Extruded Aluminum Spotlight: Seamless Aluminum Gutters

seamless-guttersThere are many things around us that are made with extruded aluminum. The process to create these parts, particularly at a one stop shop fabrication service like Silver City Aluminum, is simple, straight-forward and it gets the job done like no other type of metal works that exists. Aluminum fabrication shops can even do long and short part manufacturing, punching, precision sawing, mitering and secondary operations, which include de-burring, heli-coiling and assembly. When you work with custom aluminum extruders who have years of experience working in this business that have the ability to do everything on-site, you gain all the benefits of reduced lead times, lower labor costs and a better overall quality finished product.

The Benefit of Seamless Aluminum Gutters
One of the products that can be created in aluminum fabrication shops that has revolutionized the options for homeowners and commercial property owners nationwide is the creation of the seamless aluminum gutter. If you have ever cleaned a gutter, removed all the leaves, sticks, pine needles and other debris that gets stuck inside there, then you know what a back-breaking chore it can be. Standing atop a ladder, trying not to fall; scooping and scraping all along the length of the building just to clear out the debris so that water can flow after a rainstorm or that snow and ice can melt in the spring without causing damage to the structure.

The invention of the seamless aluminum gutter made a huge stride toward reducing the amount of places along the length of the gutter that could create a stoppage or clog of this debris. By creating a gutter product that was truly seamless through the process of extruded aluminum, the amount of work required of the average homeowner was greatly decreased. Adding extra products, such as a “gutter guard” system that is designed to fit over the top of the gutters themselves to prevent leaves, pine needles, sticks and other debris from getting into the seamless aluminum gutters in the first place can eliminate that wasted weekend all together.

How Seamless Gutters Are Made
Like other types of extruded aluminum, the design and creation of seamless aluminum gutters all starts with the steel die. A steel die, which is basically a steel plate with a design cut into it, is created in the desired shape of the client to manufacture the aluminum product. If you have ever used one of those playdough toys as a child where you press the dough into the plastic hopper and then push down on the lever until the dough comes out the shape that you selected to use, then you have a basic understanding about how aluminum fabrication shops do what they do.

The aluminum is heated until it becomes malleable and it is pressed with tons of pressure through the die and the desired shape comes out on the other end. Not unlike the playdough toy, clients can also choose from standard shapes, such as round tubes, squares and rectangles, but these can also be hollow or solid. Custom shapes can be created by designing a unique profile or die according to the client’s specifications to create the desired shape. This is how seamless gutters are made. Unlike other gutters which are sectional and have to be fastened together when installed, seamless gutters are one big piece which is joined to other big pieces in a minimal way, reducing leaking and other common issues.

The Process of Aluminum Extrusion
Silver City Aluminum uses 99.9 percent recyclable aluminum for all of its orders. We purchase aluminum billet from several different suppliers. We pre-cut the billets, which come in long lengths, based on the specifications of the client’s order. This helps us to minimize scrap and allows us to calculate all of our cuts based on the desired length and weight of the profile. We pre-heat the materials in a long oven before they reach the extrusion press according to the temperature required for proper extrusion.

The material is then pushed at 10 million pounds of pressure through the customer’s selected or designed custom steel die to create the exact shape required. We cool the finished products on a special 160 foot table. While we can create extruded aluminum at a maximum of 30 feet, the table allows us to stretch the product into the perfect dimension while it is still warm and then it is cut to the requested length and heat-treated to harden the aluminum to its maximum capacity. Our system is fully integrated and automated, using advanced PLC control technology that allows us to see every function throughout the process to provide consistent quality control.

Custom Aluminum Extruders
Unlike other businesses that create extruded aluminum for their clients, Silver City Aluminum is unique in that we are a one stop shop fabrication and finishing manufacturer as well. What this means to our clients is that we do everything in-house, from creating the extruded aluminum, to doing custom fabrications that you would get at custom aluminum fabrication shops and even offering finishing options, such as painting, powder coating and anodizing.

Seamless gutters benefit greatly from the technology used to create extruded aluminum because these gutters are designed through the custom profile to join only at inside and outside corners or at downspout outlets, minimizing the potential for leaking, catching debris or failing in another way. All of these techniques used by custom aluminum extruders help to improve everyday products, such as these seamless aluminum gutters. By creating a product like this without seams that can be made all in one single piece, homeowners no longer have to worry about sagging or leaking gutters, which can cause damage to the roof, the exterior walls of the home and even the foundation.

There are many other products that we use and don’t even realize that they were created through this process of extruded aluminum. For manufacturing companies that once created hundreds of tiny parts that would need to be welded or otherwise assembled together, the idea of using aluminum fabrication shops to reduce labor and cut costs can be very appealing.

If you are interested in learning more about the one stop shop fabrication and extruded aluminum services offered at Silver City Aluminum or if you are interested in placing an order to create a custom product using our custom aluminum extruders, please give us a call at 508-542-7200. Our team of customer service agents and technicians will work with you every step of the way to design a custom die that will give you the results that you desire.