Hydro is opening an aluminium research lab in Sweden. The R&D facility will test new types of aluminium alloys and their extrudability for eventual use in applications that are innovative and which can help customers reduce their carbon footprint.
The Extrusion Test Centre is located adjacent to Hydro’s product application lab in Finspång, and includes a new aluminium extrusion press and metal casting facilities. The investment extends and complements the company’s global research and product application capabilities toward the growing market for sustainable aluminium solutions.
“Research and application development has always been one of our strong points as a supplier of innovative aluminium solutions, and with sustainability now the key word in our industry, we need to speed these efforts to meet market needs,” says Egil Hogna, who is responsible for Hydro’s Extruded Solutions division.
Faster development of new aluminium alloys and prototypes
The test centre will be an integral part of the global Innovation & Technology (I&T) unit of Extruded Solutions, which includes the product application lab in Finspång and an automotive-focused R&D lab outside Detroit, in Troy, Michigan. I&T also operates aluminium tubing corrosion laboratories in China and the United States.
The application lab in Finspång carries out robotic welding, hot metal gas forming, friction stir welding, thermal testing and the testing of components, such as crash testing of automotive systems. The test centre will offer services that complement the work of the application lab, says Ole Daaland, who heads the I&T unit for Hydro. “This extends our offering and makes it possible for us to develop alloys and prototypes much faster and more efficiently,” he says.
The extrusion press, delivered by Prizma Engineering, will allow Hydro to test extremely fast and for extremely hard aluminium alloys, including 7000-series alloys. The melting furnace for casting will yield a large part of the metal supply used within the lab.
The test centre is situated in a building that previously had been used by Hydro’s extrusion plant in Finspång. Work on the building and installation of the machinery was completed in August. Eight employees have been trained to also handle operations at the test centre, which will begin taking on research projects later this year.