I know it might be challenging for some casters but isn't there one from Sweden (Octokumpa - I know the spelling is wrong) that is relative small and could be used to make small batches of maaterials? I had a friend whose family owned a wire company in Mexico and they also made zippers. I think that they would experiment with brass to see what was best for zipper material.
I know aluminum is a big jump from copper and brass alloys, but.............
The Finnish manufacturer of oxygen-free copper and copper alloy rod manufacturing machinery formerly known as Outokumpu Oy is now known as Upcast Oy. We are not aware of any development work on aluminum and aluminum alloy rod with this machinery and process. www.upcast.com/ No harm in asking though.
As already discussed in the another thread however, an aluminum rod manufacturer using a Conform machine might allow some development work at their facility. Likewise BWE may have a demonstration Conform machine at their facility. All that would be required is rough cast feedstock. Conform machines can be found at www.bwe.co.uk/ . If the metallurgy allows, this may be one method of manufacturing 7xxx series aluminum alloy rod.
Usually in this type of alloy the customers need a micro-structure gained from hot rolling and not from casting. as cast micro-structure is really quite ugly in most cases. this is why upcast in aluminum would be very difficult for many products. also the desire of aluminum alloys has to segregate during casting makes it very difficult to do. this would also be the problem in the 7xxx series on the concast rod. Not that the problem of segregation in 7xxx couldn't be handled in this case. it would just be difficult to do. i might try it once i get done trying a few other new alloys that we are working on right now.