Designing Extrusion Dies to Create Custom Aluminum Products

custom-diesIf you are in the market to create truly custom profiles and pieces for your business, you will want to seriously consider working with aluminum as your primary material. Compared to materials such as steel or titanium, aluminum is much easier to extrude into a wide range of complex shapes and sizes. In addition, the properties of aluminum lend additional benefits with regard to strength, durability and long-lasting, great-looking results.

Having the ability to design your own custom aluminum products can help you to get a leg up on your competition. Not being restricted to standard extrusions, being able to create custom aluminum dies that will yield shapes for each application and consolidate parts to reduce the amount of secondary joining processes that are required is another huge advantage. Silver City Aluminum works with clients to design and create truly custom solutions, as well as to provide secondary and finishing services, such as powder-coating or anodizing aluminum for even greater results.

Cost-Effective Parts Design
One reason why many businesses are choosing to create their own custom extrusion dies is that it is more cost-effective. While it will cost more up front to create your own dies in the beginning, the money that will be saved in material costs as you use the custom design will begin to pay off straight away. For example, any secondary operations that need to be performed on custom extruded aluminum will be less intensive and complex, reducing the amount of materials that get machined away or removed during fabrication.

Silver City Aluminum will work with you to help design your custom extrusion dies. Our website has a series of engineering tips that can be downloaded to help in your design, giving you insight and understanding about why certain designs will work better than others. Taking time to learn about standard aluminum tolerances, how to avoid surface defects through careful design, designing snap-fit and interlocking joints, as well as gaining an understanding of the various mechanical properties of the alloys that we use can help yield even better results in your finished custom aluminum products.

The Extrusion Process
Learning more about how extrusion is done can also help, especially when learning about the properties of aluminum and how the whole process is done. Silver City Aluminum uses the direct method of extrusion, using pressure to push the raw aluminum material through standard or custom extrusion dies to create an elongated shape. This shape can be either hollow or solid, depending on the client specifications and can be a variety of lengths and widths.

There are three different types of extrusion dies that are used, whether custom or standard. Machined blanks are used to create solid shapes and bridge or porthole designs are used to create hollow shapes. A designer that has a good handle on the technology involved in creating custom aluminum products through extrusion will have the most overall successful designs. Not knowing what is involved or having knowledge about the properties of aluminum is a definite disadvantage and can end up costing clients if the design is unsuccessful or does not produce the desired result.

This is one of the chief reasons why Silver City Aluminum works with each and every client on an individual, one-on-one basis to help engineer, design and manufacture custom extrusion dies that will create quality custom aluminum products. Beyond the initial design phase, our team will also work with you on specialty services, such as anodizing aluminum or other secondary operations and assembly, to ensure your optimum satisfaction. Every member of our team is highly trained, experienced and knowledgeable in what it takes to create successful custom extrusion dies.

Avoiding Common Issues
It is also important to know about common mistakes and issues that plague designers of custom extrusion dies. Shapes that are not balanced or not symmetrical are less likely to hold their dimensions, stay straight or be able to hold a precision curve. Variations in the thickness of the walls has also been known to be a problem. Industry standards state that the minimum wall thickness should be at least half of the thickest width within the custom aluminum products profile. Not adhering to this standard can cause distortion issues, as walls with different thicknesses will cool at different rates.

Another common issue is with walls that are too thin. The larger the piece, the thicker the walls must be in order to provide support. For example, a ten inch piece will need thicker walls than a three inch piece. Narrow shapes that have deep gaps, openings that are too wide and too deep and shapes that have a lot of gaps are prone to breakage. Too many spaces and the die won’t be able to handle the force of the extrusion pressure. Working with the technicians at Silver City Aluminum can help avoid these common issues.

Choose Silver City Aluminum for Custom Aluminum Products
All of the components that we use throughout the entire extrusion system are top quality and state-of-the-art. Each component is fully automated and integrated, allowing us to communicate with our machines via the Internet through the use of advanced PLC control technology. What this does is help us to see every single step of the process from anywhere in the world, determine how the machine is functioning and view all of the important variables. This helps Silver City Aluminum to provide consistent, dependable and great-looking results for our clients. Give us a call at 508-542-7200 or visit our website to use our online ordering form.