People today are becoming increasingly conscious of the energy they use and look for ways to be more conservative. For many, this draws them to use public transportation for its notable efficiency. But how can the public transportation itself become more efficient? The answer is aluminum. The use of aluminum extrusions in constructing public transport provides a number of benefits to a wide variety of vehicle types.
How do aluminum extrusions make public transport more efficient?
Aluminum is durable, light, and strong, making it the preferred material for public transportation. Some of the ways it increases efficiency are:
- High strength-to-weight ratio: The efficiency of railways and subways depends greatly on trying to decrease weight in order to reduce friction. Aluminum extrusions are very lightweight yet still strong compared to other metals. This reduced weight also leads to…
- Reduced fuel consumption: The lighter the vehicle, the less energy that is required to power it. Additionally, with a lighter vehicle structure, the vehicles can handle increased passenger and cargo weight. This significantly reduces the amount of fuel used per person (especially when compared with motor vehicles).
- Long operating life and recyclable: Aluminum has the ability to withstand corrosion much better than many other metals. This reduces risk of rust or wear and tear on the public transport vehicles which means they can be in operation for longer periods of time. Also, because aluminum is malleable, any excess material from construction is fully recyclable.
Does it vary by type of transportation?
The previously described efficiencies are applicable to almost any public transport operation but there can be individual advantages depending on the vehicle type:
- Trains and subway vehicles: Aluminum extrusions are used in the construction of both freight and passenger trains. For passenger trains, they are frequently made from a single aluminum extrusion that are the entire length of the car (75+ feet long). Individual parts are welded together with horizontal members around the doors and windows reinforcing the vehicle. With minimized parts and a simple assembly, the manufacturing becomes more efficient with a lighter and more aerodynamic final product.
- Buses: Buses built from aluminum bodies are several hundred kilograms lighter than traditional construction. This increases the number of people transported per given maximum permitted weight, reducing costs for operating the bus. Because some buses travel great distance and often make frequent stops and starts, efficiency is extremely important.
Which alloys are used for public transportation?
The characteristics that make aluminum alloys ideal for public transport projects are that they are lightweight, strong, weldable, corrosion resistant, and easy to fabricate. The 5xxx and 6xxx aluminum series most closely fit this bill. Sheet metals commonly used are the 5052, 5083, 5086, 5454, and 6061. For extrusions, the 5083, 6061, and 7005 are commonly used. Because of the diversity of alloys in these series, there are extrusions available for almost any public transport project’s need.
Taber Extrusions knows what it takes to produce the top-quality extrusions required for public transportation projects. Our capability of producing very large aluminum shapes in our Russellville, AR facility with our rectangular and large round containers allows us to supply our customers with some of the heaviest solid profiles, and widest, most complex multi-void hollow profiles in the industry. Taber’s vertically integrated billet casting operations allows Taber to extrude a wide variety of alloys and profiles for the transport industry.
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