Lightweight, resistant, strong, and easy to mill, aluminum has become an indispensable material for the aerospace industry. However, one of the inevitable challenges that comes with high machinability is rapid and excessive chip accumulation.
Generating around 375 pounds of aluminum chips per part, the efficiency of this customer’s high speed milling machines was contingent upon a proper chip management solution. Machining aluminum generates heat quickly, requiring high volumes of coolant to regulate chip temperature before further processing. Heat, liquid, and abrasion-resistant equipment was needed to effectively transport sums of wet aluminum chips to feed downstream briquetting machinery for chip compression and coolant drainage. In order to keep up with demanding production capacities, an extremely reliable solution was critical to manage chip flow, support all machines, and ultimately enable material and coolant recovery.
Five high speed milling machines cut through large aluminum slabs, rapidly producing chips which were fed onto Endura-Veyor, Inc.’s durable trunkline pit conveyor for primary transportation. The 200-foot trunkline conveyor carried the hot aluminum chips in coolant to the other side of the plant, where chips, along with coolant, could be processed for recovery.
Preparing high value aluminum scrap for processing continued with a Z-Conveyor that elevated chips to feed a Drag Chain Conveyor, positioned above two briquetting machines and a collection bin. Endura-Veyor’s Drag Chain Flight Conveyor features multiple discharge points, which allowed operators to control exactly when and where chips were to be allocated. This unique feature enabled their briquetting machines to effectively compress aluminum chips into pucks and release coolant without being overwhelmed, while excess chips could be discharged for temporary storage.
Introducing chip management and flow control boosted milling production rates and supported briquetting throughputs to effectively process valuable aluminum chips for recovery. Integrating Endura-Veyor’s aluminum chip handling solution not only made this operation possible, but profitable- as it generates an ROI of tens of thousands of dollars a year.