Georgia Patent of the Month – February 2022

Metal rolling is often used to form metal strips by passing a metal strip between work rolls. These rolls apply extensive force to the metal strip. If the rolls have a texture on them, this texture will be transferred to the metal strip. Unfortunately, it can also lead to a flattened metal strip which means a loss of thickness. This loss is inconsistent which makes it difficult to preemptively compensate for. Novelis, Inc., a global leader in flat-rolled aluminum products, has recently developed a low-pressure solution for metal rolling.

By reducing pressure, the chance of flattening the metal strip and reducing the thickness is significantly reduced. In Novelis’ system, they can still achieve the transfer of a design from the roller to the metal strip. This design differs in the set up of rolls. Each upper and lower roll are supported by intermediate rolls. Bearings or actuators are positioned along the intermediate rolls and set up to impart bearing loads on these rolls. This set up prevents the system from impacting the thickness of the metal substrate. The pressure is applied to the intermediate rolls which then transfer the load to the working rolls. This transferred pressure   is unable to exceed the yield strength of the metal substrate. Instead, the pressure is low enough that it simply cannot cause deformation. 

Rolling texture onto metal is a manufacturing method that can change the application of the metal. For instance, certain patterns can improve lubricant retention, increase adhesion or modify the optical aspects. This improved method makes it simply easier to convert a metal substrate into its final intended purpose with greater efficiency. 

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