Heat treatment of aluminium ingots is at the heart of our production and is what makes alimex products unique. In our annealing hall, we give aluminium special properties.
Heat treatment – essential for stress-free aluminium
In October 2017, we commissioned one of the largest annealing furnaces in Europe at our site in Willich. This optimises heat treatment – because up to 550 tonnes of aluminium can be treated in a single production process. As the furnace is mobile, it can be moved on rails so that the next annealing material in the process can be packed into the annealing point while the annealing process takes place at another annealing point. By annealing within sophisticated parameters, we free the aluminium from stresses, preparing it for further production processes. Removing as much as stress as possible is essential in the further processing of aluminium, as it guarantees the dimensional stability of the aluminium products.
Extensive aluminium expertise at alimex
“In aluminium, we are dealing with a very sensitive metal. That makes heat treatment very complex. Even temperature fluctuations of 10 degrees Celsius can cause changes in the structure”, explains José Ceballos, Head of Research & Development. alimex has therefore been researching this technique for over 30 years and has established unique operational knowledge. We were able to incorporate this knowledge into the engineering of the new annealing furnace. This means that we can adjust precisely to the nature of the base material and the properties desired for the final material to optimally define the heat treatment process.
With heat treatment, alimex makes use of the special material properties of aluminium: this enables our customers to exploit the material properties of aluminium that they need. Alimex heat-treated aluminium, for example, has a particularly constant hardness.
Stress-free aluminium for a wide variety of industries
Its special material properties make our aluminium interesting for a range of industries and high-tech applications. For example, our dimensionally stable material was used to produce ACP5080 parabolic mirrors for space observation in the Atacama Desert. As a result of its exceptional dimensional stability, it can withstand temperature fluctuations up to 40 degrees Celsius. alimex aluminium is also found in high-precision components for vacuum chambers, which must meet the highest demands in terms of dimensional accuracy and stability – therefore, it is also extremely important to make the material as stress-free as possible in the annealing process here.
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