AIMS Ltd, through its specialisation in advanced Powder Metallurgy processing, has pioneered the development of improved performance of wear parts for the food and plastic extrusion market. The Sagittite process pioneered and patented by AIMS, has increased operating lifetimes of extrusion equipment by an order of magnitude over established methods of production by harnessing the flexibility of Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP) technology. Having achieved such impressive results from the application of HIP technology, our most recent activity supported by independent UK based development organisations, has been to better understand the potential for supply chain optimisation. From powder supply, to processing conditions, the spectrum of opportunity to improve both understanding and characterisation of the Sagittite Optima product range has been improved over the last 12 months. During this period of Supply Chain optimisation , both new and existing IPR has also been considered to further enhance the differentiation of AIMS processing technology. Our new programme designed to Disrupt traditional manufacturing would be to secure a reduction in manufacturing time of 50%, and a cost of manufacture saving of 40%. With a unique, UK based supply chain for ready to fit parts, we see this as a major step forward to service the global extruder market. Part of this Disruptive technology has previously been demonstrated within a different sector, and AIMS believes that opportunity now exists to transfer and scale this processing technique into the international extrusion market.
In combination with the manufacturing change envisaged by the Disruptor Project, AIMS has also recognised that it would be possible to apply the same processing technique for the rapid recovery of worn and redundant high value extrusion parts. "Sagittite Green" would provide a unique service in both the supply of new and reclaimed parts, with the potential of introducing a completely new business model to the extruder market. Manufacturing of a new part, and with subsequent re manufacturing, would offer enhanced sustainability for high value parts,and a product leasing option from a pool of readily available refurbished extruders rather than the more cost intensive outright capital purchase.As a small business, AIMS has specific resources of value to this new venture, but seeks to engage with other like minded, development and innovation led organisations who may wish to contribute appropriate resources within the phases of the project and equally, share in the potential upside benefits from this new and innovative technology. This introduction therefore sets out the broad principles for such a project and seeks interest and further discussion under appropriate NDA cover.
As polymer compounds adapt to provide additional functionality, particularly for packaging, operating conditions in raw material manufacturing plant is accelerating the need for improved wear resistance, particularly in equipment used for pellet manufacture.
Sagittite alloy grades developed by AIMS are being recognised as providing improved erosion and corrosion capability and re-equipping plant with Sagittite 10, a nickel based alloy, has lifted operational performance by a factor of 5. Users are confirming that processing downtime has been significantly improved and the consistency of pellet production within processing campaigns has seen a similar advantage. Standard parts have been re-engineered in the new powder alloys, but in the next stage of improvement the Sagittite grades will be applied selectively to create a composite part.
With the steady increase in demand for longer processing campaigns
for equipment operating in the food, snacks and pet foods
sectors, the demand for improved properties of critical components,
ie extrusion barrels, has required systematic improvement to
materials in direct contact with the product ingredients. AIMS,
specialising in the use of Sagittite powder alloys has embarked
upon a detailed analysis of the powder grades it uses for extrusion
liners and through this work has established a further refinement
of the structure and properties of its products. Since the failure
of extrusion parts is often linked to wear and corrosion fatigue,
the refinement of powder size and cleanliness has been of specific
This, combined with the already established practice for Hip processing, is leading to lifetime improvements over conventional materials by up to a factor of 10. With improved powder preparation and attention to process improvement, this is marking AIMS as the supplier of choice.
Interestingly, this same programme of work is leading to cost savings which are being passed onto clients, so that lifetimes can increase but at lower prices than previously achieved.
As the demands on extruder equipment increase, be this for Food or
Polymer processing, the investment in new, high value materials has
become important to maximise machine efficiency.
Inevitably after multiple campaigns extruder surfaces are worn beyond operational tolerance, and this regularly leads to the removal and scrapping of extruder segments and the introduction of new parts. With significant knowledge of extruder operating practice, and the application of powder technology and Hipping to produce extruder parts, AIMS has commenced early work on the recovery of worn extruder barrels with the objective of refurbishing these parts,and returning these parts to active use. AIMS is seeking to link with extruder users who wish to take a more active and collaborative role in this work. Interested users should contact AIMS through firstname.lastname@example.org