One Stop Shop Fabrication: How Extruded Aluminum is Created

one-stop-shop-extrusionWe talk a lot about extruded aluminum and the difference between custom and standard extrusions, but it is also important to understand how the extrusion process works in order to appreciate how it is made. Silver City Aluminum is a one stop shop fabrication facility where we do all of the engineering, design, custom and standard extrusions, secondary operations, fabrication and finishing all at one location. This is a clear advantage over our competitors as it allows us to have more control over the finished product that we create for each client, but it also helps us to increase our lead time, giving us the ability to complete orders in a fraction of the time that it would take another facility.

Getting Started: Aluminum Billets
We use aluminum billets that are made from 99.9 percent recyclable aluminum. We purchase from several different suppliers for our extruded aluminum. We receive long length billets from our suppliers, which we then cut down to minimize the amount of scrap produced for each order. The billets are seven inches in diameter and are made from raw aluminum billet. Pre-cutting the billets also helps us to save time and helps us to make our calculations based upon the length and the weight of the profile.

Before we start making custom or standard extrusions, we have to pre-heat the materials. Once the billets have been pre-cut they can be loaded directly into our long oven to be pre-heated before they arrive at the extrusion press. We heat the raw aluminum to a specific temperature to provide us with the results we desire for proper extrusion. Pre-heating the materials helps them to be better shaped into the desired profiles or dies to create the extruded aluminum.

Standard or Custom Shapes
Regardless of whether we are creating custom or standard extrusions, the metal gets pushed through a steel profile or die. Clients either choose from a collection of standard shapes or they can design and create their own shapes through the support and guidance of our engineering and design department. Once the profile or die is created, the aluminum can be pressed through it at approximately ten million pounds of pressure. The pre-heated aluminum flows through the profile and comes out in the desired shape, according to the customer’s design or request.

Next, the extruded aluminum is cooled down on a 160 foot long table. Our extrusions are a maximum of 30 feet, but can be stretched to create the perfect dimension according to the client’s request while they are still warm. We use opposing stretchers for this purpose, providing us with great control over the finished look and size of the custom and standard extrusions. Then the metal is cut down according to the client’s specifications before it goes in to be heat treated. The heat treating process helps to harden the aluminum to its maximum capacity before it is cooled down and completed.

Secondary Operations
Because we are a one stop shop fabrication facility, we are also able to perform secondary operations on all of the custom and standard extrusions that we create. These operations can include de-burring, which is a standard part of the process; vibratory de-burring, which produces a high-quality finished result; tumbler de-burring, which smooths out the finished product; heli-coiling, which is a technique used to create precision formed helically wound coils for a permanent screw thread; and much more.

Our secondary operations and CNC fabrication, which includes long and short part fabrication, mitering, punching and precision sawing, help us to meet the needs of many different industries. Some of the industries that rely on the quality products that are made at our one stop shop fabrication facility with extruded aluminum include the transportation industry, construction and architecture, the marine industry, lighting industry, manufacture of doors and windows frames, display profiles and frames, as well as special service applications.

Finishing Options
Another great benefit to using extruded aluminum is all the ways that you can apply finishes to improve performance as well as aesthetic qualities. Custom aluminum coating solutions can include liquid paint and powder coating techniques. One of the most popular custom aluminum coating solutions is anodizing, which helps to increase strength and add protection from corrosion beyond aluminum’s already natural protection. Ask one of our customer service agents or designers about all of the color, texture and finish options available with custom aluminum coating solutions at Silver City Aluminum.

Create Your Own Custom Extruded Aluminum at Silver City
If you are interested in learning more about custom and standard extrusions or custom aluminum coating solutions at our one stop shop fabrication facility, give us a call at 508-542-7200. We can help you choose the best options available for your extruded aluminum and can even assist with custom designs that are created specifically for your unique needs. Call today for a FREE quote on your project or to place an order at Silver City Aluminum.