HTS57 - Aluminium Log Homogenization
After casting, aluminium logs are homogenised before being supplied to extrusion companies. The walking beam process is demanding not only due to the long durations (up to 13 hours at 580 °C) but the fact that the profiling system has to rotate with the log and therefore needs to be the same form as the log with the same diameter or less. The PhoenixTM rotating cylindrical barrier design meets the demands of the process. Design of the thermal barrier (cylindrical insulated water tank) guarantees that water capacity is maximized with no loss of water during continuous process rotation.
The cylindrical barrier is bolted to the end of a cutdown aluminium log. The diameter of the barrier matches that of the aluminium log so that it can freely rotate with the product through the furnace. Long thermocouples are run along the length of the log within a cut-out slot and fixed at locations and depths required.
To provide the thermal protection for the heat treatment duration within the space restrictions an evaporative thermal barrier technology is the only viable option. This creates challenges as the water tank design needs to prevent loss of water from the tank as the whole system rotates to preserve thermal protection for the data logger.
Employing the ‘thru-process’ temperature monitoring solution major key casting plants have been able to measure the temperature profile of their aluminium log in all three stages of the homogenisation process. With such critical information it has been possible to minimise time in the soak zone to increase productivity and optimise fuel efficiency without compromising product quality.
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