in-house Extrusion Allows VP to save time, increase quality and expand the kinds of products we can produce.
VP operates an Extrusion facility at our home factory complex in Taiwan. Many of the bicycle components that we produce rely on Extrusion to save cost and increase quality, so we have invested in a purpose-built factory building exclusively to extrude raw materials for further processing. At VP, we are able to extrude very long pieces of varying size which have applications both inside and outside of the bicycle industry.
What is Extrusion?
Extrusion is a process used to create objects with a fixed cross-section. Think of tubes for example, they will typically have a consistent circular cross-section. During the Extrusion process material is pushed through a special mold called a “die” that forces the material into the desired cross-section. If you have ever seen, or used a pasta maker at home, or a clay extruder as a child, you get the idea. The force required to push metals through the die is significant, and typically the machines are very large to generate enough force to get the job done. Extruded cross-section shapes can be very simple, like a tube, or very complex with different hollow shapes inside the final part. In many cases Extrusion can impart strength by aligning the molecules inside the material. This process is also very useful when working with metals that are brittle and difficult.
Depending on the need, Extrusion can produce pieces that are very very long, or very short. When the materials are very long, it is necessary to keep them straight and properly arranged to insure overall quality of the final product. Depending on the material and outcome desired, extruding can be done when the material is hot or cold. At VP we commonly extrude varying aluminum alloys.
What can be made using this process?
Extrusion is used as a first step to pre-form items with a consistent cross-section. Normally, afterwards, there is more processing to be done, like Heat Treatment, Forging, and CNC Machining. At VP, we extrude blanks that will (after additional processing) become pedal bodies, hub shells, headsets, bicycle rims, and other parts. After a long Extrusion is created it normally has an attractive and smooth surface finish which can save time because in many cases it does not require additional aesthetic processing.