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Title:
DEVICE AND METHOD FOR PRESSING A PLASTICALLY DEFORMABLE BLANK
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2001/060582
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention concerns a device and a method for continuous pressing of a plastically deformable blank (15) into a three-dimensional section with a predetermined cross-sectional area, comprising a substantially cylindrical, fixed die (10), an opening formed in the die (11), through which the plastic blank (15) is intended to be pressed, and at least one rotary die (12) arranged adjacent to the opening (11), the rotary die having one or more recesses in its peripheral surface for forming the blank, during the rotation of the die, into at three-dimensional section with transverse sectional parts. According to the invention, said rotary die (12) is arranged immediately downstream of said opening (11), whereby the blank is reducible, when passing through said opening, substantially down to said predetermined cross-sectional area, and formable, when passing said rotary die (12), thereby determining the final shape of the three-dimensional section. Furthermore, the device is compatible with conventional extrusion machines in order to allow rapid switching of tools with no need for expensive production stop-pages.

Inventors:
Jansson, Mark (Barnhemsgatan 38 Borås, S-506 48, SE)
Application Number:
PCT/SE2001/000290
Publication Date:
August 23, 2001
Filing Date:
February 14, 2001
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MARKRAM DEVELOPMENT AB (Fabriksgatan 10 Borås, S-503 38, SE)
Jansson, Mark (Barnhemsgatan 38 Borås, S-506 48, SE)
International Classes:
B21H8/00; B21C23/00; B21C23/14; B21C25/00; B21C25/02; B21C25/08; B21J5/06; B21J13/02; (IPC1-7): B29C47/12; B29C47/24
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AWAPATENT AB (Box 11394 S- Göteborg, 404 28, SE)
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A device for continuous pressing of a plastically deformable blank (15) into a threedimensional section with a predetermined crosssectional area, comprising a fixed die (10; 110; 210; 310) with an opening (11) formed therein, through which the plastically deformable blank (15) is intended to be pressed, and at least one rotary die (12; 312), arranged adjacent to the opening (11) and having one or more recesses in its peripheral surface for forming the blank into a threedimensional section with transverse sectional parts during the rotation of the die, c h a r a c t e r i s e d in that said rotary die (12,312) is arranged immediately downstream of said opening (11), the blank being re ducible, when passing through said opening (11), down to substantially said predetermined crosssectional area, and then being formable, when passing said rotary die (12,312), thereby determining the final shape of the threedimensional section.
2. A device according to claim 1, wherein the blank is reducible, when passing through said opening (11), down to between 100 % and 130 % of said predetermined crosssectional area.
3. A device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein a cavity (20) located next to one side of the opening (11) is formed in said fixed die (10; 110; 210; 310), and wherein said rotary die (12; 312) is mounted in bearings in the cavity (20), thereby being rotatable around an axis (C) extending transversely of the pressing direction (A).
4. A device according to claim 3, wherein said ro tary die (12; 312) is axially mounted in bearings with a limited axial play.
5. A device according to claim 4, wherein said ro tary die (12; 312) is fixedly arranged on a shaft (23) mounted in bearings in the cavity (20), said shaft having a limited axial play.
6. A device according to claim 5, wherein a portion (23a) of the shaft (23), said portion extending through the rotary die (12; 312), is made of a material with a higher thermal expansion coefficient than the rotary die (12; 312), so that said shaft portion (23a), when the die and the shaft are heated during pressing, expands more than said die, which is thereby secured to the shaft (23).
7. A device according to claim 3, wherein said fixed die (10; 110; 210; 310) further comprises a recess (29) upstream of the opening (11), intended to cause a first crosssectional reduction of the blank (15), the recess being substantially formed on the side of the opening (11) opposite to the cavity.
8. A device according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising means (40) for varying the crosssectional area of the opening (11) immediately up stream of the rotary die (12; 312).
9. A device according to claim 8, wherein the rotary die is mounted on the shaft (23) slightly offset relative to the shaft centre (X2), which permits pressing of sec tions of varying cross section.
10. A device according to claim 9, wherein said means (40) for varying the crosssectional area are syn chronised with the rotary die (12).
11. A device according to claims 810, wherein said means for varying the crosssectional area consist of at least one supporting surface (40) moveable transversely of the pressing direction (A).
12. A device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said rotary die (312) is arranged to be lockable in a predetermined position.
13. A device according to claim 12, wherein said ro tary die (312) has smooth portions (45) which, in the locked position, are oriented towards the blank (15), so that, in this position, the blank passes the locked die (312) to form a smooth sectional segment.
14. A device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the rotary die (12; 312) is driven.
15. A method for pressing a plastically deformable blank (15) into a threedimensional section with a pre determined crosssectional area, the blank being pressed past at least one rotary die (12; 312) having one or more recesses in its peripheral surface, so that the blank is formed by the rotation of the die, thereby determining the final shape of the threedimensional section, c h a r a c t e r i s e d in that the blank is caused to pass an opening (11) immedi ately upstream of said rotary die (12; 312), whereby the blank (15), when passing through said opening (11), is substantially reduced down to said predetermined cross sectional area.
16. A method according to claim 15, wherein the crosssectional area of the opening (11) is varied ac cording to the shape of the rotary die (12; 312) and the predetermined crosssectional area of the threedimen sional section.
17. A method according to claim 15 or 16, wherein the rotary die (12; 312) is locked in a predetermined position, so that, while the rotary die is locked, the blank (15) is pressed into a section without transverse sectional parts.
Description:
DEVICE AND METHOD FOR PRESSING A PLASTICALLY DEFORMABLE BLANK Technical Field The present invention relates to a device and a method for continuous pressing of a plastically deform- able blank, for example made of a metal, into a three- dimensional section with a predetermined cross-sectional area, comprising a fixed die with an opening formed in the die, through which the plastically deformable blank is intended to be pressed, and at least one rotary die arranged, adjacent to the opening, around an axis ex- tending transversely of the press direction, the die having one or more recesses in its peripheral surface for forming the blank into a three-dimensional section with transverse sectional parts during the rotation of the rotary die.

Technical Background In continuous pressing of a plastically deformable blank, for example a heated metal such as aluminium, so- called extrusion, the blank passes an opening with a desired cross-sectional area, thereby forming a section whose longitudinal cross-section is constant. There is a great need for continuous manufacture of sections with transverse sectional parts, such as racks, hollow sec- tions, etc.

International Patent Specification W097/12745 dis- closes a method and a device invented by the present in- ventor, which aim at allowing extrusion of sections with sectional parts protruding transversely of the section.

According to this publication, a rotary die is arranged to constitute part of the opening through which the blank is pressed. As the cross-sectional area of the blank is being reduced, the rotating die simultaneously forms it.

The rotary die can be designed to produce transverse bars

in the section, or to form a raised or embedded company name in the section.

The difference compared to various types of die stamping with rotating elements is to be noted, illus- trated for example in DE 42101746, where only a very limited forming of the blank takes place. When shaping according to the above technique, as referred to by the present invention, the rotating die forms part of the actual extrusion process.

The application of this technique in existing, largely standardised, press facilities such as hydraulic pressing plants, screw extruders, conform extrusion machines, etc, was previously impossible. Facilities of said type usually comprise a tool arrangement of the type shown in Fig. 2, with a support 5 for a substantially cylindrical tool 3 comprising a fixed die 1. There is not much space around this tool, and the forces generated during the pressing are very strong.

Furthermore, it is very important that the number of production stoppages be reduced, since the cost of un- exploited machine capacity is very high. It is, there- fore, desirable that tools can be changed rapidly accord- ing to pressing needs.

Since Patent Specification W097/12745 was published, the need for sections with a cross-sectional area that varies longitudinally has arisen, i. e. a section having not only transverse sectional parts such as bars, but also a varying cross-section or material thickness along the continuous section.

Summary of the Invention The object of the present invention is to provide a device for pressing three-dimensional sections, which is easy to apply to moulds according to prior art, with no need for major adjustments.

This object is achieved by means of a device and a method of the type described by way of introduction, wherein said rotary die is arranged immediately down-

stream of said opening, whereby the blank is reduced when passing through said opening (11) to substantially the predetermined cross-sectional area, and then formed when passing said rotary die, thereby determining the final shape of the three-dimensional section.

Unlike prior art, the area of the blank is thus re- duced substantially down to its final cross-sectional area upstream of the rotating die, whereby the forces acting on the rotating die can be minimised. This results in manageable bearing forces, which allows the bearings of the rotary die to be contained in the fixed die. The expression"substantially down to"means primarily down to between 100 % and 130 % of the final pre-determined cross-sectional area.

The blank meets with the rotating die radially within its average radius. In this way, some area reduc- tion still takes place at the rotating die, and thus a certain acceleration of the blank occurs during this pas- sage while at the same time the material fills cavities in the rotating die.

The expression"immediately downstream of"means that the rotary die is located so close to the opening that the pressure of the pressing is used in the shaping done by the rotating die. If the distance is too long, for example several times the across corner dimension of the section, the blank will self-lock adjacent to the rotating die because of the friction caused upstream against the supporting surfaces when the rotating die is in a pressing phase.

The rotary die is preferably mounted in bearings in a transverse cavity formed next to the opening, thereby being rotatable around an axis extending transversely of the pressing direction.

This design of the fixed die allows a space-effi- cient location of the rotary die within the machine. Fur- thermore, this construction means that the rotary die is easily accessible, since it is relatively easy to loosen

and remove the tool in a normal compression moulding machine. Thus, the device can be designed so as to be compatible with conventional extruding machines in order to allow rapid changing of tools without the need for ex- pensive production stoppages.

By forming a cavity in the fixed die, the space is used as much as is possible, and, in addition, a smaller amount of toughened material is needed for the fixed die, which reduces the cost.

The rotary die is preferably mounted in bearings with a certain axial play. This play allows some thermal expansion of the rotating die without causing any jam- ming.

The rotary die may be fixedly arranged on a shaft mounted in bearings in the cavity, the shaft having a limited axial play. Thus, owing to this construction the shaft is axially guided by the rotary die. Since the shaft and its bearings are arranged in the fixed die, this constitutes a unit in which the rotary die is arranged, the unit being easily replaceable. Moreover, the shaft may be relatively short, which results in a favourable load take-up capacity and less load on the bearings.

A shaft portion extending through the rotary die can be made of a material with a higher thermal expansion coefficient than the rotary die, so that said shaft por- tion, when the rotary die and the shaft are heated during pressing, expands more than the rotary die, which is thereby secured to the shaft. By using this technique to secure the rotary die, the need for securing elements in the shaft and the die is eliminated.

The opening preferably comprises a recess in the fixed die on the upstream side, which is intended to cause a first cross-sectional reduction of the material, the recess being substantially formed on the side of the opening opposite to the cavity. By forming the recess in this way, there is less stress on the fixed die at the

cavity in which the rotary die is arranged. In a tradi- tional type of tool, where the corresponding recess usu- ally is symmetrical, the material around the cavity may become too thin.

According to a second aspect of the invention, the device further comprises means for varying the cross-sec- tional area immediately upstream of the rotary die. In other words, the fixed die is arranged to have an opening with a variable cross section. Thus, the amount of mate- rial pressed against the rotary die may be varied, suit- ably according to the shape of the rotary die.

The peripheral surface of the rotary die may, for example, present sectors with varying radius, which per- mits pressing of sections with varying cross-sectional area.

By"peripheral surface"is here meant the normally circular-cylindrical surface in which different kinds of recesses or protrusions have been made for forming the sections, for example the surface that is made up by the pitch radius of a gear wheel. The fact that the radius of the peripheral surface varies could mean, for example, an oval-shaped die (such as a gear wheel with varying pitch radius), or that the shaft is arranged in connection with the rotary die slightly offset relative to the centre of the die. This would result in a section, whose continuous material thickness would vary cyclically, which is desir- able when manufacturing a beam with varying strength.

The means for varying the cross-sectional area are suitably synchronised with the rotary die and may consist of supporting surfaces moveable transversely of the pres- sing direction.

According to a third aspect of the invention, the rotary die is arranged to be lockable in a predetermined position. Thus, the rotary, moveable die may be locked, and thereby essentially converted into a fixed die. Pres- sing may now take place, either by passing one rotary die

or by passing one or more fixed dies, which offers improved possibilities of varying the pressed sections.

The rotary die may suitably have smooth sectors, which in the locked position face the blank, so that, in this position, the blank passes the locked die for form- ing a smooth sectional segment. By orienting a smooth sector so that it faces the blank when locking the rotary die, the forces acting on the rotary die in the locked position are minimised. Locking the rotary die in a posi- tion where recesses or protrusions are oriented so that they face the blank would in fact require a great locking force and would, in addition, mean a risk of loose pieces forming in the cavities of the die during pressing.

Brief Description of the Drawings The present invention will be described in more de- tail below with reference to the accompanying drawings, which by way of example illustrate preferred embodiments of the invention.

Fig. 1 is a schematic representation of an example of an extruding machine.

Fig. 2 is an exploded view of a tool arrangement in an extruding machine.

Fig. 3 is a rear perspective view of a die according to a first embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 4 is a front perspective view of the die in Fig. 3.

Fig. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the die in Fig. 3.

Fig. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the die in Fig. 3 along the line VI-VI in Fig. 5.

Fig. 7 is a partly exploded view of a die according to a second embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 8 is a cross-sectional side view of the die in Fig. 7.

Figs 9a, b are cross-sectional views of a die ac- cording to a further embodiment of the invention, with the rotary die in two different positions.

Figs 10a, b are cross-sectional views of a die ac- cording to a further embodiment of the invention, with the rotary die in two different positions.

Description of a Preferred Embodiment Fig. 1 is a rough schematic representation of a machine intended for extrusion of metals such as alu- minium, which have been heated to a plastically deform- able state, wherein a ram 6 is arranged by means of hydraulic actuators 8 to press a blank 15 towards a tool arrangement 7.

Fig. 2 is an exploded view of the tool arrangement 7. The tool arrangement comprises a die 1 which, together with a supporting element 2, is arranged in a annular die holder 3 located in front of one or more rear members 4 in a tool support 5 (also called"horseshoe"). The die 1 and the supporting element 2 can be replaced by a device according to the invention, or alternatively the dimen- sions of the die 10 according to the invention may be such that also the die holder 3 is excluded from the tool arrangement.

A die unit according to a first embodiment of the invention is shown in Figs 3-6. The die unit comprises a substantially cylindrical, fixed die 10 with an opening 11 and a rotary die 12. A blank 15 is intended to be pressed through the opening 11 in a pressing direction A.

A second opening 17 is defined between the rotary die 12 and an opposite, preferably plane, supporting surface 18 in the material of the fixed die 10. According to the in- vention, the first opening 11 has a cross-sectional area that is substantially the same as the cross-sectional area of the second opening 17.

The blank 15 passing the opening 11 is brought in contact with the rotary die 12 approximately on a level with its inside radius rl, preferably slightly within the radius rl. If a rotary die 12 in the form of a gear wheel 19 is used, as in the example shown, rl designates the pitch radius of the gear wheel, which makes up a peri-

pheral surface from which the gear teeth 21 extend. It is important, regardless of the shape of the die 12, for the blank to hit the die on such a level that the blank 15 is plastically deformed when passing the rotating die 12.

The deformation of the blank 15 is shown in more detail in the enlarged view in Fig. 6.

With reference primarily to Fig. 5, it is shown how the rotary die 12 is rotatable around an axis C. More particularly, it is fixedly mounted on a shaft 23 mounted in bearings in a cavity 20 in the fixed die 10. The cav- ity 20 consists essentially of a transverse boring 25a-c formed beside the centre axis B of the die and extending transversely of the pressing direction A. The boring 25a- c has a larger cross section in the areas 25a, 25b, at the respective ends, close to the edge of the die unit.

Immediately inside these areas, the cross section of the boring is smaller, getting larger again, finally, in the most central part 25c. In the areas 25a, 25b, two bear- ings 26 are arranged, for example roller bearings or slide bearings, through which the shaft 23 extends over the whole length of the boring. The die 12 is arranged in the central area 25c and fixed laterally by axial bear- ings 27 arranged in the area 25c.

In the example shown, means for cooling the bearings 26 are arranged in the die unit. The means comprise a ceramic body 22 that is fitted axially outside each bear- ing, a seal 24 located outside the body 22, and a supply conduit 12 for a cooling agent, such as nitrogen or the like.

The die 12 is suitably made of a material with a lower thermal expansion coefficient than at least the central shaft portion 23a on which it is applied. In this way, the die 12 is effectively secured when the tempera- ture of the whole die rises as a result of the extrusion.

With reference to Fig. 3, which is a front perspec- tive view of the fixed die 10, i. e. as seen from the point from which the blank 15 is pressed, the opening 11

comprises a recess 29 in the die, the recess causing a first reduction of the area when pressing. This counter- sink 29 is assymetrically shaped in relation to the centre axis B of the die, and the major part of it is located on the side opposite to the cavity 20. Shaping the recess 29 this way minimises those portions 31 of the die that are weakened, in the pressing direction A, both by the cavity 20 and the recess 29 (see Fig. 6).

It appears from Fig. 4 that the cavity 20 also has an orifice 30 on the front of the fixed die 10, through which the rotary die 12 is visible. The rotary die 12 is mounted by being inserted through the orifice 30, and then by the shaft 23 being inserted through the boring 25 and through the rotary die 12.

According to a second embodiment (Figs 7-8) of the invention, a fixed die 110 comprises two rotary dies 12, 12', each arranged on a shaft 23,23'in a boring 25, 25'. This construction permits pressing of sections that are profiled both on the upper side and on the underside.

The two dies may be synchronised with each other in any appropriate way, for example by providing gear wheels to join the shafts 23,23'. Through the synchronisation the distribution of the load take-up between the dies 12, 12'is improved.

The fixed die 110 further comprises a core die 33 fixedly arranged on the die 110 and extending through the opening 11, the opening being divided in two openings 11, 11', thereby permitting pressing of a hollow section. The core die 33, as shown in the perspective view of Fig. 7, comprises, in the embodiment shown, a cruciform portion 34, intended to be fixedly arranged on the die with the aid of fixing means 35 such as bolts, and an elongated portion 36 intended to extend, once the core die is arranged on the die, through the opening 11 as far as or past the centre of the rotary dies. The side 37 of the core die facing the rotary die 12 thereby replaces the above mentioned supporting surface 18 as the element de-

fining the opening 17 while at the same time the opposite side 37'defines a second opening 17'.

According to another embodiment of the invention, as shown in Figs 9a-b, a fixed die 210 comprises a moveable supporting surface 40 in connection with the rotary die 12. The movable supporting surface 40 is controlled by actuators 42 via link means 41, only schematically illus- trated in Figs 9a-b, and is arranged to adjust the open- ing 11 depending on the size of the opening 17 between the rotary die 12 and the core die 33 (alternatively the supporting surface 18 in the absence of the core die 33).

As shown in Figs 9a and 9b, the supporting surface 40 may be moved between a first starting position (Fig. 9a), in which the opening 11 is essentially the same as in the previously described embodiments, and a second lowered position (Fig. 9b), in which the opening 11 is reduced.

This arrangement might be necessary, or at least advanta- geous, in situations where the peripheral surface of the rotary die has a varying radius, for example when the ro- tating die 12 consists of an oval gear wheel.

In the die 210 shown in Figs 9a-b the rotary die 12 is of the same type as in the above examples, but ar- ranged on the shaft 23 slightly offset from the shaft centre. Thus, as illustrated in Fig. 9a, the material of the pressed section gets a larger cross section T1 when the centre X1 of the rotary die is located above the shaft centre X2 whereas, as illustrated in Fig. 9b, the material of the pressed section gets a smaller cross sec- tion T2 when the centre X1 of the rotary die is located below the shaft centre X2. The purpose of arranging the supporting surface 40 to reduce the opening 11 in Fig. 9b is to adapt the cross-sectional area of the blank 15 pressed towards the opening 17 to the altered cross sec- tions.

Another situation when a moveable supporting surface may be suitable is when using a die 310 as shown in Figs l0a-b. This die is provided with a rotary die 312 having

smooth portions 45, which take up an angle sector that is several times bigger than the usual protrusions (gear teeth). In the example shown, a smooth portion 45 is formed in the rotary die 312 taking up about 30 degrees of the circumference of the die 312. In Fig. lOa pressing is performed in the same way as described above, with the supporting surface 40 in the starting position. In Fig. lOb, however, the smooth portion has reached the opening 17, which is thus given a reduced cross-sectional area.

In order to achieve a satisfactory extrusion also in this position, the supporting surface 40 is moved to a lowered position by the actuator 42, whereby the opening 11 is reduced.

Furthermore, the die 312 in Figs lOa-b may be ar- ranged to be lockable in the position shown in Fig. lOb.

When the die is in this locked position a straight sec- tion without transverse sectional parts can be extruded between the smooth portion 45 of the die 312 and the core die 33, alternatively the supporting surface 18.

It is to be noted that Figs 9 and 10 are only in- tended to illustrate the principle behind the described embodiments. A person skilled in the art realises that several of the distances shown in the Figures do not correspond to reality, for example in the case of the inclination of the supporting surface 40, which is ex- aggerated in order to facilitate understanding. As a consequence of this exaggeration also the distance between the supporting surface and the rotating die 12, 312 is slightly too long.

The rotary dies described above may be arranged, as appropriate, to be driven, thereby adding extra power to the extrusion process. A person skilled in the art can provide this drive, for example by connecting the shaft 23,23'to a driven shaft arranged in the tool support 5.

In particular, this drive may be advantageous when press- ing sections with varying material thickness, for example as shown in Figs 9a, 9b.

It will be appreciated that details of the embodi- ments shown in the Figures and described above can be combined in an optional way. For example, the core die 33 shown in Figs 8,9a-b and l0a-b may be excluded when pressing solid sections. The number of rotary dies may vary in all embodiments, and it is mainly for the sake of clarity that most Figures show only one die.