Aluminum extrusions are of great value in many different applications because they are strong, light and cost effective to manufacture. To create aluminum extrusions, a hot or cold extrusion process is used. This is very similar to other types of metal extrusion.
Extruded aluminum channels, shapes and other profiles are durable and light, so they are absolutely perfect for a variety of structural uses like poles, window frames, car frames and bumpers, construction equipment and more.
Furthermore, aluminum can be extruded into many complicated and precise shapes to be interlocking with other aluminum parts. Aluminum can even be extruded into shapes that are used as heating or cooling elements for heaters and refrigerators.
Because aluminum is so strong, resistant to corrosion, and tolerant of a wide range of temperatures, it’s often the first choice for many building projects or industrial applications. It’s also 100% recyclable and relatively easy manipulate and fabricate. Read More…
Since extrusion is such a dynamic method of manufacturing, industries across the country benefit from aluminum extrusion technology. Extruded aluminum channels make excellent parts for automotive and transportation work because of the light and corrosion resistant properties.
Extruded aluminum channels and profiles are used in airplanes, trains, transport trucks, and a host of other vehicles for important components including quarter panels, window frames, running boards, and even bumpers. Architectural and construction firms use aluminum profiles all of the time, whether it is with a practical purpose like load-bearing ceiling beams or for visual impact with elements like decorative trim and paneling. Extruded aluminum in small shapes is even used in medical devices and electronic equipment.
As was mentioned above, manufacturers may use “hot extrusion”, “warm extrusion” or “cold extrusion” when working with aluminum. Each method has pros and cons. To form raw aluminum into profiles or channels, round stock aluminum that is called “billet”, or “logs,” is slowly pressed by a hydraulic ram through a die.
This die is a hollow profile that forms the aluminum into an exact extruded shape that is predetermined by the manufacturer. Direct extrusion holds the die firmly in place as the ram pushes the aluminum alloy through the small die opening. Indirect extrusion, on the other hand, holds the die in position as the hollow ram moves into the stationary billet from one end, forcing the metal to flow through the die.
The temperature during this process must be carefully controlled for extrusion to work. During cold extrusion, an aluminum billet is pressed through the die at or near room temperature, creating close-tolerance components that have high strength and a great surface that will require almost no finishing work. Warm extruding (also called forging) is done on billets brought to temperature ranges between 800 and 1800 degrees F, with the ideal ranges being between 1,000 and 1,330 degrees.
These temperatures are kept below material recrystallization temperatures, enhancing the billets’ ductility while keeping the material solid at the same time. Warm extruded aluminum does not use as much ram force or energy because the aluminum is more malleable, and it may not even require further treatment. Hot extrusion is used on aluminum that has been fully plasticized by heat. This is usually done in a vacuum to avoid damage from oxidation.
Aluminum Extrusions—a Super Manufacturing Material
Aluminum has proved to be a building material of choice for a number of years; however, its true potential is achieved with the extrusion process. Its malleability allows it to be machined and cast easily, which complements the extrusion process ideally.
In the aluminum extrusion process, aluminum alloy is transformed, using machines, into construction and design material 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.
The extrusion process
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.
Different types of Aluminum Extrusions and their uses
Aluminum angles They are standard extruded L-shaped parts composed of two legs that intersect and form a 90-degree angle.
Aluminum beams They are like standard beam but made with extrusion process, they are used are structural and support components of building construction.
Aluminum channels Smooth, linear and fairly narrow channels provide a supportive frame for roll-formed products.
Aluminum extruded tubing A hollow linear aluminum product that is typically cylindrical, however aluminum square tubing and aluminum rectangular tubing is also manufactured for specialty applications such as aluminum downspouts and building supplies.
Aluminum frames They are components of modular framing systems that are constructed out of many different units.
Aluminum profiles They are extruded stock shapes of aluminum.
Aluminum shape Customized shapes for almost any application. Standard shapes include angles, channels and tubing.
Aluminum trim A long, thin and narrow, and can be custom made to fit a specific purpose or space.
Architecutral aluminum It is used as decorative and structural components of building construction.
Extruded aluminum It is molded with dies into specific shapes.
Heatsink A metallic device that absorbs thermal energy, or heat, from another object through thermal compounds.
Metal extrusions They are created using hot extrusion or cold forming, and commonly made of semi-soft metals, such as lead, tin, aluminum alloys, copper, titanium, etc., which are less expensive to extrude then high-strength alloys.
Structural aluminum It is an extruded aluminum alloy that goes through post-forming treatments in order to make it lightweight and durable, and this corrosion resistant metal is used in many different high-strength applications.
T-slotted aluminum extrusions They can be used in building almost anything but are commonly seen in enclosures, cabinets, shelving, machine guarding systems, industrial workstations, office partitions, computer server racks, trade show exhibits, material handling, and robotics.
All these modifications of aluminum makes it a truly super manufacturing material that has application in a wide range of industries.