Hydro Extruded Solutions - Precision Tubing produces thin-walled MultiPort Extrusions (MPE) and round tubes. From the market, there is a continuous strong pull towards reduced tube weight and wall thickness and stronger alloys. Over the last years the typical MPE wall thickness has been reduced from 0.45 mm to 0.20 mm.
It is Hydro's strategy to work towards further wall thickness reductions, while at the same time implementing stronger alloys. However, the achievements with thinner walls and stronger alloys have led to new challenges related to local overheating and more challenging flow balance. A major reason for this is a lack of temperature control.
To achieve further wall thickness reduction with stronger alloys, there is therefore demands for much tighter temperature control than what has been needed earlier. The planned innovation involves achieving full temperature control for extrusion of thin walled MPE profiles. This involves both the spatial temperature distribution and the temperature evolution over the press cycle.
The project will develop and implement new model based optimising control schemes, which will make it possible to control the temperature over the press cycle and yield precise control of the exit temperature of thin walled MPEs. Such temperature control represents a major step change with respect to today's process capability for MPEs. The temperature control developed in this project, will in the longer term also be of major importance for other extrusion products and markets.
The project is an Innovation Project for the Industrial sector (IPN) financed through Norwegian Research Council's BIA-program, with the partners Hydro Extruded Solutions, Cybernetica, SINTEF and NTNU. SINTEF contributes with detailed simulations of the extrusion process, including study of flow, temperature, cooling, die distortion and die design.