Since 2005, our keepsake ornament has become an ALMAG tradition. Designed by our employees, we look forward to it year after year and we hope you will too!
Whether it be ornaments or something else you choose to do, traditions are important. Traditions help establish an identity, structure, culture and form a connection from one generation to another. Here at ALMAG, the tradition continues with this year’s ornament…the Candle!
Christmas Ornament Design Contest
This ornament design competition began in the summer and is always an anticipated event among every ALMAG employee. Many intricate designs were submitted for the competition. One mandatory design element is the ALMAG trademark letter “A”.
Top designs were picked and every employee cast their vote for the winner. A combined effort from Darlene & Sadia of our Accounting Department won the ornament design competition. The design incorporated a burning candle, poinsettia flower with foliage and the ALMAG trademark.
|Winning Design||Design Entry||Design Entry||Design Entry|
Turning the Design into Extrudable Art
The winning ornament design undergoes the same process that our customers’ drawings do. Starting off in engineering, our designers work to generate a replica from a hand drawn sketch in Solidworks. This provides the necessary information that will be required to manufacture the extrusion die.
There were many inspiring elements to the original design but seeing this as an opportunity to showcase our strengths, engineering took this design to a whole other level pushing the boundaries of extrusion.
The narrow pine needles added to both sides of the candle to balance the weight of the ornament. An addition of a second hollow in the flame to add further complexity of the design. The final result is a 26 hollow extrusion die with high tongue ratios, complex geometry and lightweight.
In-house 3D Prototyping Services
To ensure this design would capture the desired aesthetics and function, 3D prototypes were produced using our in-house 3D printing capabilities. The ability to prototype a design at an early stage is a definite plus before moving into full production. This allows the customer to review critical elements of the fit, form and function of the part into their final design.
This simple step of any project eliminates the risk of potential design oversights and costly design revisions. In this example, the prototyping samples highlighted some areas that required some minor tweaks that were needed in the foliage and base of the candle. The initial hollow designed at the top of the flame to house the ribbon did not feed through easily, so a few modifications were needed. A final sample and test of the ribbon feed and it was now ready to move into die production.
All customers, in all industries demand the most out of their aluminum products. Operating in a complex, thin-wall, tight tolerance, high visual extrusion market, it is easy to see how 3D Prototyping is a huge advantage to our customer base. They too continue to challenge our expertise, helping us to produce SMARTER • BETTER • FASTER • SOLUTIONS!
(Left to Right): First prototype – Poinsettia flower petals not uniform, no detail in the flame
Second/Third prototype – modification to the bottom flower petal and modified hollow added to top of flame for housing ribbon
The Extrusion Process – The Ornament Comes to life!
There is a certain excitement generated every time a new die extrudes at ALMAG. We like a challenge so the more complex, the better! With our experienced team, we have developed the best practices in extruding and enter every challenge with confidence!
Our skilled operators have a full grasp of process control and using just the right amount of speed and temperature were able to produce the best ornament this year. The same approach is applied to our customers’ dies as it helps us to maintain our company promise of best industry lead times as die failures are significantly reduced.
Having our experienced press team working with you every step of the way makes the process a less stressful one! We like a challenge here at ALMAG, and do “Whatever It Takes” to make great pieces showing our endless capabilities. For this complex shape, 6360 alloy was an ideal selection for its good extrudability and finished look.
(Tooling provided by EXCO Canada)
Ornament Die View 1
Ornament Die View 2
Ornament Die View 3
Press Team Reviewing
Extrusion – Nose Piece
With every complex die there may not always be one perfect run. There were some hiccups along the way in extruding our Christmas ornament. We strive to achieve the perfect extrusion process every time.
(Below: Left to right) On our first run there was some tearing due to the secondary hollow added at the top of the flame.
In the second run, there was some plugging of the die which cause part of the ornament shape to break. The die had to go back for adjustments to correct the pine branch. The Last run…a perfect ornament!
After extruding the ornament in long lengths, the pieces were sent into our fabrication department where each ornament was cut to a 0.25″ thickness. At ALMAG, we provide value-added custom fabrication solutions for any project.
Our capabilities include but are not limited to: Cutting, CNC Machining, Deburring, Drilling, Punching, Piercing, Bending, Forming, Welding, Friction Stir Welding, Adhesive Bonding, and Custom Assembly.
A Splash of Christmas Cheer
What is an ornament without a little touch of colour. This year we chose traditional and festive colours: Blue, Red, Silver, and Gold which are in a Brite Dip Anodized finish. We also included a Nickel Finish which gives it an antique look! Custom ribbon and packaging were created including a card insert features the previous Christmas ornament designs and 2018 Calendar!
(Anodizing process provided by Progressive Anodizers Inc. and Nickel plating provided by Shield Source)
Wishing everyone a safe and Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year!