Aluminum Industry Solutions: Structural Aluminum Extrusions

structural-aluminumWhile structural aluminum can be more expensive than other types of structural materials, it can be manufactured at a much faster rate, which can lower the overall cost of labor. There are many benefits associated with using structural aluminum over other metal materials, such as the ability to paint it, finish it or use it as-is for a very aesthetically-pleasing look. It is very light weight, durable and corrosion resistant, making it perfect for use in many unique applications where high strength is required. The post-forming treatments that are used to create structural aluminum extrusions are what make it so strong.

Pure aluminum is typically too soft to be used in structural applications, so an alloy must be used. Alloys that consist of zinc, copper, silicon, zirconium, manganese, chromium and magnesium are the most widely used choices. A combination of aluminum, silicone and manganese known in the industry as 6061-T6, is the most commonly used alloy for structural aluminum extrusions in the industry. As a result of this alloy combination, structural aluminum extrusions are used frequently in the marine industry, as well as in construction, engineering and automotive industries to create structural framing, machine bases, bridges, industrial machinery, piping and other types of finished products.

More benefits of aluminum products that are made in this way include the ability to form the aluminum into an unlimited variety of shapes, both standard and custom, such as flat rolled sheets that are thinner than a quarter of an inch, plates that are thicker than a quarter of an inch, rods, bars, wires, forgings and castings. Aluminum industry solutions like structural aluminum extrusions are very popular because of the way that they are machined. Extrusion includes the forcing of billets through a die using millions of pounds of pressure in order to create a specific shape.

How Extrusions Are Made

The aluminum or aluminum alloy billets are heated to a specific temperature before they are brought to be extruded. The die that they are forced through, which is also known as a profile, is made from durable steel. The die can be a standard die that will create a standard shape, or it can be a custom die that has been designed by the client for a specific result. The heated metal is them forced through the hollow profile at ten million pounds of pressure. It is then taken to a cooling table where it is stretched to complete the shaping process.

The metal is heated again to increase strength and durability before it is finally cooled and hardened. In addition to the hot extrusion process, aluminum industry solutions also include cold extrusions and warm extrusions that use metal at a wide variety of temperatures for different results. Hot extrusions create a more desirable end result, as cold extrusions will often lose some of the metal’s ductility during the process. Whichever method is chosen, the internal characteristics of the metal will be changed and the tensile strength, yield strength and hardness will all be increased as well.

Benefits of Aluminum Products

In addition to different methods available for creating standard or structural aluminum extrusions, there are other fabrications and finishing treatments that can be used. For example, Silver City Aluminum is known for its ability to do heli-coiling in New England, along with other finishing services. All of our work is done in house, giving our clients faster lead times, lower costs and better overall quality results.

Aluminum and aluminum alloy products are used in a number of different ways. Aluminum is naturally resistant to corrosion and can be sanitized easily. It is also lightweight and can be recycled an unlimited number of times without changing the physical properties of the metal, making it one of the most popular materials in the manufacturing industry. From soda pop to vegetable cans, the food and beverage industries rely on aluminum industry solutions to protect and deliver their products safely to consumers.

Pure aluminum can be used, and Silver City Aluminum purchases aluminum material from suppliers that is 99.9 percent pure. The only time that additional materials and alloys are required to be added is when creating structural aluminum extrusions, where additional strength is required. Examples of this would be in the design and manufacture of airplanes, trucks or buildings.

Aluminum Industry Solutions at Silver City

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of aluminum products or would like to place an order for standard or custom aluminum extrusions, use our online contact form or give us a call. We provide services to customers throughout the northeastern region and across the country. Our team can do it all, from aluminum extrusions to fabrication processes like heli-coiling in New England and more all at our one stop shop location. Call Silver City Aluminum at 508-542-7200.