While you might not think about metal manufacturing as being friendly to the environment, there are many reasons why custom aluminum extrusion is considered by many to be a form of eco-friendly manufacturing. Sustainable aluminum solutions are used across many different industries to reduce their carbon footprint, increase energy efficiency, and create a lighter consumer, commercial, and industrial products. When compared to other metals and materials, the benefits of aluminum products are quite impressive. In fact, many products, parts, and components used to achieve LEED Certificate status for construction involve the use of aluminum extrusion design.
A Very Abundant Element
One of the key requirements for something to be considered sustainable is abundance on the planet. Aluminum is hardly a rare metal, as it is the third most abundant element on earth after oxygen and silicon. It makes up approximately eight percent of all the metal found in the Earth’s crust. The raw ore of aluminum is bauxite, which is found primarily in the tropical regions. While the cost and energy required to mine and produce aluminum from bauxite used to be extreme, in recent years the process has been refined to reduce energy consumption requirements considerably. However, the best part about aluminum is that it can be recycled and reused over and over again without losing any of its inherent qualities.
This is one of the chief benefits of aluminum products, as it can be easily machined, extruded, fabricated, and used in many different ways, yet it can be melted down and used again and again. Aluminum is used in many ways throughout our daily lives, most obviously in beverage cans and containers, but also as strong and durable parts in the areas of aerospace, automotive, manufacturing machinery, military and defense, construction, marine, and many other industries. It is also recycled more than any other industrial metal on the planet and studies show that approximately 75 percent of all the aluminum ever produced is still in use today to create truly sustainable aluminum solutions.
Other Benefits of Aluminum Products
The natural qualities of aluminum also make it qualify as eco-friendly manufacturing. For example, when aluminum comes in contact with oxygen, it spontaneously creates an oxide film layer of protection, which can prevent corrosion from rust and other environmental issues. If it becomes damaged, the film regenerates to continue protecting the part or component, increasing life and reducing the need to replace it. Aluminum is also one-third the weight of steel, so when it replaces this metal in things like consumer vehicles, commercial and industrial transport vehicles, airplanes, and trains, it can improve fuel economy because it requires less energy to move. It is also an excellent choice for packaging applications for the same reason.
Additional material qualities can come from a wide range of alloys that can be made from combining aluminum with other elements, including silicon and copper. These are all designed specifically for use in certain industries to provide additional benefits of aluminum products. This eco-friendly manufacturing helps aluminum to be an even better conductor of electricity, offering twice the electrical conduction compared to the same measurement of copper, reducing costs and providing for sustainable aluminum solutions. Most of the overhead and underground transmission lines today are made from aluminum due to its anti-corrosion properties and excellent ability to conduct electricity.
Strong, Durable, and Flexible
Three other qualities associated with custom aluminum extrusion products help it to be used in many situations that might be surprising to the average consumer. While most people think about the way that aluminum cans can be easily crushed by an adult or even a child, this is not the same as products made with extrusion. Aluminum cans are made from rolled aluminum, which does not undergo the same heating and pressure processes used for our sustainable aluminum solutions. At Silver City Aluminum, we heat our aluminum billets to a specific temperature to make them more malleable and then use 10,000,000 pounds of pressure to push them through a standard or custom profile to make the desired shape. It is as far away from crushable aluminum cans as you could imagine.
Aluminum is used in construction for structural purposes because it is strong and durable. It is flexible enough to allow for natural shifting in buildings, without bending or breaking. Unlike steel, which can become brittle in extremely cold temperatures, aluminum becomes even stronger in freezing environments. There are many advantages to choosing this lightweight, corrosion-resistant, 100 percent recyclable, and impermeable metal for your industrial manufacturing needs. Whether your goals are to achieve eco-friendly manufacturing status, fill a desire to create only sustainable aluminum products, or to take advantage of the benefits of aluminum products, Silver City Aluminum can help you to make it happen. Give us a call at 508-542-7200 or use our online contact form to get started.