Custom Aluminum Extrusion: Understanding the Extrusion Process

The Aluminum Extrusion ProcessMany different industries rely on aluminum fabrication shops to provide them with the parts, components, and products that they require. Standard and custom aluminum extrusion are used widely across demanding industries, such as the automobile, aircraft, and New England marine industry. Aluminum extrusion solutions are also used in construction, industrial machinery, and for everyday consumer goods.

The process used to create custom aluminum extrusion is interesting. It allows for lengths of aluminum to made from a fixed profile in a specific shape. The lengths of metal can be cut according to the needs of the client to meet the demands of the finished product. Very complex cross-sections of aluminum can be created that are very durable, strong, and have a polished-looking surface finish. Secondary operations are available as well, including custom finishing solutions, to create each order according to the client’s specifications.

Getting Started

Like all other types of projects, custom aluminum extrusion begins with a design. Our engineers like to work closely with each client to ensure quality results. Once the design has been created, a custom steel die or profile is created to be used for making the aluminum extrusion solutions. It is important to choose aluminum fabrication shops that have many years of knowledge and experience working with standard and custom aluminum extrusion. The quality and effectiveness of the finished project depends on the knowledge and skill of the technicians, as well as the equipment and materials that are used.

The basic process involves forcing a billet of aluminum through the profile that was created to make the specific cross-sectional shape. It is similar to squeezing toothpaste out of a tube and having it come out in that cylindrical shape. Another great example is the Play-Doh Shape Maker tool that kids use to make long pieces of spaghetti or bars to use in Play-Doh construction. All of those Play-Doh tools are called extruders.

At Silver City Aluminum, we heat the billets to a specific temperature to make them even more malleable and easy to form. Then we force the aluminum alloys through the steel dies using 10,000,000 pounds of pressure. This allows us to create just about any shape you might ever need for construction, transportation, aerospace, or the New England marine industry. This type of extrusion is known as “direct extrusion,” which is by far the most widely used method for aluminum extrusion. We use aluminum alloys in the 6000-series, as they have been proven to be the best suited for our clients’ needs.

The Next Phase

Once the shapes are made through the process of extrusion, the finished products are cooled down on our 160-foot table. While we have a maximum extrusion length of 30-feet, the 160-foot table is used for stretching the extruded aluminum into the dimension required by the client. While the metal is still warm enough, we use opposing stretchers to get the job done. Once stretched according to specifications, we cut the metal to the requested length before heat-treating it to harden the aluminum to its maximum capacity. Once hardening is finished, the parts, pieces, or components can move on to secondary operations and finishing to further customize the results, according to the needs of the client.

Every single component in our extrusion system is top of the line and state-of-the-art. Our system is fully integrated and completely automated. Our team of engineers and technicians use advanced PLC control technology, which allows us to communicate with our machines via the Internet from anywhere in the world. This helps us to monitor the functions of the machine, including the rate of speed, extrusion recipe, and all other variables. Constant monitoring helps us to provide consistent and dependable quality control, as we are able to keep an eye on the extrusion process every single step of the way.

The Silver City Aluminum Difference

When compared to other aluminum fabrication shops, it is easy to see the difference in our approach. Everything is done in-house, from the design phase of the profile to the finishing and shipping of the end product. We take pride in working with our clients throughout the entire process to ensure optimal quality control. Our lead times far exceed any other in the industry. In fact, our standard lead time allows us to get custom aluminum products delivered to our clients via our own fleet of trucks within 3-4 weeks maximum. The industry standard is about one-and-a-half months for standard aluminum extrusion.

Contact our office by calling 508-542-7200 or use our online contact form to reach out to our team. We can answer any questions that you might have about standard or custom aluminum extrusion and can help you start the process of creating aluminum extrusion solutions for your industry. Call today and see why so many of our clients trust our team exclusively.