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Catastrophic Failure: A 48 Hour Remedy

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Catastrophic Failure: A 48 Hour Remedy

Rick Colden, Alexandria Extrusion Company and Adam Cramlet, Alexandria Extrusion Company


ABSTRACT --- A cracked main cylinder bell housing that occurred on a 1900-ton press
at Alexandria Extrusion Company and required a new forged and machined bell
housing as a replacement was temporarily repaired by a plug and patch system until a
new housing could be ordered and then installed weeks later. The nondestructive
system for monitoring crack growth in the ductile iron housing and the various
temporary repair options considered at Alexandria are presented. With the 4140 steel
plug in place to hinder crack growth on the damaged housing, operation of the press at
reduced extrusion pressure, and modification of the extrusion practice, it was possible
to maintain a restricted production schedule on the press until the new housing was
ready for installation. Once the new housing was received, a successful changeover of
the housing took place safely within 48 hours from shutdown to startup of the press.
The organizing, manning, tooling, rigging, and scheduling of the replacement of the
main cylinder housing are described along with each critical step required in the
process. Several recommendations are made with regard to maintenance of main
cylinder housings to prevent catastrophic failures and, if replacement is necessary, to
make the process of main cylinder housing replacement less onerous.

© Extrusion Technology for Aluminum Profiles Foundation (ET Foundation). All rights reserved. No part of The Proceedings may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the ET Foundation.