Designing and Creating Your Own Custom Aluminum Extrusion

anodizing-aluminumThere are many reasons why manufacturers choose to use custom aluminum products. For starters, aluminum is the only metal on earth that has the ability to be used across so many different industries and remains 100 percent recyclable. This reduces production costs by 95 percent and is a positive material choice for companies that want to be more environmentally friendly.

Aluminum is used commonly for the manufacture of window and door framing, but it is also instrumental in the medical industry. It is used with commercial lighting, stage lighting and residential home fixtures. Custom aluminum extrusion is used to create products for health and fitness, the weapons industry, sports equipment, boating and much more. It is also a popular choice for heating and cooling, refrigeration, partitions, displays, signs and transportation.

In addition to all of the flexibility, cost-effectiveness and earth friendly benefits of using aluminum with standard or custom extrusion dies, it is also used for the natural advantages that are inherent within this unique metal. Aluminum has a natural resistance to corrosion; features a low density; is extremely malleable, yet strong; is a good conductor of electricity; and, when used to create alloys, it can be amazingly durable.

What Are Custom Extrusion Dies
The extrusion process involves the use of heated aluminum billets, which are pressed through a profile or die at ten million pounds of pressure. When the metal is pushed through the metal design it creates a specific shape, much like the tools used by children to create shapes out of dough or clay. Standard dies include basic shapes like hollow tubes, squares, rectangles, angles and solid shapes. Custom extrusion dies are used to create custom shapes that are ordered specifically by the client to be used for a certain purpose.

Custom aluminum extrusion is available through reputable companies, such as Silver City Aluminum in Taunton, Massachusetts, which provides aluminum extrusion to clients all over the globe. We do everything in-house at our one stop shop fabrication facility, which means that everything from the design of custom extrusion dies to the extrusion process itself, secondary operations and finishing, including anodizing aluminum, are all done at our shop. This reduces lead time and gives us more control over the custom aluminum products we produce.

Anodizing Aluminum
While there are number of ways to providing finishing to custom aluminum extrusion, one of the most common methods is anodizing. The process involved in anodizing aluminum is when the metal is induced to form a layer of oxide. This is achieved by immersing it in a liquid electrolyte and applying an electric current to it. It is called anodizing because the custom aluminum products forms the anode of an electric circuit. The metal gets changed to become more resistant to corrosion, harder, stronger and can even have enhanced electrical or thermal properties. Anodizing aluminum also provides an aesthetic benefit as well.

Once the custom aluminum extrusion has been created through the use of custom extrusion dies, the metal is cleaned to remove any surface contaminants and debris. Then it is subjected to an electric current, which causes a layer of hydrogen to form on the cathode while a layer of oxygen forms on the anode. This is the process that causes a layer of oxide to be created on the anode, which helps to create a barrier to oxidation and corrosion. The layer of oxide is both smooth and shiny, however if you were to view it under and microscope, you would see a tiny network a fissures, which allow dye to penetrate under the surface of the metal. This allows permanent, glossy color to be applied to the piece.

Other Uses for Anodized Aluminum
There are a lot of different industries that rely heavily on custom aluminum products that also take advantage of the properties associated with anodizing aluminum. Art sculptures, metal panels on buildings, outdoor railings and patio furniture are just some of the outdoor applications of custom aluminum extrusion and anodizing. Indoor examples include the casings of kitchen appliances like microwaves and refrigerators, as well as televisions, light fixtures and other designer or decorator elements.

Products created with custom extrusion dies and anodizing aluminum are designed to stand up to heavy use over time, as well as outdoor weather and temperature exposure. This is why you will see a lot of aluminum pots and pans, especially for the food industry. The lack of corrosion seen in this unique and diverse metal makes it ideal for preparing food and food safety. Aluminum is just an all-around super metal that can be bent, shaped, molded and used in a seemingly unlimited number of ways.

Contact Silver City Aluminum for Custom Aluminum Products
If you are interested in learning more about designing your own custom extrusion dies to create custom aluminum extrusion, contact Silver City Aluminum at 508-542-7200. Our team of highly trained designers and technicians can help you choose the best options for your custom aluminum products, including any necessary secondary operations and finishing, such as anodizing aluminum, painting or powder coating.