The unique properties and characteristics of Aluminum allow manufacturers to utilize various advantages that the metal has to offer. Aluminum is the most versatile metal that can easily be machined and shaped. In addition to this, the flexibility and strength of aluminum extrusion profiles make it more profitable for fabrication companies.
Aluminum extrusion is a process where the Aluminum alloy is shaped through a die with a cross-sectional profile. The extrusion is done with a force in which, Aluminum billets are heated at a specific temperature, melted, and then pushed through a shaped die opening to fulfill a specific size and shape requirement.
ALUMINUM EXTRUSION MACHINING AND PROCESS: TOP PRODUCTS OF ALUMINUM EXTRUSIONS
BENEFITS OF ALUMINUM EXTRUSION
- Aluminum holds around ⅓ weight of metals like iron, copper, brass, and steel, making extruded Aluminum easy to handle and less costly to shop.
- Aluminum extrusions can be used to enhance the strength of the metal for various purposes and designs. Cold-weather applications and high load capacity are the main features of Aluminum extruded products.
- Excellent corrosion resistance and rust-proof surface make it more useful for warehouses, airlines and display racking needs.
- Aluminum is a non-sparking, heat-resistant metal, which is very well suited for highly flammable environments and warehouse equipment.
Before understanding how an Aluminum Extrusion is manufactured, let’s understand its applications in various industries.
COMMON APPLICATIONS OF ALUMINUM EXTRUSION
Almost every industrial structure applies Aluminum profiles in different sections such as machine guarding, Aluminum extrusion workbenches, warehouse equipment, and more.
Aluminum extrusion is the choice for industrial fabrication as it’s easy to cut and drill along with providing value for money. Many factories use Aluminum profiles to create guarding frames for machines. Not only is tangible, and lightweight but able to resist corrosion and rust.
Weight management is one of the biggest challenges of transportation. To cut down on the weight issues in trailers, flight case Aluminum extrusions, airplanes, and other modes of transportation, Aluminum extruded profiles are the most preferred option. Automotive applications like keeping the trailers low weight allow the tow vehicle expends more torque on carrying things. Apart from these, extruded Aluminum is now used across various transportation areas including, marine industries, railroad transportation, and more.
Another industry that largely depends on Aluminum extrusion is the construction industry. Sliding Aluminum extrusion handles, ladders, and elevator shafts are made using Aluminum profiles. Due to the flexibility, high load carrying capability, and electrical qualities, Aluminum extruded profiles stand strong during the construction. Similar to this, architectural canopies and rallies are used for interior design as it allows improved composition and better stability.
From electronic racks, power units, and heat sink to conduits and connectors, you can find Aluminum extrusions in almost every electrical system or equipment. With excellent electrical conductivity and non-magnetic quality, Aluminum extrusion is used in electric equipment. Modern LED fixtures are done easily with Aluminum extrusion connectors that are easy to mount and color without making them too heavy. Solar panel support structures are another great example of corrosion-resistant and powerful Aluminum extrusion applications.
If you have noticed, most of the display equipment and racking materials in all those trade shows are made of Aluminum extruded materials. The main reason for going with Aluminum extrusion is that it is easy to assemble and can be shipped without any hassles. A small rack allows great carrying capacity, saving money and fuel while transportation. The powder coating makes it easy to maintain without any rust or corrosion-related issues. Moreover, the structures are easy to be molded in different shapes and sizes with swift interlock and aesthetic appearance.
ESSENTIAL STEPS OF ALUMINUM EXTRUSION PROCESS
Aluminum extrusion is usually done in two methods; direct and indirect with different power levels. Here are a few steps to understand the basic Aluminum extrusion process.
Direct Aluminum Extrusion
- Direct Extrusion involves an Aluminum extrusion die head, which is kept fixed. The preheated Aluminum billet is forced through the die using a moving ram.
- The direct extrusion methods are commonly used for bars, hollow tubes, and Aluminum rods to modify a wide range of solid and hollow profiles.
Indirect Aluminum Extrusion
- Indirect extrusion, on the other hand, involves billet movement. The Aluminum billet is kept steady, and the ram moves the Aluminum extrusion die to wield pressure in the sable billet.
- The heated Aluminum billet is forced into the opening of the tools so that the die gets modified to create various shapes and sizes. The process is also called the Aluminum extrusion press method.
- Once the extrusion process is done, a quick cooling through a water bath guarantees the uniform shape of the Aluminum.
- Untangled and solidified extruded parts are transferred to the saw table, where the pieces are cut to preferred specifications.
- The hardening process in the oven is then done further by speeding up the aging process. This results in enhances durability, resilience, and longevity in the end product.
VARIOUS EXTRUSION METHODS TO ACHIEVE ACCURACY
Talking about Aluminum extrusion methods, to achieve accuracy and guaranteed finishing, there are various methods available to get the perfect shape. CNC milling is another versatile way of fabrication that fulfills an array of manufacturing requirements.
CNC Aluminum Extrusion
Computer Numerically Controlled or CNC is a machine tool processing. A computer runs a set of programs and digitally handles the entire process, including cutting, drilling, and tapping during the Aluminum fabrication process. The CNC technology creates a solution using shirt bed and long bed lathes with high-speed machining centers and automated handling equipment.
CNC milling is adaptable to changes in specification and designs, offering flexibility to the manufacturer during the Aluminum extrusion process.
Laser Cutting Aluminum Extrusion
Traditional Aluminum extrusion used to include multi-machine steps and heavy tool investment at high production costs. However, with the new laser cutting technology, the multi-step process has become easier with a single laser operation. Laser cutting technology is used to cut shapes faster than old methods, drastically reducing the processing time for extruded Aluminum profiles. Aluminum plates are cut with different laser cutting machines like CO2 laser cutting, fiber laser cutting, and lamp-pumped laser cutting machines.
The reason why it is so efficient is the fact that the high beam laser makes Aluminum cutting possible. Materials like Aluminum are reflective and when projected light, it bounces back or scatters the material. Laser cutting is a smooth process, which results in clean trims and desired shape.
DIFFERENT SHAPES OF EXTRUDED ALUMINUM
Extruded Aluminum is formed into three shapes.
- Hollow Shapes
However, with the help of Aluminum extrusion dies and hydraulic pressing, it can be formed into a variety of standard extrusion shapes.
T-Slot Extruded Aluminum
With a T-shaped track of space, it enables the pieces to interlock and secure in place without attaching their joints. Once in place, nuts, fasteners and locks keep the pieces together and form a T-Slot aluminum profile shape.
Extruded Aluminum Frames
Ideal for metal frameworks and industrial projects, Aluminum extruded frames are made from t-slot Aluminum shapes.
MORE SHAPES OF EXTRUDED ALUMINUM
- 1/2-inch Aluminum extrusion
- ex-14 Aluminum extrusion
- f-channel Aluminum extrusion
- v-slot Aluminum profile extrusion
- 100×100 Aluminum extrusion
HOW MUCH WEIGHT CAN ALUMINUM EXTRUSION HOLD?
Extruded Aluminum is a strong material and is thus known for industry-level high load applications.