Aluminum Extrusion for Industry: A Better Choice Than Steel

extruded aluminum is better than steelToday’s manufacturers and industrial businesses are looking for alternatives to materials that they have used for generations to build American products, structures, and infrastructure. Concerns about US tariffs and costs for non-domestic steel, as well as quality control issues with Chinese steel, have led many to explore other metals. There are many benefits of aluminum products that are used throughout many different industries for commercial and consumer use. Aluminum extrusion solutions are affordable, sustainable, and readily available. Standard and custom aluminum profiles give businesses the ability to choose parts, products, and components that will best suit their needs. Aluminum extrusion for industry has grown exponentially in the United States and around the globe in recent years.

Strength and Malleability

One of the concerns that manufacturers often have when it comes to aluminum extrusion solutions is strength. Many assume that steel is the most durable option and neglect to consider aluminum as a viable replacement. However, many industries now realize the benefits of aluminum products concerning changing dynamics and regulations. One example is the transportation industry – in particular, consumer vehicles. The government is pushing auto manufacturers to create cars and trucks that have a better fuel economy. Designers are achieving better results by replacing aluminum, which has a high strength-to-weight ratio, with steel. The aluminum weighs approximately one-third the weight of the steel, yet can offer safety-rated strengths for consumer vehicles.

Steel is very strong and, in some cases, is harder than aluminum. However, many tempers and alloys of aluminum are resistant to dings, dents, scratches, and corrosion, making them an excellent alternative choice. Other benefits of aluminum products include an increased strength in freezing temperatures. Steel, on the other hand, tends to become brittle in very cold climates, making it a poor choice for many industries. The weight of steel can also be a drawback, particularly in sectors where weight is a critical consideration. This includes the automotive and other transportation industries, including commercial trucking, marine shipping, aviation, and aerospace. Standard and custom aluminum profiles can be used to replace many parts that were previously made only with steel materials.

Cost Considerations

The price of both aluminum and steel fluctuates greatly depending on supply and demand. Fuel costs for transporting aluminum products are much less than steel due to the weight of the metal alone. Aluminum is one of the most plentiful metals on the planet. Not only is it the third most substantial element in the Earth’s crust, but it is also the most recycled metal in the United States and around the globe. At Silver City Aluminum, we use aluminum billets that are 99.9 percent recyclable to provide our customers with sustainable aluminum extrusion solutions designed to meet the ever-changing demands of modern industry and government regulations.

While steel is technically cheaper when you compare it pound-for-pound to aluminum, the sheer weight of the metal means that a ton of steel will be significantly less than a ton of aluminum. While the cost of these raw materials plays a crucial role in the decision-making process for many manufacturers, many of the benefits of aluminum products outweigh any cost considerations that may arise. Working with an experienced team of engineers and technicians to create aluminum extrusion for industry can save businesses even further through intelligent design programs and use of custom profiles that negate the need for secondary operations that can delay a project or increase the cost.

Other Benefits of Aluminum Products

Aluminum, as a material, offers many advantages on its own. Aluminum is an excellent conductor of both heat and electricity. It can be recycled again and again without ever losing its inherent properties. Aluminum has a natural resistance to corrosion and abrasion with a self-healing oxide layer that protects the metal from damage to increase its lifetime. Aluminum can be used in a lot of environments that can have a negative impact on steel, including salt and freshwater marine, aerospace, and extremely cold temperatures. Depending on the intended use of the items that you are manufacturing, standard and custom aluminum profiles might be the best possible choice.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of aluminum products or speak with one of our engineers about our standard and custom aluminum profiles, give us a call at 508-924-8631. We can answer any questions you might have about aluminum extrusion solutions, the 6000-series alloys that we use, and offer assistance for the engineering and development of aluminum extrusion for industry. Call today for a FREE estimate or to start placing your order with Silver City Aluminum.