As Taber Extrusions launches into 2020, we thought we’d take a look back at the last several years and the many ways Taber has progressed within the aluminum extrusion industry. Among many changes, Taber added an upgraded casthouse, expanded into micro extrusions; received various awards, began friction stir welding, and brought on a new business director. This has been a very exciting time, and we invite you to learn more about the innovations that are shaping endless possibilities in 2020 and beyond.
Not long ago in 2017, Taber upgraded to their aluminum casthouse in Gulfport, MS. which integrates casting, extrusion, and in-house fabrication services. With this upgrade, Taber opened up opportunities in a variety of markets, with the sale of cast billet to outside extruders. With this casthouse, Taber is targeting aerospace, automotive, and defense industries, all of which utilize aluminum at an accelerated rate. Taber’s new products are suitable for current and future U.S. infrastructure projects, such as the construction and improvement of bridges, decking, flooring, and railing for mass transportation projects.
Partnering with Almex USA, Taber developed a customized solution to meet Taber’s unique requirements and specifications. Almex supplied new equipment, including a casting line with a degassing and melt purification system, billet and slab tooling, automation technology, and a complete homogenizing line, as well as a new cooling water system.
Benefits to Taber’s aluminum casthouse upgrade:
Increased Production. The CASTRIGHT II™ casting machine and new billet and slab tooling stations were adapted to fit the circular pit, and the casting tables were modified to have an oval shape with unique headbase configurations. Excel™ and Optima™ billet mold systems were installed for various sized billets. The quantity of billet produced with each cast has been enlarged, allowing increased production per drop.
Quality Control. A large part of Taber’s consideration during this upgrade was quality control. Taber now has a level pour (or, hot-top) mold table distribution system and a way to optimize mold lengths for consistent billet quality. Taber’s goal was safety and alloy versatility for high performance and yield, from conventional to the most demanding alloys. For the larger diameter aerospace grade products, Almex installed specialized water wiping technology in order to manufacture difficult to cast materials without the formation of stresses or cracks. With the new casting line, Taber increased monitoring and automation, and now has computer control of all critical casting and degassing parameters. Operators now interact with the system through an integrated SCADA control panel installed on the plant floor in order to monitor the correct mixture of several ingredients that make up the casting recipe. At the end of each cast, the system automatically generates a complete report of the heat number for reference and archival by quality control personnel. With this new system, Taber has not only achieved a greater level of quality control, but process transparency and product traceability.
Accuracy and Precision. An internally guided and double acting platen cylinder was installed, which has more loading capacity, guiding accuracy, and precision speed control (needed for hard alloys).
Consistency and Strength. The new casting line also includes a LARS® in-line degassing and purification system that refines and cleans the melt prior to casting. The LARS system mixes inert argon gas and a halogen gas into the molten aluminum through Almex’s patented in-situ gas preheating disperser system. This significantly reduces hydrogen and other impurities commonly found in liquid aluminum, including inclusions, nitrides, oxides, and alkali metals and also increases recovery through a minimal amount of dross creation. This high quality of the molten metal is, thus, dependably strong and consistent.
Environmentally Friendly. Taber rebuilt and integrated its water management system, which provides increased visibility of the water flow, temperature, quality, and maintenance. Water is discharged in a safe and controlled manner.
Ultra Precision® Extrusions
In 2018, Taber added micro extrusion capabilities into their portfolio. Micro-extrusions are used in a number of industries, such as electronics, aerospace, medical, industrial, and military. The addition of small precision profiles will allow Taber to better serve existing customers and future partners such as – defense contractors, commercial aerospace engineers, and electronics designers.
The micro-extrusion manufacturing lines have a production envelope with a circle size of 3 inches or less and a weight per foot of 1 lb. or less. Unlike traditional extrusion presses, these micro-extrusion presses are built in such a way to allow for the production of extrusions with wall thicknesses of 0.010 inches and tolerance capabilities of +/- 0.001 inches. This allows designers and engineers the freedom to engineer profiles that are impossible to extrude through conventional presses.
The addition of ultra precision® extrusions allows the company to enhance its business to provide a wider range of profile sizes and competencies which blend beautifully with the various sectors already being served by Taber.
Perpetual assessment & evaluation of existing safety policies
Process & workflow analysis
Establishment of safety work procedures
Safety training & meetings
Maintenance regimens of plants, equipment, and processes
Identification of hazards & hazard analysis
Facilitation of occupational health programs
Documentation control & management reviews
2019 Taber Extrusions Recognized by Russellville for Energy Savings Excellence
Taber Extrusions created a plan to reduce power consumption by implementing energy efficient measures while participating in the Entergy Arkansas Energy Solutions Program assisted by CLEAResult consulting company.
Taber’s commitment to energy savings still holds strong as they push forward into the future, making environmental accountability part of their company culture.
Friction Stir Welding Technology
In 2019, Taber installed a new friction stir welding (FSW) line at its Russellville, Arkansas, manufacturing facility. Sometimes described as more of a forging process than actual welding – FSWis a solid-state joining technique used to join metals not easily fused with traditional welding. It is used in the aerospace, rail, automotive, marine, transportation, and other industries that use metals such as aluminum, copper and other metal alloys. The new FSW line that welds large, double-sided thick profiles, uses minimal cycles of the machine, which make it both efficient and precise. FSW also makes possible very high-quality welds with minimal distortion.
Already known for their wide range of capabilities, both broad and unique, the mayor of Russellville, Richard Harris, thanked Taber for choosing Russellville as their location, “The fact that you chose to expand and add new technology here is the highest compliment you can give the city and citizens where you live and work. Economic development and job creation is one of our top priorities. We congratulate Taber on this advancement.”
Jeffrey Bladow: Director of New Business Development
Taber’s rapid growth initiated the presence of Jeffrey Bladow, the company’s recently appointed Director of New Business Development. Hired to help lead business growth and assist in building strategy, Bladow has spent over 25 years in automotive design and manufacturing. He also has experience in structure design, high strength steel applications, and the launch of large capital projects. Like Taber, Bladow is comfortable solving multi-faceted problems. In his management style, Bladow encourages “critical thinking, continuous improvement, and a no-fear approach to growing and entering new markets.” Taber feels lucky to have Jeffrey Bladow ushering us into a new decade.
At Taber we believe the possibilities are endless. We believe in the future.
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 cast house and two additional presses, and multiple expansions of value added fabrication services. Taber continues to extrude billet in a wide range of alloys and sizes, including 7″billet molds, 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 extruded products in a variety of soft and hard alloys. In 2018, Taber added ultra-precision extrusions to their capabilities allowing them to further serve customers in electronics, computer, and medical industries. Today Taber is proud to announce yet another exciting launch into friction stir welding. Call us at (888) 984-9866, or request a quote today!
Friction stir welding is the method of joining two pieces of metal with no extra filler or material by subjecting the components to heavy plastic deformation, at elevated temperatures, that are still lower than the melting point. A rotating tool is thrusted between the components and, as friction heat is generated, the tool produces a severe plastic deformation under high pressure, at which time the weld interfaces are stirred together, and a homogenous structure is formed, creating a defect-free bond.
Why Friction Stir Welding?
FSW is a method of welding that is being used as an alternative method to fusion welding and other types of arc welding.
FSW vs. Fusion Welding – FSW offers three key benefits over fusion welding: metallurgical, environmental, and energy. The metallurgical benefits include: low distortion of workpiece (fine microstructure, absence of cracking), good dimensional stability, and no loss of alloying elements. The environmental benefits include: no shielding gas required, no surface cleaning required, elimination of solvents required for degreasing, and consumable materials savings. The energy benefits include: improved material use (joining different thickness), only 2.5% of energy needed for a laser weld, and decreased fuel consumption in light weight, automotive, and ship applications. FSW is then, specifically because of its environmental and energy benefits, a more cost-effective method of welding. It is also a more economical choice due to low set up and training costs.
FSW vs. Other Types of Arc Welding – The joining of aluminum extrusions in friction stir welding is a process that can be easily automated, making it an ideal solution for industrial use in manufacturing services such as the marine, aerospace, automotive, transportation, and rail industries. FSW welds have effectively been used in the marine industries in the fish freezer panels of ships, on the deck panels of helicopter landing platforms on ships, and it has been used in various amphibious assault ships. In aerospace, FSW has been used for structures such as the fuselage, fins, and wings that require high-strength aluminum alloys. In the automotive industries, FSW is used for aluminum engine cradles and suspension struts, as well as rear seats and exhaust gas recirculation coolers. The railway industry has utilized FSW to make roof and floor panels, as well as heat sinks for cooling the high-power electronics of locomotives.
In military and defense, aluminum alloys are used as armor due to the combination of high ballistic performance and static strength that traditionally use MIG, gas metal arc, and tungsten arc welding. The reasons for the transition to FSW over the aforementioned arc welds are many — MIG welds cause stress corrosion at the weld toe, exfoliation occurring in the solution treatment, low ductility in butt welds, and liquidation due to the formation of low-melting point grain boundary. FSW welds are also more likely to pass the ballistic shock test.
Why FSW at Taber? New Aluminum Joining Techniques at Taber
In April of 2019, Taber Extrusions of Russellville, AR and Gulfport, MS announced the addition of Friction Stir Welding, “FSW,” capabilities to our existing portfolio which currently includes aluminum extrusions, fabrication, billet casting, and micro-extrusions. With the addition of in-house FSW capabilities, Taber is now a vertically integrated supplier of FSW panels and assemblies.
Taber’s engineering and manufacturing teams collaborated with Bond Technologies to create a custom Linear Seam machine. Taber’s new FSW machine is capable of welding large, double-sided thick profiles with minimal cycles of the machine; less cycles means greater efficiency and more precise results.
Taber offers quality custom extrusion design and advanced microextrusion capabilities and we are committed to providing our clients durable products that are both ecologically sound and cost effective. We chose FSW as a high-tech, alternative method to ensure a fast turn-around time, thereby reducing time to market.
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 cast house and two additional presses, and multiple expansions of value added fabrication services.
Taber continues to extrude billet in a wide range of alloys and sizes, including 7″billet molds, 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 extruded products in a variety of soft and hard alloys. In 2018, Taber added ultra-precision extrusions to their capabilities allowing them to further serve customers in electronics, computer, and medical industries. Today Taber is proud to announce yet another exciting launch into Friction Stir Welding.