While there are a great many situations where a standard extrusion die would work for creating aluminum extrusion solutions for industry, there are also just as many situations where custom extrusion dies are better. By designing and building your own custom aluminum extrusion profiles, your company can have the edge over the competition and create truly unique and innovative solutions for your industry. This is how ground-breaking changes in approach to design and manufacture develop. It is important to work with a company that can offer the opportunity and ability to engineer custom extrusion dies so they will provide you with the results that you require.
Choosing an Aluminum Alloy
Aluminum extrusion solutions should also include the needs of the finished product relating to how it will be used. For example, if you need to play up aluminum’s natural ability to be resistant to corrosion or if your part will be used to increase thermal conductivity, make sure to express that in the design phase. Custom extrusion dies can be used to prevent corrosion through design, but the alloy that you choose will also play an important part. Different alloys have a variety of other elements mixed in, including zinc, silicon, and magnesium, just to name a few.
The alloys that we use at Silver City Aluminum include:
- 6005 series
- 6063 series
- 6463 series
The 6000 series is the most popular class of alloys. It offers great strength to weight ratio, excellent extrudability, and easy machinability. The key is to find the best alloy for your purposes to enhance the results of your design. When you work with Silver City Aluminum, our team of engineers and technicians will guide you through every step of the process to ensure the best possible results. The type of alloy that you choose will make a big difference in the performance of your parts and products. Many alloys can be strengthened even further through heat treatment or hardening through cooling.
Aluminum Industry Standards
Whenever we design a product, whether using a standard extrusion die or custom extrusion die, there are design standards for the industry. The criteria depend upon the product’s use and the application within the specific industry. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) oversees all of the organizations that work with the development of industry standards. It is essential to work with a facility that adheres to these industry standards to ensure that your aluminum extrusion solutions are the proper alloy, temper, and tolerance for the product type and application.
One example of this would be an aluminum hand rail, which can be used inside of a residential or commercial property, as well as for outdoor and marine applications. Depending on where the hand rail would be used, it is necessary to meet the specific standards for the size, length, and strength of the custom aluminum extrusion. Typical extrusion tempers include “T1” or cooled from an elevated temperature and naturally aged, “T4” or solution heat-treated and naturally aged, and “T5” or cooled from an elevated temperature and artificially aged. There are other tempers available as well, each with its own unique method for cooling, treating, and aging.
Common Sizes and Shapes
When it comes to creating custom extrusion dies for the purpose of creating a custom aluminum extrusion, it is important to work with the fabrication facility to ensure that you are working with the size and shape parameters that they are capable of producing. Most extrusion profiles are less than eight inches in diameter; however, a few are more substantial. However, the larger the shape, the more expensive the extrusion. Make sure to provide the engineers and technicians with a detailed drawing of the shape that you want to create for aluminum extrusion solutions.
At Silver City Aluminum, we use 2D files, including .dxf and .dwg from AutoCAD, as well as 3D files, including .stp and .iges from Inventor, Solidworks, and other similar programs. We can also open Adobe .pdf files and can view scanned documents, as long as they have all of the necessary dimensions needed to redraw the shape in CAD. Our website features engineering tips to help our customers with their custom aluminum extrusion design. Tips regarding shape size, standard aluminum tolerances, screw slot design, avoiding surface defects, designing interlocking joints and snap-fit joints, mechanical properties of alloys, and standard packing methods are available on our website.
If you have any questions about custom aluminum extrusion or would like to speak with one of our engineers about designing your own custom extrusion dies, just give us a call at 508-542-7200. We also have a wide variety of stock profiles if you are interested in using a standard extrusion die for your aluminum extrusion solutions.