Like conventional aluminum extrusions, microextrusions are pushed through a die. Unlike conventional extrusions, the entire extrusion process is performed at a submillimeter level. In other words, the resulting product’s cross section can fit through a 1-millimeter square. Since microforming was first explored in 1990, several microextrusion processes have been developed and found to be especially valuable in the defense and aerospace industries.
“Taber was originally recognized for our large shapes and now we are establishing ourselves as microextruders. Since we’ve added microextrusions, friction stir welding, and billet casting, we’re pretty much spanning the gamut of aluminum extrusion competence,” says Jason Weber, VP of Sales and Marketing at Taber Extrusions. “We were already well-versed within the defense and aerospace markets but adding miniature aluminum extrusions to our capabilities has allowed us to become a one-stop shop for our customers in those industries. Our diversification has opened the door wide for our customers.”
Taber Extrusions has experienced many evolutions since its founding in the early 1970s. Established in Russellville, AR, Taber pioneered a process for extruding rectangular billet, able to extrude solid profiles up to 31 inches wide or hollows up to 29 inches. Since then, the Gulfport, MS facility was added, which increased Taber’s billet capacity, alloy range, and ability to reuse materials. Within the last decade, fabrication capabilities were upgraded, friction stir welding was added, and of course, microextrusions became an offering.
MICROEXTRUSIONS FOR DEFENSE AND AEROSPACE
For which type of end-use applications are Taber’s microextrusions being utilized?
Precision is a must for military, defense, and firearms manufacturing – requiring strength, complexity, and tight tolerances. Aluminum’s high strength-to-weight ratio makes it the ideal material for many defense product applications such as:
- Communications systems
- Electronics thermal management/enclosures
- Guidance systems
- Radar systems
- Weapons systems
- Firearms components and accessories
From the Wright brothers to NASA, aluminum has helped make it possible for humans to fly above the Earth onward to explore other galaxies. Aluminum’s minimal maintenance, lightweight with high strength, flexibility at low temperatures, and ability to engineer a wide range of functionality into components, makes it an obvious choice for solutions in aircraft and aerospace. For the most part, microextrusions function out of site and you’ll never know they are all around you. However, they serve a crucial role in aerospace:
- Interior aircraft systems
- Supplemental oxygen systems
- Electrical/Communication Systems
- Passenger Comfort Systems
- Coolant radiators
- Oil coolers
- Transmission coolers
- AC condensers
- Passenger service systems
- Other fluid/gas systems
As aluminum has played an important role in the defense and aerospace applications for many years, a new generation of aluminum-lithium alloys are offering aircraft manufacturers even more savings when it comes to weight and fuel. Beyond aluminum’s high strength-to-weight ratio and excellent formability, its anticorrosive properties make it a top choice. When aluminum is exposed to air, it forms a hard microscopic oxide coating, sealing it from the environment. This tight oxide bond is a compound not found in nature, but an aluminum alloy created to provide a long-lasting protective solution. These unique properties allow microextrusion manufacturers like Taber Extrusions to furnish extremely strong, precise, and long-lasting miniature extrusions to end users in a wide range of markets.
Taber’s Miniature Extrusion Capabilities
- Up to 0.8 In2 cross sectional area
- Special cases down to 0.075 In2
- Profile circle size up to 3″
- Minimum wall thickness possible to 0.010” (select cases)
- Key characteristic tolerances possible ±0.001” (select cases)
More About Taber Extrusions:
Founded in 1973, Taber Extrusions originally pioneered a process for extruding rectangular billet which enables the company to extrude solid profiles up to 31 inches wide or hollows up to 29 inches. Taber expanded with the purchase of an extrusion facility in Gulfport, MS, in 1995 which houses a new state-of-the-art cast house and two additional presses, microextrusion capabilities, and the fabrication area has been expanded multiple times.
Taber continues to extrude billet in a wide range of alloys and sizes and has diversified its markets beyond military since its inception to include aerospace, automotive, marine, infrastructure, and sporting goods, among many others. For these markets, the company supplies cast and extruded products in a variety of soft and hard alloys.
Today, Taber Extrusions has completed the addition of in-house friction stir welding capabilities, and carries on their offering of extruded aluminum components, value-added machining services, and raw material supply to the North American market – making them a vertically integrated supplier of FSW panels and assemblies never before seen in North America.
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