When it comes to industrial applications, it is very rare for pure aluminum to be used, especially when it comes to standard and custom aluminum extrusion. Aluminum is typically alloyed with other metals, which are used to enhance the natural benefits of aluminum products. The additives that are used to create the alloys will depend on the intended use of the final profile. A basic understanding of aluminum and its various alloys can help manufacturers better understand the advantages associated with choosing to extrude aluminum alloys in the 6000-series as we do at Silver City Aluminum.
The Aluminum Alloy Series
Selecting the best alloy for your custom aluminum extrusion can be achieved through the help of our team of experienced technicians and engineers. While there are multiple options within each alloy series, the primary alloys are grouped into seven distinct categories. When you compare the different materials used in each group of alloys, it becomes clear why certain types were chosen for extrusion purposes. The characteristics of each alloy benefit the final product, making it stronger, more durable, and less likely to become damaged by rust or corrosion.
- 1000-Series – Closest to pure aluminum materials used in manufacturing, contains approximately 99 percent aluminum or more. Extremely lightweight and very pliable compared to other metals used for production.
- 2000-Series – Copper is added to the aluminum to make it harder and increase corrosion resistance beyond the natural protection from the oxide layer. These alloys contain anywhere between 2-10 percent copper, depending on the demands of the project.
3000-Series – Manganese is added to the aluminum for this series to increase strength and strain hardening qualities. Even high temperatures cannot affect the corrosion resistance of this alloy.
- 4000-Series – Silicon is added to the aluminum to reduce the overall melting point of the aluminum and boost ductility. When magnesium is added to this alloy, it can be heat-treated to convert it into a 6000-series alloy, which is excellent for standard and custom aluminum extrusion.
- 5000-Series – When magnesium alone is added to aluminum, the strength of the alloy is increased considerably. It can also be hardened when submitted to strain, making it the perfect choice for use with sheets and plates of aluminum alloy for manufacturing.
- 6000-Series – At Silver City Aluminum, this is our choice to extrude aluminum alloys for our clients. We utilize the 6005, 6063, and 6463 alloys in a variety of tensile strengths to meet the needs of each project. This alloy contains both magnesium and silicon in addition to the aluminum, improving ductility, allowing the metal to be heat-treatable, and adding other characteristics that make it perfect for aluminum extrusions.
- 7000-Series – Zinc is added to aluminum for this series of aluminum alloys, as well as smaller amounts of magnesium or copper to improve strength and provide other benefits of aluminum products.
Quality Materials for Extrusion
To benefit from all of the advantages of using aluminum, it is essential to use quality materials. This is true whether you are creating standard or custom aluminum extrusion. Before we extrude aluminum alloys for our clients, we start with billet from several different suppliers that is made of 99.9 percent recyclable aluminum. This provides quality results and ensures the sustainability of the projects that we complete. Our team pre-cuts the billets into 7-inch diameter pieces to size that corresponds with the length and weight of the ordered profile. This helps to minimize scrap and reduce costs for our customers.
Once the billets have been cut, they are loaded into a long oven for pre-heating before the extrusion process begins. Our team uses a specific temperature to guarantee proper extrusion. A steel profile is chosen or designed by the client for custom aluminum extrusion. The heated alloy is then pushed at approximately 10,000,000 pounds of pressure through the profile or die to create the exact shape that is required. The final phase of the process involves cooling down the finished products on a table and then stretching them into the perfect dimension while they are still warm with our opposing stretchers. We then cut the metal to the client’s requested length before heat-treating it to harden the aluminum to its maximum capacity.
Ready to Extrude Aluminum Alloys?
If you are ready to take advantage of all the benefits of aluminum products to meet your manufacturing or industry needs, contact our team at Silver City Aluminum. We can help you choose the best standard or stock profiles, assist in the design of custom aluminum extrusion dies, and help you maximize the advantages of using aluminum. Give us a call at 508-542-7200 or use our online contact form to reach one of our team members.