When you think about rod and bar aluminum – what do you imagine? Sign posts, window frames, structural framing, LED lighting… the list goes on and on. However, what you might not know is that manufacturing businesses utilize rod and bar aluminum in a totally different way. Made from a standard extrusion die, these stock profiles are used to create bar-shaped pieces with flat edges or circular-shaped pieces that can then be machined into a never-ending list of products. Many of the products that are created are not exactly what you would think of when you look at rod and bar aluminum: nails, screws, bolts, rivets, and aluminum wire. Other products, such as antennas, chain link fencing, and twist-ties, also come from rod and bar aluminum materials. Surprised? Impressed? There truly is no limit as to what you can do with aluminum alloy materials and the process known as aluminum extrusion design.
Taking Advantage of Aluminum Properties
When it comes to manufacturing that includes aluminum and aluminum alloys as the prevailing material, it is important to take advantage of the properties associated with aluminum. For example, aluminum is naturally non-corrosive, is a great transmitter of electricity, and is infinitely recyclable. Studies show that aluminum wire has the ability to transmit twice the amount of electrical current as copper when compared pound for pound.
That translates to cost savings and increased sustainability for any project that chooses to use aluminum instead of copper wiring. In fact, aluminum wire has been successfully used by utility companies throughout the United States for over 100 years across all of our nation’s power grids. Other advantages, such as flexibility, strength, affordability, and easy maintenance, make using aluminum materials in this way a huge benefit in many different types of construction and utility-based projects.
Comparing Apples to Oranges
While you will hear the term “rod and bar aluminum” often together as though they are the same thing, there are definitely some differences in these two types of aluminum extrusion design. Both types are made using extrusion; however, the aluminum rod is circular, while the bar aluminum has flat sides. To create aluminum wire, the industry standard defines “wire” as being less than 3/8 of an inch in diameter and have the ability to carry an electrical current. You may also hear the term aluminum “tube,” which refers to aluminum rod created with a standard extrusion die that is hollow on the inside. There are also many practical applications for this type of rod and bar aluminum, such as transporting liquid inside of heat exchangers, water treatment plants, and food processing equipment.
In addition to machining the rod and bar aluminum to make it into smaller parts and components, it can also be used in other ways. Heli-coiling in New England is a popular secondary operation performed after extrusion to make a part or piece even more useful. Telescoping profiles can also be made using a standard extrusion die or as part of a larger project involving aluminum extrusion design. The point is that extrusion is extremely beneficial, increasing the benefits and advantages of aluminum alloys, and can be manipulated in many different ways to create custom results for clients, depending on their needs.
6000 Series Aluminum Alloys
At Silver City Aluminum, we work with the 6000 series aluminum alloys, including 6005, 6063, and 6463. We use a variety of tempers and thicknesses to provide the tensile strength and elongation percentage required to meet the mechanical property needs of our clients. The 6000 series is very popular for aluminum extrusion design among other manufacturers as well. It is ideal for vehicle components, marine fittings, electrical fittings, hydraulic pistons, valve parts, couplings, brake components, and has excellent resistance to corrosion, seawater, and atmospheric conditions.
Versatile, strong, durable and machinable, allowing for secondary operations such as punching, mitering, precision sawing, and heli-coiling in New England or wherever it is needed, aluminum extrusion design is a great choice for just about any industry and in many unique applications. If you would like to learn more about custom or standard extrusion die engineering and manufacturing, give Silver City Aluminum a call at 508-542-7200 and speak with one of our engineers or technicians about your unique needs and specifications.