Aluminum extrusions are linear aluminum products highly valued in a wide spectrum of structural applications due to aluminum's high strength-to-weight ratio and the cost effectiveness of the metal extrusion process. Like other types of metal extrusions, extruded aluminum is either hot extruded or cold extruded through a die, shaping aluminum stock into various types of extruded aluminum shapes, such as angles and beams, aluminum channels, aluminum profiles or aluminum extruded tubing.
Extruded aluminum products like aluminum channels, shapes and profiles are both strong and lightweight, making them perfect for structural applications such as light poles, building and window frames, lighting fixtures, car bumpers, hardware joints, trim, and many other uses in construction, industrial and automotive industries. Shapes and channels can be extruded into complex, precision tolerance shapes to interlock with other aluminum channels or structures, or they may be extruded into heat sinks for cooling electronics, refrigerators and heat engines. Because aluminum is strong, rust and temperature resistant, easily fabricated and 100% recyclable, aluminum and aluminum alloy extrusions are often the first choice in building or structural materials.
The number of industries which use aluminum extrusions is both extensive and diverse since a wide number of shapes are achievable through the extrusion process. For example, extruded aluminum channels make great components for automotive and transportation construction, as it is light and corrosion resistant; aluminum channels and profiles are used in vehicles such as trains, SUVs, semi trucks and cars for parts and components including panels, window panes, runners and bumpers. In addition, machinery and industrial equipment such as scaffolding, process and mining equipment use extruded aluminum tubing, shapes and profiles as lightweight, durable equipment components, while many types of office and hospital furniture use aluminum tubing and channels in their construction. The building, architectural and construction industries use aluminum profiles extensively, whether it be practical application such as for structural and ceiling beams or for aesthetic applications such as decorative trim and window paneling. Capable of being extruded through complex dies into close-tolerance shapes, small extruded aluminum shapes are frequently fabricated into medical and electronics components such as heat-absorbing and dissipating heat sinks.
The process of extruding aluminum may use "hot extrusion", "warm extrusion" or "cold extrusion", each of which have their own benefits and drawbacks. In order for stock aluminum to be formed into tubing, channels, shapes or profiles, round aluminum stock called "billet", or "logs" are pressed by a ram through a die, which is a hollow profile that shapes the aluminum into a specific extruded shape as the billet is squeezed through. Direct extrusion holds the die stationary while the ram forces the aluminum alloy through the die opening, while indirect extrusion holds the die stationary as the hollow ram moves into the stationary billet from one end, forcing the metal to flow through the die. The temperature of both the billet and the die are crucial for uniform extrusions. In cold extruding, aluminum billet is pressed through the die at room temperature or near room temperature, yielding close-tolerance components with high strength and a good surface with minimal finishing required. Warm extruding, or forging, is done on billets brought to temperature ranges between 800 and 1800 degrees F, with ideal ranges being between 1,000 and 1,330 degrees; these temperatures remain below material recrystallization temperatures, enhancing billets' ductility while keeping the material solid. Warm extruded aluminum requires less ram force (and energy) and often requires no secondary heat treatment. Hot extrusions are performed on aluminum which has been fully plasticized by heat and is often performed in a vacuum to avoid oxidation. After a shape or channel has been extruded, it is straightened by a stretcher.
Although the process of extracting aluminum ore from the Earth's surface is relatively costly, aluminum has a far longer service life than most metals and may be fully recycled while retaining 100% of the material's original properties. In addition to the ability to be fully recycled, other green uses of aluminum extrusions include using aluminum extrusions in transportation often saves on carbon emissions, as aluminum is a far lighter metal than its alternatives, such as steel; aluminum combines stainless steel's beneficial properties of corrosion resistance and strength with 1/3 the weight. Aluminum is easily formed and machined and is an excellent conductor and reflector of heat, making it an ideal material for heat shielding applications such as heat sinks. As the recycling industry expands its capabilities to recycling a broader range of aluminum parts, large aluminum extruding and manufacturing companies are also beginning to invest in aluminum recycling. Recycling aluminum requires only 20% the amount of energy used by acquiring virgin materials; this energy savings is converted into a significant cost savings by aluminum extruders who use recycled aluminum materials.
Aluminum Extrusions - Talan Products Inc.
Aluminum Extrusions - Talan Products Inc.
Aluminum Extrusions - GSH Iindustries
Aluminum Extrusions - Northern States Metals
Aluminum Extrusions - Dajcor Aluminum Ltd.
Extruded Aluminum Channel - Extrude-A-Trim
The versatility of aluminum has made it one of the most sought after raw materials for design and construction. The metal is unique in many ways; high strength-to-weight ratio, tolerance against corroding environments, conductivity, ductility, non-magnetic properties, and recycling attributes, which makes it possible to use repeatedly without losing integrity. It is no surprise, aluminum and its alloys have applications in a wide range of industries, from aircraft to house construction to design using extrusion process.
Aluminum's malleability allows it to be machined and casted easily, which complements the extrusion process. In the aluminum extrusion process, aluminum alloy is transformed using machines into construction and design materials with a definitive cross-sectional profile and shape, such as aluminum extruded tubing, aluminum angles, and aluminum profiles. The resulting products by the extrusion process offer strength and stability, yet being one third the density and stiffness of steel. Its strength is supplemented by alloying it with other materials.
Benefits that aluminum offers over other metals and raw materials include:
You can extrude aluminum to achieve any design demand. Whether it is intricate or straight shapes, extrusion reduces the need of manufacturing component parts, which cuts down on assembly time. Other metals are also used for extrusion process; however, shapes that can be achieved by aluminum extrusion sometimes cannot attained by any other metal.
Aluminum is the most cost effective metal in regards to the extrusion process; other metals that complement extruding are significantly expensive to render any profit. Moreover, the cost of extruding aluminum is quite low compared to other processes such as casting, roll forming, molding and forging.
Even after the extrusion process, aluminum maintains its optimum structural integrity, which makes it suitable for carving into intricate shapes. Additionally, the metal can be easily alloyed, unlike other material, when extra strength is needed around corners and cross-sections.
Aluminum, unlike any other metal, is strong and durable while being light. The products made from aluminum can be half the weight and still have equivalent structural integrity in comparison to other heavy materials that can be readily fabricated.
Giving electrolytic coating to aluminum through the aluminum anodizing process for protective or decorative purpose is relatively easy. Designers and fabricators can render virtually any color they desire.
The metal is naturally resistant to corrosion, giving the finished products a long life and durability. Aluminum does not require layer of paint to protect it, the finish provided during the fabrication process gives it all the protection it needs to last a long time.
Among all the characteristics, its ability to be recycled completely without any loss of strength fares it above other similar raw materials. Whether it is the consumer, fabricator, or environment agencies-all show support aluminum as a raw material.
In the present day complex construction process, aluminum practically subdues all structural, thermal, aesthetic and acoustic challenges that designers and fabricators throw at it. It is virtually the most adaptable metal we have on earth.
For more than a century, aluminum has established itself as the most resourceful manufacturing material. To meet newer, challenging requirements, it progressively has gone under development processing by fabrication, continual processing, and alloy innovations. Present-day aluminum extrusions are the result of those continuous developments.
Aluminum profiles have virtually opened the door to unlimited design adaptability and manufacturability. They can be easily integrated with other design features, reducing the secondary processing such as welding and machining.
Following are the characteristics of extruded aluminum that make it the manufacturing material of the future:
Aluminum already has natural high strength-to-weight ratio, giving extrusions the structural strength needed for most purposes. However, if the design demands higher strength, then in those cases it can be supplemented by concentrating alloys at specific points, varying wall thickness, and including internal reinforcement in the design.
Extrusions can easily be machined into complex shapes, with no mechanical joints. One-piece aluminum extruded tubing, aluminum angles, and aluminum shapes and sections are typically stronger, making them less likely to break over time under pressure.
Be it manufacturability, functional, or aesthetic objectives, extrusion meets all those demanding criteria without any compromise to its structural integrity. Its ability to be customized as per the design makes it a preferred manufacturing material in product solutions.
Tooling aluminum is relatively easier compared to the tooling done in steel service centers. Extrusions are relatively less expensive and generally involve shorter lead times, making it a preferred choice for faster prototype development, testing, and launch of a product.
Aluminum extrusions weigh almost one-third of iron and steel, which makes it far easier to handle, inexpensive to ship, and applicable to products where weight reduction is a big factor and priority.
In manufacturing, assembling takes significant time, and newer aluminum extrusion designs are greatly cutting the assembly time by simplifying the fabrication and assembly process.
Aluminum naturally offers effective corrosion resistance; in modern extrusions, including intricate aluminum shapes and heatsink, aluminum anodizing is done to provide another protective layer, with a great aesthetic finish.
All these characteristics distinguish extrusions from other manufacturing materials.
For a long time aluminum has been used in a wide range of industries, with applications in the transportation sector, construction, solar, medical, electronic, and other industrial uses.
With the advances in aluminum-based product design and engineering, aluminum and its extrusion-friendly properties can catalyze innovation even faster and more broadly.
We have come up with four key questions, accounting for the production, design, and performance variables, for product development teams to determine whether aluminum extrusion can be applied in their industry.
Comparatively, strength-to-weight ratio of aluminum is high enough for its application in a number of industries from aerospace to construction. However, designers and manufacturers' desires, when it comes to aluminum extrusions, are now closing to a point, where the strength of standard extruded aluminum components is not good enough anymore.
Engineers and designers are pushing the envelope on aluminum use, and suppliers are working aggressively to develop new types of alloys that are narrowing the difference between the strength properties of aluminum in comparison to other materials. The other properties that are also the center of development are formability, machinability, and wear resistance.
The most critical developments are taking place in automobile industry, where a number of car manufacturers are developing extruded aluminum tubing, angles, and other metal process to match the need of high-end cars. Extruding is proving to be a critical feature, such as webbing, to reinforce aluminum tubes. Audi recently used only aluminum to make R8, whose whole body and chassis are made from aluminum. Similarly, Ford, in its flagship vehicle, F150, used aluminum to make the pickup truck as much as 700 pounds lighter.
It is said if properly done, aluminum extrusion has the ability to achieve challenging requirements without compromising on safety and strength.
Durability plays a crucial role in the functional performance of a material, and susceptibility to corrosion affects that durability along with appearance to a great degree. In such situations, for designers and developers, aluminum and extruded aluminum products are the primary choice, since they resist corrosion effectively while maintaining its appearance for long time.
Aluminum develops a natural oxide film over its surface when exposed to air, which creates a protection layer that negates the threat from corrosive environmental conditions or corrosive material. Moreover, anodizing and other finishing processes can enhance protection further.
Due to its corrosion-resistive properties, heavy industries are embracing aluminum for making bridges, docks, semitrailers, and even large shipping vessels.
Consumer centric industries, such as solar energy and medicine, are increasingly applying extruded aluminum tubing, aluminum heatsink, and other metal processes in innovative ways. Extruded aluminum is meeting fabrication challenges across the board, when corrosion protection is a greater factor.
There is a permanent pressure on the development and design teams to reduce cost. They are always posed with questions on reducing cost of material and processing to optimize the manufacturing processes.
Aluminum provides answers to some of those questions; the extrusion process can cut manufacturing and assembly time, since a number of smaller components can be reduced with application of extruded aluminum. The extrusion process can add or take out profile features to optimize weight-to-strength. The potential of the extrusion increases further when product researcher and developers collaborate with original equipment manufacturers.
It is the objective of every company to manufacture a product as fast as possible and deliver it to the market efficiently.
Aluminum extrusion, in comparison to other alternatives, offers faster turnaround manufacturing and delivery. Product development time can be further reduced by working closely with original equipment manufacturers.
Aluminum extrusion methods have remained the same for many decades. Common extrusion shapes provide structural support for many applications in the industrial world. However, in today's challenging world, technology is constantly changing. New demands are placed on extrusion technology every day.
Today, it is more important than ever to come up with the right shapes for extrusion manufacturing. The right shape will cost the least amount of money, will be simple to manufacture, and will fit the structural requirements of each application. In today's world, the best way to do this is through the functional approach.
The functional approach to extrusion design uses common sense to create the design. Rather than thinking about what shape the structure needs to be, the first thought is what the piece will need to do. After determining the use of the structure, the engineer should then consider what shapes provide that support, how the elements would relate to one another in a 3D environment, and then create the design. Thinking of the design process this way eliminates the limitations of current designs and prevents in-the-box thinking that can reduce the effectiveness of new designs.
Engineers that use the functional approach are better able to serve their customers in any industry. With the functional approach, it is possible to create new extrusion designs that not only meet the function of the job at hand, but can then be used in similar situations in other applications. This benefits the industry as a whole, as well as the customer.
Aluminum Extrusion Terms
- An aluminum alloy that
is very simple to maintain and remains stable under a wide variety of
temperature and pressure conditions.