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Innovations in Aluminum Extrusion: Sustainability and AI

April 10, 2024

The increase in demand for sustainability in the aluminum extrusion industry is focused on reducing waste, energy usage, and CO2 generation. Advanced techniques and technology, such as artificial intelligence, have the potential to achieve these goals while improving the quality of aluminum extrusions. Here, we will explore the various aluminum extrusion technologies, such as AI, and sustainability initiatives that are innovating the industry.

Sustainability Initiatives in Aluminum Extrusion

Sustainability initiatives are critical to the aluminum extrusion industry, and lean management is a major part of these changes. Lean management practices are cultural changes within organizations and industries that encourage minimal waste and continuous improvement of production processes. Lean transformation involves collaboration and individual employee empowerment.

The aluminum extrusion industry can also reduce CO2 generation by automating the skimming and scrap charging processes using in-furnace camera systems, which reduce the need for operators to stay in the cast house. Automation can decrease cycle times by up to 50% and CO2 generation and energy usage by up to 30%. Video-assisted automation optimizes melt yield, energy use, and dross removal while minimizing salt cake waste. Automation also shortens skim cycles, reducing door open times and thereby decreasing energy loss.

Modern aluminum extrusion companies are also replacing hydraulic extrusion force-generating cylinders with electro-mechanical systems. They improve operator safety, process control, and sustainability, and they are capable of producing thousands of tons of pressure. Electro-mechanical systems eliminate the flammable oil over the operator’s head, reducing the risk of fires and the need for oil disposal. The electro-mechanical motors offer enhanced process control, providing power directly to the spindle.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Technologies in Aluminum Extrusion

Advanced technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) play a crucial role in aluminum extrusion. Current attrition levels in the industry risk the loss of skilled die designers and knowledgeable technicians. It can take up to eight to 10 years of training and mentorship to develop a fully competent die technician. AI can help the industry train and enhance die technicians’ skills and knowledge.

Self-learning algorithms powered by AI can assist with die correction, process settings, and characterized die design features. Utilizing a limited selection of features enables the technology to reduce copyright violations. For example, HyperAI is a tool that allows for the production of high-strength extruded aluminum profiles based on high-strength alloys and a new thermal treatment for billets. It can enhance extrusion speed by as much as 200% compared to the standard process while delivering aluminum with a similar strength.

AI can deliver real-time measurements to monitor quality and eliminate waste during the aluminum extrusion process. It is more effective than the human eye at detecting surface defects, including pickup, scratches, tearing, and blisters. As defects proceed past the extrusion process, they can be costly. AI solutions like the promex CYRUS can deliver real-time detection rates of up to 100%, providing waste reduction and corrective action feedback.

Work With an Aluminum Extruder on the Cutting Edge

Aluminum extrusion technologies promise to make the future of the industry more sustainable. Aluminum extruders can implement automation to make the process more efficient, reducing waste and CO2 emissions. AI can assist in the onboarding and training process, helping technicians improve their skills and knowledge. It can also enhance die design and detect defects in aluminum extrusion more effectively than human operators.

A cutting-edge aluminum extruder can deliver the following benefits:

  • Enhanced quality
  • Cost efficiency and reduced waste
  • Better product consistency and process reliability
  • Sustainability and environmental compliance

PSI Extrusions is an ISO 9001:2015-certified aluminum extrusion company in Texas, offering quality products, fast turnaround times, and precise tolerances. We can deliver various production volumes with small minimum orders and high volume capabilities to get your products to the market faster. Contact us to speak with a specialist about your aluminum extrusion needs.

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