Extruded aluminum is an inexpensive and versatile product with possible uses that spread far and wide across the industrial and manufacturing worlds. Extruded aluminum is used the most by the industrial, automotive and construction industries. Shapes like rods, profiles, tubing, channels, trim and angles also contribute to products used in architecture, aerospace, commercial furniture, marine vehicle manufacturing, public transportation, structure, mining, medicine, military and more. Extruded aluminum is made from aluminum alloy stocks that are shaped through the process of extrusion. Extrusion may be cold, warm or hot, but hot extrusion is the most common method used on aluminum.
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Extruded Aluminum Benefits
Extruded aluminum fences highlight the advantages that extruded aluminum offer to all the applications for which they are used: They are affordable, reliable, efficient, environmentally friendly, durable and surprisingly lightweight. With extruded aluminum, manufacturers and end-users alike get more for less. Though extruded aluminum parts are less costly than extruded metals like chrome or steel, because of their corrosion resistance, durability and ability to hold a shine, they often appear as or more expensive than the alternatives.
Benefits of Aluminum Alloy
Aluminum alloy is valued in structural capacities because not only is it cost-effective, but it has an extremely high strength-to-weight ratio and good corrosion, rust and temperature resistance. (Properties vary according to what element with which aluminum is alloyed.) Also, extruded aluminum is 100% recyclable, and, when recycled, aluminum can retain all of its original properties. To add onto these savings, aluminum recycling only consumes about 20% of the energy required to acquire virgin materials. This further reduces both monetary and environmental costs. Common structural applications of extruded aluminum include: window frames, car bumpers, light building frames, light poles, hardware joints, modular fencing and more. Easily fabricated, extruded aluminum can also be custom-made into intricate, precision tolerance shapes that interlock with other extruded aluminum shapes.
The basic extrusion method for the creation of channels, shapes, profiles or tubing is as follows: round aluminum stock called “billet” or “logs” are squeezed through a die by the force of ram, after which they are allowed to cool. (A die is a hollow, pre-formed profile that gives a billet its intended shape as it passes through.) The basic extrusion method is divided first into two sub-methods, direct extrusion and indirect extrusion. Direct extrusion involves a die that stands still while a ram forces an aluminum alloy billet through its opening. Indirect extrusion, on the other hand, involves holding a die stationary while a hollow ram forces metal to flow through the die by pressing against a stationary billet from one end.
Extrusion by Temperature
Extrusion may also be divided by temperature. Note that the temperatures of the die and the billet are crucial in the production of uniform extruded aluminum. These temperature divisions are summed up in the three main methods of metal extrusion: cold extrusion, warm extrusion or hot extrusion. Extruded aluminum may come from any of these processes, but most often, it is made via hot extrusion. All three extrusion methods are essentially the same, aside from the temperature to which the aluminum is heated. Cold extrusion is performed at or slightly above room temperature and it produces strong shapes and products that have close tolerances and superior surfaces that require minimal finishing. Warm extrusion, also called forging, is performed at temperatures between 800 and 1800?. Temperatures in this range allow the aluminum billet to become more ductile without going so far as to melt it. Warm extruded aluminum products tend to be highly balanced. Lastly, hot extrusion is performed well above room temperature to make it soft, malleable and fully plasticized. To avoid oxidation, hot extrusion often takes place inside a vacuum. After it is hot extruded, aluminum is straightened by a stretcher.
Industries Using Extruded Aluminum
Extruded aluminum has a place in nearly every industry. However, an area in which extruded aluminum use has recently grown in particular is in fence design, specifically, modular fence design. Extruded aluminum modular fencing systems are taking the market by storm. Modular fences can be fabricated with custom designs that will protect or guard any application. Custom possibilities include individualized mesh panels, solid panels, brackets, net locks or profiles. Also, per their intended application, fences can either be straight or curved. Fence parts are delivered as partially assembled entities, which allows an industrial company to manufacture fencing faster. Also, because extruded aluminum fences are partially prefabricated, they carry far fewer of the high costs of other fence systems, related to labor and engineering. In addition to initially saving industrial companies time and money, extruded aluminum fences are also appreciated as an investment; all of their components are both reusable and recyclable.