Increased extrusion capabilities

Larger extrusions provide design freedom, strength, aesthetics and lower costs
By Guy Charpentier
September 23, 2009

The 5,500-ton extrusion press in Italy, prior to dismantling and shipment.

In December, the Carthage, Tenn. facility for Bonnell Aluminum, Newnan, Ga., will start up its new 5,500-ton aluminum extrusion press capable of extruding high-quality finish commercial architectural profiles up to 16-inches in width, a previously unavailable capability. Bonnell pursued this capital project, valued at more than $25 million, after hearing repeated requests from architects, designers and engineers for larger extruded profiles with critical surfaces to be used on exposed architectural applications.

Greater design options. Larger extruded profiles provide architects, designers and engineers a significantly greater range of design options in building and construction. For example, larger profiles can eliminate the need for smaller components that existing extrusion circle size capabilities necessitate. Additionally, larger extrusions allow for more glass and less framing.

Greater structural integrity. Larger profiles provide greater structural integrity compared to assembling smaller profiles into single units. In addition, larger profiles allow greater glass span distances than assemblies using multiple aluminum membranes.

Better aesthetics. With the reduced need for supplemental components, exposed surfaces on large profiles are less likely to have joint lines that are detrimental to the aesthetic of the building façade.

Reduced cost. The fewer components used, the less expensive the handling, fabrication and assembly costs. Consider the savings in setup time when fabricating and assembling fewer models of profiles. Additionally, the more components you have to work with, the more dimensional tolerance issues you will have to factor in, as they will proportionally increase with the number of parts being assembled.

To engineer and build the press, Bonnell Aluminum had to be judicious in choosing the equipment manufacturers. Officials chose Presezzi Extrusion, Italy, as the press builder, and OMAV, Italy, as the feed line and handling system builder because of its engineering capabilities and experience in past and current installations. Gerref Industries of Belding, Mich., was selected to supply two custom designed age ovens and the special die cleaning system. Lake Park Tool & Machine and Marx GmbH, Youngstown, Ohio, supplied the press’ smart container.

Work began on the project in fall 2007 when Bonnell Aluminum’s parent, Tredegar Corp., Richmond, Va., approved the proposal. The foundation for the building addition was laid in fall of 2008, and a new 72,000-square-foot complex was built to house the press operation, age ovens, die repair shop, and maintenance and storage areas.

The author is marketing manager, Bonnell Aluminum, Newnan, Ga.