Aluminum extrusions are widely used for specific purposes in a range of markets such as, automotive, consumer products, HVAC architecture, energy and many more.
The use of aluminum in these applications is possible because of the properties this material possesses. It provides strength, ductility, conductivity, it’s non-magnetic and it can be recycled repeatedly without losing integrity, making aluminum the most extruded metal.
Aluminum extrusion is an extremely versatile aluminum manufacturing process that creates products commonly used in a variety of applications, such as furniture design, machine parts, cooking utensils, automobiles, ships, scuba tanks, camera lenses, windmills, solar arrays, to name a few of the endless possibilities.
Extrusion is a technique often used to transform materials, such as metals, plastics, ceramics, concrete, and food products, into shapes or profiles that can be used as components in an infinite number of residential, commercial, and industrial designs.
The extrusion process shapes aluminum by heating it and forcing it with a hydraulic ram through a shaped opening in a die. Extruded material emerges as a long piece with the same profile as the die opening.
Extrusion dies (steel disks) can be made to form nearly any shape or size. Some dies are flat and produce flat, solid profiles. Other dies are hollow and produce hollow or semi-hollow profiles, i.e., one part contains the hole, or cavity, through which the metal is forced, and the other part shapes the outline.
Some profiles are pressed through just one cavity, while smaller profiles can be pressed through multi-hole dies with various cavities. Other dies incorporate combinations of solid, semi-hollow and hollow shapes into one die.
Each type of die serves certain functions, and its use will depend on the desired profile design and size.
The most common aluminum extrusion shapes are:
The industrial application of aluminum extrusion profiles is quite extensive. The following are just a few of the uses aluminum finds in certain industries.
Aluminum extrusions are used in different devices, equipment and systems for aircraft, the International Space Station and military because aluminum is resistant to low temperatures, offers high strength for low weight and requires minimal maintenance.
Aluminum extrusions in buildings can serve as structural support, even in extreme conditions, and can improve aesthetics and functionality, such as interior decor and decrease energy consumption.
Aluminum extrusions can be made into tight tolerances, which allows them to meet strict requirements for medical applications and medical equipment like testing devices and hospital beds.
For this, sector the hardware needed, such as cables and satellite parts, must be lightweight and be a good electricity conductor, both characteristic properties of aluminum and its alloys.
Thanks to its malleability, electrical and thermal conductivity and non-magnetic properties, aluminum extrusions are commonly found in components and devices like computers, laptops, phones, motors, power distribution system, racks, electronic chassis and housings.
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