While the use of aluminum as a metal in automotive design is not entirely new, it has recently become a huge game-changer in an industry that has been striving to improve efficiency. A big switch from the use of steel as the primary metal in automotive manufacturing to aluminum has made a huge impact on the industry as a whole. So despite the fact that aluminum has been used in the automotive world for a long time, it is still being touted by various manufacturers as being the next “big thing” in cars and trucks.
Steel vs Aluminum
There are many benefits to using aluminum extrusion design across numerous industries. When you combine the cost-effectiveness, light weight nature and ease of performing secondary operations with this material, it seems to be a logical choice. However, the debate rages on despite the proven effectiveness of custom aluminum extrusions. Those who prefer steel as the primary metal used in automotive design cite weight as being an advantage, not a disadvantage as those on the pro-aluminum design side.
When using aluminum as the primary metal, automotive manufacturers can reduce the weight of a standard vehicle by somewhere in the neighborhood of 250-700 pounds, amounting to approximately 15 percent of the weight. This helps to achieve a 7-20 percent reduction in fuel consumption, which is the most recent mandate of the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency here in the United States.
Those who argue on behalf of steel feel that aluminum is not as safe as steel when it comes to consumer and passenger safety in accidents. However, studies show that aluminum does not have any disadvantages compared to steel and it can absorb twice as much of the crash energy when compared pound for pound to mild or older steel. The advantages of improved fuel economy combined with safety benefits have put aluminum extrusion design in the automotive industry, with or without protective powder coating, ahead of other metal materials.
Top Manufacturers Using Aluminum
Other advantages to using aluminum, such as the myriad of secondary operations that can be used with this material, as well as the ability to create unique and custom aluminum extrusions, have made it very attractive to some of the top manufacturers. Many are testing it out with limited edition releases to see how consumers will react, while others are still at the drawing board in coming up with new ideas for aluminum extrusion design.
Among the top manufacturers that are taking the plunge, Range Rover, Audi, Cadillac and Jaguar are the most notable to step up to the plate. The Range Rover that was introduced in 2013 was approximately 40 percent lighter than older models with its all aluminum body and protective powder coating for increased durability and long-lasting good looks. In addition, the Cadillac ATS, Audi A8 and A6, as well as various Jaguar releases have all followed suit with aluminum extrusion design.
Why Custom Aluminum Extrusions Rock
If you are looking into various metals for your next project, whether you are in the automotive industry or any other type of top industry in the nation, it pays to consider custom aluminum extrusions. The advantages associated with this very durable and flexible material continue to grow each day. Secondary operations and custom profile designs allow this material to really shine, regardless of its use.
At Silver City Aluminum we are dedicated to providing each and every client with top quality standards and consistency throughout every step of the custom aluminum design process for the very best possible results. Our goal is to provide superior products that meet or exceed the client’s expectations. Because we do all of our secondary operations and finishing in-house, our team is able to have a much faster rate of delivery than other similar extruders and fabricators. We keep our focus on the application of the product itself, not just the sum of its parts, which allows us to provide a far superior finished product.
Speak with one of our technicians at Silver City Aluminum for more information on the different types of aluminum extrusion design that we do for our clients or to get a free estimate on any of our services, including custom protective powder coating, painting, galvanizing and other secondary operations.