Extrusion makes the most of aluminum’s outstanding malleability by creating objects of a fixed cross-sectional profile. Billets of aluminum alloy are heated to nearly 900°F and forced with a hydraulic press or rammed under high pressure through special steel molds. This process produces aluminum pieces that maintain the specific shape of the mold.
These billets undergo a variety of fabrication and finishing processes, such as machining, cutting, punching, bending, or welding. These fabrications turn aluminum billets into functional components with greater strength and stiffness.
Extrusion gives aluminum a limitless variety of profiles which can incorporate a multitude of useful features. Square aluminum extrusion is the least complicated example of solid extrusion profiles. Moreover, extrusion dies are not as expensive as those for casting or modeling.
Extruded aluminum is ideal for a wide range of applications because of its light weight, strength, attractive appearance, thermal and electrical conductivity, and resistance to corrosion. Here are some applications of aluminum extrusions:
Extruded aluminum has impressive electrical conductivity which is why it is used in electrical equipment, such as busbars. It is also an excellent heat exchanger or radiator and is therefore used in lightening. It can improve the functioning of modern LED fixtures by eliminating thermal management challenges.
Billets of extruded aluminum are used in photovoltaic (solar) panel support structures to improve their strength and make them resistant to corrosion.
Architecture and Construction
Aluminum extrusions are widely used in construction and architecture. The stiffness and light weight of extruded aluminum makes it ideal for applications like canopies, railings, balustrades, and facades. These structures have to bear load but cannot weigh much. Extruded aluminum is also used in walls, ladders, and suspended ceilings.
Almost all factories have aluminum extrusions. From workbenches to inspection tables and carts, extruded aluminum is the material of choice for industrial equipment as it is lightweight, stiff, and easy to cut and drill. Some factories use aluminum extrusion to build frames that guard machines. It is compatible with Lexan panels for a clear view. It also protects people working nearby.
Lightweighting is a big concern in the auto industry. Automakers use extrusion to reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel efficiency and handling. For example, in aerospace, lightweighting of trailers is achieved through aluminum extrusion. Keeping the weight of the trailer low allows the tow vehicle to use less torque on moving the trailer and more on pulling stuff. This also applies to horse and boat trailers.
Furthermore, aluminum extrusions allow automakers to use different aluminum alloys and profile geometries to maximize lightweighting and improve energy absorption. It is used in RV’s for the same reason. Extruded aluminum does not rust and is suitable for aesthetic purposes.
Stands at trade shows and exhibitions also use extruded material so immaculately interlock different pieces. Display equipment mostly uses rectangular aluminum extrusions which allows quickly and easy assembly of components.
Extruded aluminum is also easy to move around and can be finished in many different ways for a durable and attractive appearance. It is used in display cabinets, point-of-sale displays, and even photo frames.