Global production line powerhouse MGG chooses aluminum for both weight and strength
By Editorial Board
Loris Maestrutti (MGG’s CEO): “The structure is made from extruded profiles in aluminum alloys that ensure both durability and lightness.”
In the new, Industry 4.0 landscape of automated production lines, aluminum and its alloys are essential metals for advanced industrial manufacturing of products like brushes.
MGG, a global leader in automated production lines, knows that automated machinery must perform fast and repetitive cycles, which reduce mechanical inertia and energy consumption. This Italian company has found that aluminum is one of the most suitable materials for this application.
MGG’s experience in the design and construction of machines and complete production lines for fully-automated brush manufacturing testifies to the importance of aluminum in this sector.
Weight is fundamental: MGG’s machinery doesn’t need to bear heavy dynamic loads but must work at very high frequency — up to 1400 finished pieces per hour — while ensuring the reduction of mechanical inertia and energy consumption as well as maintaining a product quality standard that is at the top of the world market. So, their machines need to be both lightweight and fast.
This applies not only to the structural capacity of the frames, but also to the robotic engineering and automation, which is done with automatic electronic actuators: a predominantly pneumatic plant with aluminum fittings.
No less than 85% of MGG’s machine frames are built with aluminum extrusions, which are made with alloys from the 6000 and 6082 series. They predominantly use the 6082 alloy because it has superior mechanical resistance properties with the same temper.
“While steel is used for structural or mechanical components that have to withstand large static and dynamic loads, it has a much higher specific weight than aluminum. The latest aluminum alloys are durable as well as light. So, if it’s not specially engineered, aluminum’s strength is lower than that of steel, but it is much lighter”, explains Loris Maestrutti, CEO of MGG.
“Our machines are supported by aluminum frames, with the exception of some very large machines, where, due to their length — and to avoid undesirable strain and torsion of the entire machine — they are supported by a steel frame. But, above the steel base, the structure of the actual installed machine is made of extruded aluminum profile.”
But how is the aluminum alloy formed into a profile? “Aluminum extrusion is a plastic deformation process that, by means of a hydraulic press, pushes a cylindrical aluminum solid through an extrusion die (or matrix) whose section determines the finished product”, explains Paolo Fraternale, sales and marketing director of Global Plant Service, an Italian company specialized in the design, production, and management of industrial plants that operate in the aluminum extrusion and packaging industries.
He continues, “It’s a process that requires advanced technology, to ensure maximum precision and ensure the manufacture of extrusions that fully meet the needs of the application, even those with very small dimensional tolerances.”
In the industrial aluminum supply chain, it is widely recognized that Italy has reached an exceptional level of quality in the production of extrusion plants. This is due to the technological competition between the various Italian players, which has led to product improvement that puts Italian aluminum extrusion plants at the top of the pyramid of global producers.