Aluminum Extrusion Leader Taber Extrusions Looks Ahead
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.
2018 NMLP Safety Award
Taber Extrusions took home National Material L.P.’s 2018 Safety Excellence Award for exceptional safety management at their Russellville, Arkansas facility.
Taber’s safety management system includes:
- Perpetual assessment & evaluation of existing safety policies
- Process & workflow analysis
- Establishment of safety work procedures
- Safety training & meetings
- Safety inspections
- Maintenance regimens of plants, equipment, and processes
- Identification of hazards & hazard analysis
- Facilitation of occupational health programs
- Emergency preparedness
- 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.
“I couldn’t be happier to assist Arkansas businesses reduce their power consumption by energy efficient measures. Every project that CLEAResult assists a customer with is a positive step in their energy reduction,” says Taylor Dumas, West Regional Account Manager at Entergy Arkansas Energy Solutions Program. “The Taber Extrusions project is one that greatly reduced power consumption, increases machine efficiency, and makes Taber Extrusions a ‘greener’ business by completing this project.”
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.
The addition of friction stir welding illustrates how Taber has proven itself to be dedicated to the technological advances in the industry, economic development, and job production. The line enables the company to be a vertically integrated supplier of FSW panels and assemblies in North America, with capabilities including aluminum extrusions, fabrication, billet casting, and micro-extrusions.
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!