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All You Ever Wished to Know About Aluminum Extrusion

Aluminum extrusion is solid and semi-hollow designs made from aluminum. They are prepared for the construction of a wide variety of things from buildings to appliances to automobiles. Since aluminum is a great conductor of heat, it is an ideal choice for transferring heat and heat shielding. The extruded parts of custom aluminum extrusion can be molded in a number of ways like powder-coating, painting, and anodizing. The unique characteristics of aluminum extrusion make it suitable for a variety of industrial, consumer, and commercial applications.

aluminum extrusion

What is Custom Aluminum Extrusion?

Custom aluminum extrusion is a process that allows the designer to carve out almost infinite variants of geometric shapes. With the custom extrusion, you can choose from simple tube designs to complicated hollow designs. Since they are highly flexible, the designers can try out an outlandish variety of sculpts for their lightweight. Moreover, custom extrusion lets you save money and time in procuring the structure you want.

A reputable and experienced aluminum extruder can effortlessly understand the needs and preferences of the end-users. When it comes to selecting the right finishing option for aluminum extrusion, your foremost concern should be to work with an established extrusion expert. This will ensure in-depth guidance to choose the right stuff together with the highest quality aluminum for an exquisite aesthetic appearance.

What Goes Into the Aluminum Extrusion Process?

The popularity of aluminum extrusion in the manufacturing and designing of products has shot up in the last few years. As per the recent reports of Technavio, the market of global aluminum extrusion is accelerating at a CAGR or Compound Annual Growth Rate of 4 percent. You may have heard of the aluminum extrusion process and wonder about the steps involved. So, let’s find out:

Custom aluminum extrusion is a procedure through which the alloy material is pushed through a die equipped with a cross-sectional profile. A strong bar forces out the aluminum so that it comes out of the opening. As the cast of aluminum is pulled out with the help of a runout table, it takes the shape of the die. It is quite like squeezing out buttercream for decoration on top of the cake. As the cream comes out, it takes the shape of the nozzle of the tube.

The opening of the nozzle essentially does the same work as the die of the custom extrusion. There are three main types of extruded shapes: solid, hollow, and semi-hollow.

  • • In the solid extrusion, you will not find any openings or gaps. For instance, beam, angle, and rods.
  • • In hollow extrusion, there could be one through or numerous voids. Eg: rectangular tube and square tubes
  • • Semi-hollow extrusion comes with a partially enclosed void like a C-channel.

 

Custom aluminum extrusion comes with a wide range of applications across various industries such as automotive, aerospace, energy, electronics, and technology. Some structures are even made of more than a single extrusion where the designers create a number of interlocking shapes to give the desired effects.

1. Preparation of extrusion die

First of all, a round die is engineered with H13 steel and preheated between 450 and 500 degrees centigrade for improving its durability and allowing the flow of metals. With the preheating of the die, it is loaded in the extrusion press.

2. Preheating an aluminum billet

After the die is ready, a billet, which is a cylindrical piece of aluminum alloy is moved from a long piece of alloy material. Like the die, the aluminum alloy is also preheated between 450 and 500 degrees centigrade. With the completion of this process, the aluminum billet becomes adequately malleable for the extrusion.

3. Transferring the billet to the extrusion press

Now it’s time for the billet to be transferred to the extrusion press. First, a lubricant is applied inside the extrusion press for preventing the ram and the billet to stick to each other.

4. Pushing the billet material with the ram

As the billet becomes malleable, it is taken to the extrusion press. Here the hydraulic ram exerts pressure up to 15,000 tons. With this, the material is pushed inside the container. The billet material gradually expands and takes the form of the container walls.

5. Guiding the extrusion through the run-out table

The extrusion now comes out owing to the pressure. It is taken out with a puller and then uniformly cooled by fans or a water bath.

6. Moving the extrusion to a stretcher

With the process of cooling, the extrusion reaches the full table length, the billet is sheared by a hot saw. The temperature plays a crucial role at every step. As it is completely hardened, the billet is taken to the saw table.

As the extrusion is completed, the profiles are treated with optimum heat for improving their properties. At times, it also goes through fabrication procedures so that they can be brought to the desired dimensions.

What are the Benefits of Custom Aluminum Extrusion?

Before you opt for custom aluminum extrusion, it is important to be aware of the benefit it proffers. Some of them are listed below:

Eco-friendly: Aluminum is an alloy and it is recycled many times without any fear of losing its essential properties. Contrary to the processing of virgin aluminum or mining, the extrusion procedure doesn’t take as much energy.

Cost-effective: For construction projects within a small budget, custom aluminum extrusion is the best option. This also brings down the price of tooling. When needed, these solutions can be effortlessly incorporated at any stage be it fabrication, painting, anodizing, or powder coating.

High-accuracy: One benefit of custom aluminum extrusion is that it has better tolerance for creating complex shapes with sophisticated extrusion equipment. Some industries require high-precision elements and aluminum extrusion is the best option there.

Versatile capacity: With aluminum extrusion, you can easily engineer any customized design as per the requirements of the clients and industry. Moreover, additional customization can also be crafted for enhancing the appearance of the finished product.

What are the Essential Elements of Aluminum Extrusion?

The two primary areas of the aluminum extrusion process are direct and indirect. In the direct extrusion procedure, the ram traverse and metal flow are directed in the same direction. In the indirect extrusion, these two travel in the opposing direction. There are other variants of custom aluminum extrusion such as impact and hydrostatic extrusion.

Extrusion pressure comes through the optimum pressure for starting the metal flow and reducing the impact of friction between the billet and the chamber. The types and designs of the die are also important elements of aluminum extrusion. As we all know dies are the metal elements that determine the shape of the extrusion by deforming it. On the other hand, the designs of the dies manifest the mechanical nuances of the die and add to the appearance of the component.

Other significant elements of aluminum extrusion are the extrusion ratio, speed of extrusion, length of the billet, and the various kinds of aluminum alloy.

How to Select the Right Aluminum Alloy for Custom Aluminum Extrusion?

Aluminum is a low-density, highly malleable, and strong alloy which makes it a perfect choice for custom aluminum extrusion. But with a huge variety of alloy options, selecting the right aluminum alloy for the extrusion process can be a daunting task.

The 6000 series is by far the most favored choice of aluminum for custom extrusion. Constructed out of silicon and magnesium, these alloys are formed without exerting much pressure. The strength as well as the hardiness of the alloy to endure corrosion makes it a perfect fit for various structural applications.

The 6063 series is another cost-effective option which is a widely popular option for its heat tolerance, smooth surface, and strength. As a result, they are used in tubing, making heat sinks, door-frames, and windows. Another option, similar in nature to the 6063 series is the 6463 series. It is crafted to endure bright-dip anodize for achieving a reflective finish.

The type of aluminum alloy you select for your project also dictates the custom aluminum extrusion cost. Also, the aluminum die is equally crucial in the budget of the extrusion process. Though it may seem a whopping amount, it is relatively a very meager portion considering the scope of the large number of extrusion being conducted in the same die.

Also, there are some variants that are comparatively cheaper than most allots this reducing the custom aluminum extrusion cost to a great extent. But selecting the lowest priced alloy without understanding the material and whether it has the required tensile strength and ductility can lead to disaster. It is advised to work with an expert to find out the best aluminum alloy with the right combination of density, formability, and corrosion resistance.

Conclusion

As you can see the aluminum extrusion procedure together with the right choice of aluminum alloy can offer a myriad choice of extruded aluminum applications. The custom aluminum extrusion process is useful in a number of industries like transportation, machinery, construction, electronics, and aviation industries. Moreover, the extrusion industry is playing a critical role in reducing the negative impact of industrial development on the environment.

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