The most abundant metal in the earth’s crust, there are many reasons why manufacturers are choosing to create aluminum products. Consumers are demanding them, and they are affordable to make, sustainable for those who are concerned about the environment, and have a long life expectancy due to aluminum’s natural anti-corrosion abilities. However, there’s even more to like about this fantastic metal. While there are many aluminum fabrication shops that offer a variety of services, custom extrusion is by far the preferred method for shaping and making parts, components, products, and other aluminum industry solutions. The advantages of using aluminum are many and can offer a number of unique benefits to every industry that it serves.
What is Aluminum?
While it does not appear in its pure form in nature, aluminum must be derived from bauxite, which is a mineral that is mined throughout the world in many different locations. When it was first discovered, it was considered to be as valuable as gold, platinum, or silver, due to the difficulty that manufacturers had in extracting it from the bauxite. However, in the late 1800s, a process was developed that allowed for cost-effective commercial production of aluminum. When it comes to aluminum extrusion, we find that alloying it with certain elements helps to enhance the inherent qualities of this amazing metal. Copper, silicon, magnesium, and manganese are just some of the elements used to create specific properties that offer even more advantages of using aluminum to manufacturers and end-users alike.
Due in part to a massive recycling education campaign, aluminum is one of the most recycled metals on the planet. Industry experts believe that as much as 90 percent of all aluminum ever created is recycled at the end of its lifespan. It takes less energy to recycle and reuse aluminum than it does to mine the bauxite and extract the aluminum from the minerals, which means that recycled aluminum is even more valuable to manufacturers. Aluminum can be recycled over and over again without losing any of its inherent qualities, allowing aluminum fabrication shops to maximize the return on investment for their clients while providing a superior product.
Top Reasons to Choose Aluminum
There are so many advantages of using aluminum that it can be challenging to determine which qualities are the most beneficial. The high strength-to-weight ratio means that while aluminum clocks in at around one-third the weight of steel, iron, copper, and brass, it still has enough strength to be used for things like bridges, truck trailers, and aerospace applications, where load carrying is essential. Aluminum is resilient and flexible, which means that it can flex under loads and spring back from the shock of impact. Extruded aluminum industry solutions are frequently used in automotive design, providing superior crash system benefits compared to other metals.
Aluminum products can be designed to increase strength, along with other inherent qualities. One example is creating an internal reinforcement in the custom aluminum profile design to improve wall thickness for specific applications. Extreme temperature variations are no match for aluminum, as cold weather actually makes aluminum stronger. Other metals, such as steel, can become brittle in very low temperatures, making them dangerous for load-bearing applications in extreme weather environments. Naturally resistant to corrosion, aluminum forms an instant oxide layer that forms when the metal comes in contact with the air, to protect it from many types of damage. Aluminum can also be protected further with anodizing, powder-coating, and painting for extreme conditions.
Advantages of Using Aluminum
Depending on the industry that you serve, there might be other reasons to choose aluminum industry solutions. Aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. Based on the weight and cost of this material, aluminum can conduct heat and cold better than other metals commonly used for this purpose. Extruded aluminum products are perfect for applications that require heat dissipation or heat exchangers for housings and other essential components. Aluminum is non-sparking, which means that it can also be used in highly flammable environments. It is twice as conductive as copper, yet is available at a fraction of the cost, making it an excellent alternative for electrical connectors and distribution components.
Aluminum fabrication shops create products for industries that require metal to be non-magnetic to ensure that it won’t acquire a magnetic charge. This is important in consumer electronics and high-voltage applications, where magnetic fields are a factor. Non-combustible, non-toxic, reflective, malleable, and completely recyclable, there are more advantages of using aluminum than most people realize. Extrusion works to create complex shapes that can be made with one single piece, negating the need for mechanical joining and welding. This creates a profile that is stronger and less likely to weaken or loosen over time. If you are ready to take advantage of aluminum industry solutions, contact Silver City Aluminum by calling 508-542-7200 to speak with one of our engineers about your aluminum products needs.