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Whitehall Industries Orders New Extrusion Press to Serve Automotive Industry

UACJ Automotive Whitehall Industries, based in Ludington, Michigan, placed an order for the supply a HybrEx®25 extrusion press from SMS group in response to a sharp growth in North American demand for automotive aluminum structural materials and parts. The 25 MN (2,750 UST) press will be the third SMS press for Whitehall and the first machine of this series for the North American aluminum market.

Whitehall Industries, which was acquired by UACJ Group in April 2016, produces complex precision profiles that are further processed into ready-to-install aluminum components for the automotive industry. Through extremely precise aluminum extrusion processing technology and a high level of productivity, the company has established a unique industry position for the provision of services unmatched by competitors. In addition to structural components, Whitehall Industries has a strong market share in the production of sunroof guides, convertible top components, and housings for hydraulic parts — profiles that are often challenging to manufacture, especially as they have to be made to very tight tolerances.

The HybrEx press will support the production of these profiles with its deflection-resistant, three-part triple-layer counter beam and the patented precision guide for the container and the moving crosshead provides the excellent conditions to achieve the tolerances required. In addition, the press incorporates a new hybrid drive technology that reduces energy consumption by up to 55% compared and can boost productivity by up to 20% compared to conventional extrusion presses.

“The new HybrEx press from SMS group is very resource-efficient,” said says Mike Wegener, Director of Manufacturing Engineering at Whitehall Industries. “That makes it sustainable, cost saving, and eco-friendly — and that is what convinced us.”

The extrusion machine is scheduled to commence operation on a trial basis in 2017, with full-fledged operations commencing in or after 2018. The structural materials the extrusion machine produces are slated for delivery primarily to automotive manufacturers in North America, enabling the company to respond precisely to surging demand for structural materials and machined parts.

SMS HybrEx Press
Rendering of an HybrEx press, which features a proprietary hybrid drive technology.

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