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A billet, or solid block, of aluminium is the raw material of the extrusion process. It must be heated before it is pushed into the die and extruded to the correct shape. Under-heated billets can damage the press, or may revert to a solid state, blocking the entire process.

Traditionally, prodder thermocouples are used for heat measurement, but these are slow, maintenance-intensive, and become inaccurate as metal build-up occurs. They are also expensive to replace, and are unable to cope with changes in alloy type and surface finish.

Accurate billet temperature monitoring enables process optimisation and control, and reduces wear on the die. This maximises process uptime, prevents wasted billets and avoids costly repairs to damage caused by under-heated billets solidifying during the extrusion process.

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