES) it proved to be not possible to integrate time-dependency in the calculations. The goal was too ambitious and the calculations needed more computer capacity than technically possible. Time-dependency will be a major point of research in this project. The expectation is that the calculations can be possible now because of recent improvements in computer capacity. Besides this, research will be done on the way dynamic proces-simulation could be related to the die surroundings (integration of elements like heat transfer to die holder, pressure plate and container, friction in the container and heat exchange with supporting tools). Inserts: Current dies are made of specific kinds of steel. These materials are subject to extremely high requirements. On the one hand the material has to be sufficiently tough to absorb elastic deflections. On the other hand the surface of the material has to be very strong to be sufficiently wearproof. In practice a lot of wear difficulties appear at bearings, especially with flat dies and additional die parts. In case of wear of the die, the whole die has to be replaced. To find a solution to this problem research will take place into changeable inserts of specific wearproof materials. In case of wear, only the inserts have to be replaced. Keywords: extrusion, simulation, process control.
Acronym: 
SIMALEX
Project ID: 
2 700
Start date: 
01-03-2002
Project Duration: 
53months
Project costs: 
4 810 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Moulding, injection moulding, extrusion, sintering
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.