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Aluminum is light weight, strong , resistant to corrosion. Not surprisingly, it has become the second most widely used metal, next to steel.
Aluminum extrusions are aluminum shapes and products that have been created through the extrusion process. The extrusion process is one of the best ways to uncover the true potential of a piece of aluminum sheet.
Extrusion is a dynamic method of manufacturing, and so, all sorts of industries benefit from extrusion technology. Customers value aluminum extrusions in particular for their strength, stability, corrosion resistance and lightness.
Extruded aluminum shapes make invaluable components of vehicles (including buses), airplanes, trains and other modes of transportation.
In addition, they provide both structural support and visual impact in construction and architectural applications. Also, extruded aluminum shapes are used in electronic equipment and medical devices.
Different Types of Aluminum Extrusions and Their uses
- Aluminum angles are standard extruded L-shaped parts composed of two legs that intersect and form a 90-degree angle.
- Aluminum beams are used are structural and support components of building construction.
- Aluminum channels are smooth, linear and fairly narrow channels that provide a supportive frame for roll-formed products.
- Aluminum extruded tubing is a hollow, linear aluminum product. It is typically cylindrical, but it can also be square or rectangular. Aluminum square tubing and aluminum rectangular tubing are manufactured for specialty applications like aluminum downspouts and building supplies.
- Aluminum frames are components of modular framing systems (constructed out of many different units).
- Aluminum trim is long, thin and narrow. It can be custom made to fit a specific purpose or space.
- Architectural aluminum may be used as both decorative and structural components of building construction.Structural aluminum is an extruded aluminum alloy that goes through post-forming treatments in order to make it lightweight and durable. This corrosion resistant metal is used in many different high-strength applications.
- Heat sink is a metallic device that absorbs thermal energy, or heat, from another object.
- T-slotted aluminum extrusions can be used to construct almost anything, but are most often seen in: enclosures, cabinets, shelving, machine guarding systems, industrial workstations, office partitions, computer server racks, trade show exhibits, material handling and robotics.
Aluminium extrusions can be produced in a vast range of shapes and sizes to suit the requirements of your particular product. A variety of alloys, heat treatment options and tempers are available to meet different functional product specifications. Innovative design will minimize machining and assembly times. Features like screw ports, to allow on-site assembly, or fitting of end plates are so easy to build into an extrusion.
During aluminum extrusion, manufacturers transform aluminum alloys into definitive cross-sectional profiles and shapes, such as aluminum channels, aluminum extruded tubing, aluminum angles, and aluminum profiles.
These shape products are used to create more specific products, like: poles, window frames, quarter panels, running boards, car frames and bumpers, construction equipment, load-bearing ceiling beams, decorative trim, paneling and more. Extruded aluminum shapes can also be used as heating or cooling elements of heaters and refrigerators.
Advantages of Aluminium
Components made from aluminium extrusions are some of the commonest parts used in the manufacturing industry and can be seen in many day to day applications, from cars to aircraft and office equipment to lighting to name a few. The lightweight, durable and flexible design properties of aluminium extrusions give them a vast range of structural and finishing uses, whether in their naturally bright-unfinished form, powder coated, electroplated or anodised.
No surprise, manufacturers make aluminum extrusions with aluminum and aluminum alloys. Aluminum is strong and stable, yet it is one-third the density and stiffness of steel. Manufacturers alloy aluminum with other materials in order to supplement characteristics like strength.
- Some of the most common aluminum alloys used during extrusion include those in the 1000 series, 6000 series and 7000 series.
- 1000 Series aluminum alloys are non-heat treatable and have low strength. They do, however, boast high electrical conductivity and high thermal conductivity.
- 6000 Series aluminum alloys are heat treatable and easy to extrude and weld. They are corrosion resistant (including in marine environments) and have medium to high strength. They are strong enough for most load bearing applications, and are used for this both on land and at sea.
- Al 6060 is the most commonly used aluminum alloy for extrusion. It offers good formability, easy extrusion of complicated cross-sections and medium strength. It takes well to anodization. Most often, it’s used to create handrails, doors, window, lighting components, awnings and furniture components.
- Al 6101 is almost identical to Al 6060, except that it is stronger. It is best for use with electrical applications that require high strength components.
- Al 6063 is somewhat stronger than Al 6060, but is somewhat harder to extrude. This is especially true if the manufacturer wants to extrude something complex. Nevertheless, Al 6063 shares almost all the same applications as Al 6060.
Al 6005A is stronger than Al 6063, but it is more difficult to extrude. Also, it works well for protective applications, but it is not great for decorative finishing because its surface quality isn’t good enough.
- Al 6082 is quite strong. It works best with fairly simple cross-section extrusions and it can be anodized. Most often, this aluminum alloy is used in load bearing structures in ships, buildings and transportation structures.
- 7000 Series aluminum alloys have the highest strength of these alloy groups. They are easy to weld and do not lose strength during machining as easily as 6000 series aluminums. Unfortunately, they aren’t as corrosion resistant or as easy to form as the 6000 series. However, aluminum extrusions manufacturers can amend this by adding manganese, zirconium or chromium. This alloy series is a common choice for bike frames, car parts, high speed boats and aircraft containers.
- Al 7108 is the most commonly used 7000 series aluminum alloys. It offers good fatigue strength and high tensile strength. It can, however, succumb to stress corrosion if put under very high stress. Nevertheless, Al 7108 can be used for transportation and building applications.