Aluminum is ideal for use in extrusion processes as its malleable properties allow for the production of a diverse variety of shapes. These aluminum extrusion shapes can be customized to precise measurements and specifications for use in numerous applications.
The standard and most commonly produced shapes are angles, channels, and tubing, which are used primarily in automotive parts, computer parts and domestic appliances. These components can range in their dimensions from as small as one millimeter to as large as several meters.
Manufacture of Custom Shapes with Aluminum Extrusion
Unique shapes are created in the aluminum extrusion process through the use of custom-designed dies. As heated aluminum billets are rammed through the die in the extrusion press, the shape of the die functions as a mold, determining the uniform cross-sectional shape of the final product. The dies can be changed relatively easily and inexpensively, allowing for the production of multiple shapes without significant increases in production time or costs.
Dies can be created to meet the particular specifications required for a specific product. They can be solid, hollow, or semi-hollow depending on the desired shape. Once a die has been designed and built, it can be retained for re-use in future production as needed.
Benefits of Creating Shapes with Aluminum Extrusion
Although other processes can be used for manufacturing custom shape requirements, aluminum extrusion has specific advantages that make it an optimal choice for fabricating certain products.
- Aluminum offers a multitude of design possibilities at economical pricing, facilitating its vast potential for applications.
- Aluminum extrusion is easy to work with when complex cross-sections or shapes that are designed to have non-uniform thickness are required.
- Aluminum extrusion can more easily produce single shape products, bypassing the need for welding or joining, thus reducing the manufacturing costs.
- It is also convenient to include groove and tongue, press, snap or sliding fit, self-tapping features in these extrusions, by specially designing the extruded shapes.
Applications of Aluminum Extruded Shapes
In addition to custom shapes, aluminum extrusion also offers standard shapes such as bars, beams, hexes, pipes, rods, Ts, z-bars, etc. These shapes are utilized in both exterior and interior applications, and the industries mentioned below.
- The building and construction industry uses aluminum extrusion shapes in architectural framing, door and window frames, shop fronts, and exterior and roofing cladding.
- The transportation and automotive industries use extruded shapes extensively for railway coaches, automobiles, marine applications and aerospace products.
- Many other commercial, consumer, and public are also common, including conveyors, vending machines and circuit boards.
The potential uses for aluminum extrusion shapes continue to experience substantial growth, with an increase in the available options and the ability to design dies for specific shapes.