European researchers revolutionise anodized aluminum tools

October 5, 2006

Brussels, 04 Oct 2006

The EU-funded project Alamo has made remarkable achievements in the field of anodised aluminium used in industrial tooling by improving the technical specifications of treated aluminium.

Aluminium has many inherent qualities, such as its light weight, recyclability and energy efficiency. Yet, major drawbacks such as durability prevent large scale industrial usage.

The European team of researchers has set out to address those issues not solved through traditional anodising processes. Anodising refers to the treatment of the surface of a metal to improve its resistance against corrosion and can also be used for dyeing purposes.

The issue of corrosion is particularly important for industrial aluminium mould tools used for thermoplastic processing. The project built upon developments in anodising produced by two small businesses from the UK. They had developed a system that improved the structural properties of aluminum that outperformed steel in terms of heat resistance up to 500°C. The EU supported project aimed specifically to apply these developments to the techniques of injection moulding, blow moulding and rotational moulding.

Through the efforts of researchers from the UK, Spain, France, Germany and Ireland with expertise in the areas of anodizing, materials testing, mold manufacture, molding and 3D molding, simulation managed to achieve a 20 percent reduction of the time between uses of an aluminium tool due to rapid heating and cooling, reports the industry website compositesworld.com.

The project was developed with the idea of creating a material allowing for sustained manufacturing that can remain competitive when faced with competition from the Far East and the US. The project comes with a €1.4 million price tag, according to compositesworld.com, with €723 000 coming from the European Union.

DG Research
http:///europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/research/i ndex_en.html
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