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EDU ’18 – Expanding Aluminum Extrusion Knowledge

Design, Applications, and Technology

Ford Kentucky Truck Plant
Ford invested $900 million in their Kentucky Truck Plant for upgrades to build aluminum-intensive trucks and full-size SUVs, including the all-new Lincoln Navigator, a 2018 North American Truck of the Year award winner, and the Ford Expedition (a runner up for the award).

By Jeff Henderson, AEC.

The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) will host the first-ever Extrusion Design University (EDU ’18) event, May 14-16, 2018, at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare in Chicago, IL. This event is the natural evolution of the AEC’s industry promotion efforts, which started in 2011. Since then, over 14,000 architectural, engineering, designing, and specifying professionals have participated in AEC program offerings, with educational webinars consistently scoring at least 4.5 out of 5 stars by attendees. Now, that same world-class education is being brought to the classroom through relevant sessions at the EDU ’18 conference. The event seeks to bring together extrusion industry experts with designers, engineers, and specifiers who are interested in honing their knowledge and understanding of aluminum extrusions.

In the last few years, the aluminum extrusion industry has undergone a true revolution. Collectively, U.S. extruders have invested over $1.5 billion in the domestic industry. Much of this investment has been to update existing equipment, which has transformed and modernized extrusion plants with the latest technology designed to meet the most rigorous demands. A great deal of investment has been targeted toward key industries in which extrusion demand has dramatically increased. It is time extruders come together with end users that have integrated extrusions into their designs in order to expand their knowledge and understanding and show how all of this can work for them.

In the automotive market alone extrusion demand has experienced double-digit growth in recent years. Rather than subsiding, this demand continues to accelerate, and is expected to do so for years to come. Per vehicle use, extruded shapes have increased 40% over the past four years and are expected to grow another 35% by 2022. Virtually every area in lightweight vehicles has benefited from this conversion. Extrusions meet the lightweighting, structural performance, and aesthetic demands facing the automotive industry. Even so, there are still many more opportunities for extrusion applications.

For the building and construction industry, we’ve witnessed the advent of new codes and requirements. From “Zero Energy” buildings to form, fit, and function requirements, the commercial and architectural communities have redefined what they expect from aluminum extruders. These fast-moving changes seen in construction have often been confusing and hard to understand. The EDU program will delve into some of those topics and explain how aluminum extrusions can help solve design and structural challenges while providing resources and information to assist specifiers in qualifying for the highest possible award in the next LEED project.

Aluminum extrusions have produced a myriad of solutions in a wide range of industrial and other applications. From structural to electrical, new applications are being designed every day. There is a great deal to learn from these examples and how they may apply to product development projects. Aluminum extrusions allow designers to manage a number of variables, such as alloy, temper, design, fabrication, and finishing to deliver unique solutions. Seeing other applications and the engineering behind them may open a world of options never otherwise imagined.

EDU ’18 will appeal to those working in the aluminum extrusion industry, as well as those utilizing extrusions in their components or products. One educational track will feature the best papers from the 2016 Extrusion Technology Seminar (ET ’16). These insightful papers were the best of the best from the world’s premier aluminum extrusion industry event.

From the heralded AEC Business Excellence program, the AEC Extrusion Excellence Course, led by Dr. Wojciech Z. Misiolek, director of the Loewy Institute at Lehigh University will be offered. In addition, the Aluminum Anodizers Council will conduct their popular Anodizing Essentials Workshop – Level 1. These two workshops will sell out early, so don’t delay in reserving your spot! Courses are CEU approved and eligible for professional development hours, including the seminar “Determining the Strength of Aluminum Extruded Members” by Randy Kissell, PE of Trinity Consultants.

At the end of the conference, an optional tour of Custom Aluminum Products in South Elgin, IL, is offered. This will give participants an excellent opportunity to walk through an operation that will provide an extrusion experience from “billet to box” at one of the finest facilities in the industry.

EDU ’18 will kick off with an opening night reception and networking event, sponsored by Light Metal Age, providing the opportunity to interact with fellow professionals and extrusion experts. An exhibit hall at EDU ’18 will feature extruders and their suppliers, highlighting their latest offerings.

The bottom line is that the experts present at EDU ’18 will provide the education, insights, and contacts necessary to advance product lines. In fact, 36% of AEC course takers reported that past courses had solved design problems for them and 67% reported that the courses had influenced future specification of extrusions. Extruders are in the business of providing solutions, so come to EDU ’18 and see what aluminum extrusions can do for you!

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Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the February 2018 issue of Light Metal Age. To read more articles from this issue, please subscribe.

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