When it comes to choosing the type of materials you will use in manufacturing or fabrication, it pays to know your metals. For example, one of the reasons why aluminum is used in so many ways is because of its flexibility and durability, however the fact that it is the most abundant metal in nature and the third most commonly found element found in the Earth’s crust outside of oxygen and silicon doesn’t hurt either. Being plentiful makes it easy to find and much more affordable than other metals that might be more rare and difficult to find.
What is Bauxite and What Does It Have to Do With Aluminum?
While only eight percent of the Earth’s crust is actual aluminum, the clay soil bauxite contains approximately 50-60 percent aluminum. Large deposits of bauxite are found in Australia, Brazil, Jamaica and West Africa. Through a cleaning process, the bauxite can be converted to aluminum oxide. Electrolysis is used to then extract the aluminum from the aluminum oxide, with the finished product being called “primary aluminum” in the industry.
Alloying materials are added to the liquid aluminum to increase tensile strength and add certain beneficial properties, and then base materials are made that can be used as raw materials in manufacturing. Sheet logs, wire rod, foundry alloys and extrusion logs are made as required to be “starting materials” for future production. Extrusion logs are the raw material that is used in custom aluminum extrusions, however there are many companies, such as Silver City Aluminum, that purchase billets for extrusion that come from 99.9 percent recyclable aluminum.
The reason why using recycled aluminum materials is so important to the overall cost and versatility of the products created in aluminum fabrication shops is because producing primary aluminum takes up a lot of energy. Pure and primary aluminum costs more in energy and time to produce, however because aluminum can be recycled over and over again without limit, the life cycle of this particular metal far exceeds the lifetime value of other metals. This provides an extremely cost-effective return on investment for mining, extracting and producing raw aluminum materials.
Other Advantages of Using Aluminum Materials
Another reason why custom aluminum extrusions are in such demand through aluminum fabrication shops is because of their use and abilities in manufacturing. Things that are made with aluminum materials, such as boats, trains, cars, buses and trucks, require a lot less fuel to operate and are able to take on larger payloads because they reduce the overall weight of the vehicle. The use of aluminum as a material and extrusion as a process is an unbeatable combination, providing high-quality, strong and durable results that can reduce labor in the areas of assembly and fabrication compared to the shaping and manufacturing of other metals using other methods.
The ability to continue using recycled aluminum materials in the manufacture of custom aluminum extrusions makes it one of the most environmentally-friendly metals available for use today. Unlike other metals, aluminum materials can be recycled an unlimited number of times without losing its beneficial properties, such as strength and durability, and the production of custom aluminum extrusions is the least harmful of all metal production processes currently in use today.
Called the “green” metal by environmentalists, aluminum materials are the most valuable raw material in respect to its ability to recycled again and again without losing or changing its properties. Recycling aluminum reduces waste, saves energy, provides revenue to companies and individuals who choose to recycle it and also conserves natural resources. Recycling aluminum uses 95 percent less of the energy required to produce primary or raw aluminum materials.
How Custom Aluminum Extrusions Are Made
At Silver City Aluminum, we receive our aluminum materials in the form of aluminum billet from our suppliers. They come in long lengths, so our crew pre-cuts these pieces, which are seven inches in diameter, into a more appropriate size to minimize scrap. Our cuts are calculated based upon the overall length and weight of the profile that we are creating. Once the billets are cut, we load them into a long oven to pre-heat them before they get to the press for custom aluminum extrusions. They are then brought to a specific temperature for proper extrusion results.
The custom shape of our custom aluminum extrusions are created by pushing the aluminum materials at approximately 10,000,000 pounds of pressure through the steel profile or die, which has been created for this process. The heated aluminum, which is made up of 99.9 percent recycled aluminum materials, flows through the die to be made into the desired shape. Dies can be custom made by the client or the extrusions can be created using a stock profile. The final phase involves cooling the newly extruded metals, while they are stretched and cut according to the client’s specifications. The finished products are heat-treated to harden the aluminum.
Where to Get Top Quality Custom Aluminum Extrusions
All of the components used in the custom aluminum extrusions created at Silver City Aluminum are top of the line, fully integrated and fully automated. We utilize PLC control technology to communicate with our machines online, which allows us to see the rate of speed, extrusion recipe and how the machine is functioning in order to maintain quality control. Unlike other aluminum fabrication shops, this method allows Silver City Aluminum to keep a continuous eye on the entire extrusion process at every step of the way.
Contact Silver City Aluminum by calling 508-542-7200 or use our online phone to connect with our technicians to find out more about the services we provide. We are located in Taunton, Massachusetts and provide our services to clients right here in Southeastern Massachusetts, as well as all around the world. From engineering to extrusion, fabrication to finishing, Silver City Aluminum is a one-stop shop that can take care of everything for you with regard to custom aluminum extrusions from start to finish. Give us a call today!