Constellium Extrusions Dĕčín s.r.o. in the Czech Republic ordered a new continuous homogenizing furnace, including a helical ultrasonic testing station and billet saw for aluminum extrusion billets. The new furnace from Hertwich Engineering, a company of SMS group, will have a capacity of 9 tons/hour — considerably larger and more powerful than the 3 tons/hour furnace that was delivered in 2016.
The Dĕčín facility is part of the multinational Constellium network and is one of the leading manufacturers of aluminum extrusion products in Europe. The plant is particularly important as an integrated manufacturer and processor of hard and soft alloys, as well as a supplier of extruded, partially drawn tubes, bars, seamless and non-seamless profiles. Increasing demand, especially from the automotive industry, has prompted Constellium to expand the Dĕčín plant in several investment stages. Most recently, the facility completed an expansion in 2016, which included a new casthouse, a new indirect extrusion press line for production of hard alloy bars and profiles, a new drawing line, and a complete refurbishment of an existing extrusion line to meet increased demand for drawn bars.
The new homogenizing capacity is part of the current program, which is aimed at expanding extrusion capacity. For this purpose, a further extrusion plant is planned including a casthouse, for which Hertwich will supply the entire heat treatment in the form of a continuous homogenizing furnace.
The continuous homogenization process is particularly suitable for process for automation and uniform heating over the entire billet volume. After being lifted out of the casting pit, the billets are placed on a log entry table in front of the furnace to begin the continuous homogenizing operation. Arranged next to each other, the billets pass through the heating zone and the holding zone and are then transferred into the cooling station.
The new furnace has a capacity of 9 tons of aluminum billets per hour in diameters ranging between 250 and 385 mm with billet lengths of 4-7.5 m. As a special feature, the cooling station comes with an intensive noise insulation that drastically reduces the noise level.
The cooled billets are inspected by an ultrasonic testing station. In accordance with the high quality standard, a helical testing station is used at this point, in which two probes positioned in relation to each other are moved along the rotating log in axial direction. The control system stores any detected defects and removes them during the subsequent sawing process.
The inspected billets are transferred to the sawing station via automated conveyors, where head and butt ends are cut off and logs are divided into ready-to-use billets based on the specifications. Both, short billets (500 up to a maximum of 1,600 mm) or long billets (3,000 up to a maximum of 7,200 mm) can be produced. The strapping station downstream of the saw can bundle both short and long billets.
The new homogenizing furnace is scheduled to go into operation in the first half of 2019.