As soon as the major automotive manufacturers jumped on the opportunity to switch from steel to aluminum, the race was on to build with this popular new material. While aluminum has been used in many different ways throughout the automotive industry, custom aluminum extrusion and other types of fabrication are now being used to help reduce the weight of consumer vehicles in an attempt to improve fuel economy. By taking advantage of the high strength and low weight of aluminum, as well as its other essential properties, automotive manufacturers are gaining big ground in the industry-wide goal of reducing fuel consumption.
The benefits of aluminum are clear, but you might be surprised to discover just how strong and safe aluminum parts can be when it comes to consumer cars and trucks. The aluminum alloys being used for standard and custom extrusion design are about one-third the weight of the same parts made of steel. As a result, the reduction in overall weight of aluminum vehicles is quite significant. Automakers have been charged with reducing fuel consumption by 20 percent as mandated by the US Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. Aluminum may be able to help them accomplish this without sacrificing quality or safety.
Safety Testing for Aluminum Parts & Components
When compared side-by-side, there are no clear advantages to choosing steel over aluminum. Safety testing for aluminum parts and components has revealed that aluminum far exceeds expectations. It performs just as well as steel in accidents and, pound for pound, can absorb twice the “crash energy” as steel. The amount of steel in the average car in the United States is approximately 60 percent of its weight. So when manufacturers talk about replacing steel with aluminum, it could definitely make a major impact. With fuel economy such a hot button right now in everything from politics to consumer demands, the goal of most manufacturers is to significantly increase the amount of aluminum used in new vehicle design.
Some of the automakers already using aluminum include Ford, Range Rover, Audi, Cadillac, and Jaguar, with many others already working with or announcing plans to work with it as well. Many companies that provide extrusion and fabrication for industry are already focusing on the aluminum automotive industry. Silver City Aluminum has worked with clients to develop custom extrusion design that can be used for consumer vehicles. Custom aluminum extrusion plays a significant role in many different industries, but the growth in the auto industry is encouraging. Automakers are excited about taking advantage of all the benefits associated with using aluminum, in addition to its lighter weight.
Automotive Industry Collars – Silver City Aluminum produces collars for the automotive industry. These parts are initially extruded into long lengths. They are then cut into smaller pieces, according to the client’s specifications. The smaller pieces are used to fabricate opposite collars. The use of extrusion and fabrication helps to reduce the cost of manufacturing these collars, which makes them more cost-effective for our clients. However, due to the inherent properties of the aluminum itself, they are also a very effective and durable alternative to the more costly steel automotive collars.
Specialty Services & Industry Applications
Silver City Aluminum is proud to work with so many different clients across such a diverse cross-section of industries. Our work with the aluminum automotive industry is especially exciting and challenging. We provide our clients with a wide range of special services and industry applications. We can accommodate custom aluminum extrusion with a profile of up to eight inches in diameter. The aluminum billet that we use comes from several different suppliers and is made of 99.9 percent recyclable aluminum. We take long length billets that are seven inches in diameter and cut them into custom sizes, depending on the order that we are working on for the client. This works to reduce waste and make the process even more cost-effective for the customer.
The billets are then pre-heated in a long oven before they get to the extrusion process. This is what we do every time for both standard and custom extrusion design. The metal material is then pushed through the steel profile or die, as it is called, to create the specific shape that is desired. The amount of force used to push the metal through the shape is approximately 10 million pounds of pressure. Once the metal flows through the profile, it will come out in the exact shape that the client has designed or the standard shape that they have chosen. The pieces are then cooled, stretched, and cut to the client’s specifications. We do all of this work for design, extrusion and fabrication in-house at our Massachusetts facility.
Contact Silver City Aluminum
If you are interested in learning more about our work with the aluminum automotive industry, or if you would like to place an order for standard or custom aluminum extrusion, give us a call at 508-542-7200. Our team can answer any questions that you might have, or we can schedule a consultation to discuss your needs for custom extrusion design.