13 06, 2017

The Lightweight Revolution and Lightweight Aluminum

2017-07-26T17:47:10+00:00 June 13th, 2017|

“Sometimes in life, you will find that you must let things go simply because they are heavy.” Of course, we are talking about the metal, steel, and aluminum market. We’re editors for an aluminum extrusion company, after all – so our primary interest is focusing on lightweight aluminum and where lightweight aluminum alloys stand in regard to the lightweight revolution that has infiltrated virtually every industry involving buildings, infrastructure systems, technology and transportation over recent years.

Everything is becoming lighter. Planes, trains, automobiles, and even Apples. (We know which Apples.) The reason for “lightweighting” is obvious: lower costs, smaller carbon footprint, stronger, more robust and corrosion-resistant products, and the big one… better fuel economy.  So how does lightweight aluminum fit into the picture? What are the “aluminum alloys to be reckoned with?” Are we going to find these super strong lightweight aluminum alloys in everyday items like bridges or automobiles?

Nope. Unless you’re an astronaut. Aerospace is where you’ll find 2XXX and 7XXX alloys. Military applications are a distant second. And not even a speck in the rearview mirror? Auto.

For more interesting tidbits like this, lightweight aluminum extrusion news, and Taber culture, visit the blog section of our website – or if you are interested in contacting us directly please e-mail info@taberextrusions.com or call us at 888-985-4913.

2XXX and 7XXX are the name of the game when it comes to “strong and light.” 2XXX alloys are aluminum-copper. Adding lithium to the mix creates an even higher strength alloy – AA2195 is one example. You’ll find these in Boeing airplanes and SpaceX rockets… but not in automobiles… lithium is expensive. Which is why 7000 series alloys are being considered for the automotive sector, but may not be as lightweight as the lithium-containing 2000 series alloys. (A glimpse of perspective: The only mass-produced aluminum is beverage cans, and that is 3XXX for the body and 5XXX for the top/lid.) The challenge to be met regarding 7XXX for automotive use is formability. 7XXX series alloys really like to remain flat, and testing techniques such as high temperature forming are expensive and slow. A rough comparison: 1 day of auto production = 1 year of airplane production.

Currently the strongest lightweight aluminum alloys are going to be found in low volume applications only. “Warm forming” of 2XXX and 7XXX can be found in aerospace and not automotive because the slower manufacturing process combined with the extra expense of alloying and energy (heating the metal and/or the tooling) are relatively low in aircraft manufacturing.   This process has a significantly higher percentage of total costs when it comes to manufacturing an automobile.  So, friends, it’s going to be a while until we see 7XXX in cars, and due to its expense, 2XXX will likely remain an aluminum alloy that stays in the sky.

Aluminum alloyed with anything after it on the periodic table will be heavier than pure aluminum. Aluminum alloyed with anything before it will be lighter. The further before, the greater lightweighting. Which is why Al-Li (lithium) are the lightest aluminum alloys.

A very special thank you to Daniel J. Schaeffler, Ph.D., President and CEO of Engineering Quality Solutions, for lending your thoughts, opinions, and pun ideas to our blogs.

11 04, 2017

Aluminum Alloys Keep Aircraft in the Sky

2017-07-26T17:49:21+00:00 April 11th, 2017|

aluminum alloys

In the modern era, aluminum alloys are the integral element that keeps the aerospace industry on the cutting edge. Metallurgists are constantly seeking and developing new aluminum alloys to increase the speed, strength, and safety of aircraft. Strong alloys are used to protect aircraft from the stresses of flight; light alloys are used for heat and cold resistance and insulation.

Aluminum is naturally strong, lightweight and very workable. These powerful natural properties are enhanced by combining it with elements such as zinc, copper, and silicon to create a variety of aluminum alloys; some strong, some more malleable for complex aluminum shapes. Modern aircraft parts are made primarily from these alloys, and not just the frame- everything from the engine to the nuts and bolts are made from aluminum due to its attractive cost to weight ratio. Below, you will find some of the most common aluminum alloys found in aircraft, and what they’re used for.

 

Alloy 2024

One of the most common of the aluminum alloys, 2024 is primarily alloyed with copper, which gives it incredible strength and high fatigue resistance. This makes it the ideal alloy when a high strength to weight ratio is needed, making it perfect for wings and fuselages which are the parts of the aircraft that undergo the most tension.

Alloy 6061

Containing magnesium and silicon, aluminum alloy 6061 is very corrosive resistant and is known for its great weldability. The premiere alloy in aluminum extrusion, 6061 is also used to create fuselages and wings- but is very rarely found in airliners. Mostly, it’s used in small, personal airplanes.

Alloy 6063

Aluminum alloy 6063 is very similar to alloy 6061. Because of this, it’s the most popular alloy for aluminum extrusion.

Alloy 7075

Because of its light weight and incredible strength that is comparable to most steels, alloy 7075 is used for the main frame of aircraft structures. No other aluminum alloys can match 7075 in fatigue resistance, and its reliability is constantly being worked upon to create faster, safer and cheaper airplanes, and its great anodization quality gives it a great finish. Due to this alloy’s high copper content, it is hard to weld.

 

Sources:

http://www.experimentalaircraft.info/articles/aircraft-aluminum.php

http://metalspecialist.continentalsteel.com/blog/aluminum-in-the-aerospace-industry

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/mepages/aluminfo.php

 

For more about Taber and what we can do for your business, get in touch by e-mailing us at  info@taberextrusions.com

21 12, 2016

Taber CNC Machining Capabilities

2017-01-26T23:37:27+00:00 December 21st, 2016|

Screen Shot 2016-12-21 at 10.52.06 AMTaber Extrusions is your full service partner from design to delivery. Our engieneers and designers work alongside you to turn your concept into a working product through our expert machining with a personal touch. CNC machining is used extensively by aluminum extrusion companies to increase efficiency and reduce error in all steps of the extrusion process, from casting, to extrusion and beyond. Our mission is to fully understand the machining needs of our customers’ aluminum extrusion-based products. Taber’s remarkable attention to the needs of the market position the company to provide customized, versatile, high-quality market-oriented products that can satisfy a wide range of applications.

Our Haas VF-7 is a rugged, large-sized VMC that yields full reliability and accuracy in a large-framed machine. The VF-7 has a 40-taper cartridge spindle driven by a 30 hp vector Dual-Drive (Y-Delta) drive. The VF-7 produces either 75 ft-lb of torque at a low 1400 rpm, or 250 ft-lb at 450 rpm with the optional 2-speed gearbox — and will also run up to 8,100 rpm in 1.2 seconds for finishing aluminum.

Haas VF-7 Video:

 

Up next the Emmegi Satellite XT allows for efficient work-piece machining advantages in pendulum mode including multiple set-ups. The work space of our longbed machining center can be divided into two areas, granting us the ability to load and unload on one side while machining on the other side. This level of efficiency in a machining process in return saves our customers money and time.

Emmegi Satellite XT Video:

The HMC500 comes fully loaded with features for incredibly fast cycle times. Achieving 20% faster rapid and acceleration than our phenomenally fast HM500S machine, the HMC500 is constructed with a lightweight column featuring a rigid stepped X axis rail design. This column enables a rapid feed rate of 63 meters per minute, 2480 inches per minute, with acceleration of 1G.

HMC500 Video:

Finally, through highly accurate scanning technologies, our Zeiss CMM has the ability to capture a fully defined 3D measurement for any of our extruded and fabricated profiles. Having this capability allows us to maintain the highest levels of quality by having our profiles extruded the right way- every time.

Zeiss CMM Video:

For more information or to request a quote, please call us today ay (800) 563-6853 or e-mail us at info@taberextrusions.com

8 11, 2016

The International Aluminum Extrusion Design Competition

2017-01-26T23:37:27+00:00 November 8th, 2016|

ScholarshipThe Aluminum Extruders Council, which Taber Extrusions is a member of, has recently announced the 2017 International Aluminum Design Competition. Download the Call for Entries HERE.

The competition is aimed towards graduates, undergraduates, and high school students, who will compete to win over $8,500 cash in scholarships. The competition is intended to enlighten students studying architecture, design, and engineering about the many advantages of extruded aluminum profiles. The Aluminum Extruders Council hopes to encourage students to think outside the box to come up with new, inventive, and resourceful uses for extruded aluminum! The AEC has given out over $200,000 in awards throughout the lifetime of the contest.

FOR STUDENTS: Download the 2017 Design Competition entry form HERE.

FOR INSTRUCTORS: The AEC has made available an educational presentation on the contest, the advantages of aluminum extrusion, and some design tips. Implementing the competition into your curriculum is an excellent opportunity to expose your students to aluminum design and the benefits of aluminum extrusion. You can download the presentation in its entirety here.

Best of luck to all applicants! Entries are due no later than March 27, 2017.

17 01, 2013

More Car Manufacturers Using Aluminum For Key Components

2015-06-18T15:33:37+00:00 January 17th, 2013|

While it’s true that aluminum made a splash in the automotive industry with Tesla’s Model-S, the material’s integration into other manufacturer’s design and production lines is more subtle — however, it’s still significant. With federal goals for MPG pressuring car companies to innovate for materials and engineering, it shouldn’t be a surprise that aluminum is becoming the go-to choice for design.

From commuter sedans to trucks to performance sports cars, FenderBender reports that upcoming aluminum integration includes:

  • 2013 Honda Accord (hood, sub-frame, rear bumper)
  • 2014 Chevrolet Silverado (hood, suspension, engine components)
  • 2014 GMC Sierra (hood, suspension)
  • 2013 Cadillac ATS (hood)
  • 2014 Maserati Quattroporte (body panels)
  • 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 (hood)
  • 2013 Scion FR-S (hood)

This increase in aluminum use on the show floor echoes findings from the latest survey of automakers by Ducker Worldwide that asserts automakers are accelerating their shift away from steel to aluminum to help meet consumer and federal fuel economy demands. The survey indicated that aluminum is not only the leading material in the engine and wheel markets, but fast-gaining market share in hoods, trunks and doors.

Automakers have said they plan to increase their use of aluminum from 327 pounds in 2009 to 550 pounds in 2025.

With weight being one of the driving factors in MPG, it’s likely that aluminum materials will have become part of the norm due to properties such as strength and weight. The Model-S’ Car Of The Year award was a first, but chances are it won’t be the last vehicle with aluminum to win such a prize.

21 06, 2012

Taber’s Customized Capabilities Are Key

2015-06-18T15:33:38+00:00 June 21st, 2012|

For us, the unique, customized capabilities are key. Taber Extrusions’ specialty is the manufacturing of complex and intricate extrusions which competitors consider difficult or even impossible. Our full range of extrusion presses, from 1800 and 3000 ton to large 8600 ton, give us unmatched flexibility and profile capabilities.

One of the largest extrusion presses in the United States, our 8600 ton press has the capability to extrude both 16 and 20 inch round billets, and 10” x 28” rectangular billets with a maximum circle size of 29-1/2” and up to 85 lbs. per foot. With the ability to extrude large, intricate configurations, such as lightweight but strong one-piece extrusions, the customer can incorporate whole assemblies of small components into one extruded part. This is just one example of our customized capabilities. Contact us for any questions!

28 02, 2012

Ferrari 620 GT: Lots of Aluminum

2017-01-26T23:37:31+00:00 February 28th, 2012|

Ferrari has launched the second teaser video of the 620, their 599 replacement.

In the video, there are quite a few processes between hot, molten aluminum alloy being poured into forms and an actual finished car: stamping, lamination, extrusion, etc.

Ferrari 620 GT

It is clear that Ferrari used a lot of the stuff to save weight wherever they could.

According to autoevolution’s original article, “Aluminum was used as an alternative to carbon fiber because Ferrari wanted to keep the cost of their new GT down. Besides that, carbon fiber is difficult to fix in case of an accident.”

24 01, 2012

Hybrid Cars: A lesson in construction efficiency

2017-01-26T23:37:31+00:00 January 24th, 2012|

According to a recent article, in Metal Center News, consumers are shifting to hybrid cars because they are more fuel-efficient, and because the use of aluminum in their construction makes the cars lighter.

The article projects growth through 2025 given consumer preference and the upcoming federal CAFE regulations that will vastly increase the miles-per-gallon requirements and CO2 emissions restrictions of all North American light vehicles.

Click here to read the original article and learn more about the use of aluminum for hybrid cars.

26 07, 2011

Aluminum in Space – Next Stop Mars

2015-06-18T15:33:41+00:00 July 26th, 2011|

When the “Curiosity” rover of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Project is sent to Mars in 2011 to explore the red planet and determine whether the planet has ever – or still could – support life, aluminum will be part of the mission. The nine-foot-long, 1,875-pound robot is made mostly of aluminum and powered by a nuclear generator. Curiosity’s aluminum body is called the warm electronics box, or “WEB” for short. Like a car body, the rover body is a strong, outer layer that protects the rover’s computer and electronics. The rover body thus keeps the rover’s vital organs protected and temperature-controlled.

Exploring Mars is just another step in securing aluminum’s history in space exploration. Aluminum has played a vital part in space industry since its early days, and Alcoa has been a key supplier. Alcoa alloys and propellants have helped make many space milestones possible, from the first manned flight and the first moon landing to today’s Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs.

It started with Sputnik, the basketball-sized Soviet satellite launched into orbit on October 4, 1957, that was the first man-made object to circle the Earth. The Russian satellite that began the space race of the ‘50s and ‘60s, used the metal from a plant now owned and managed by Alcoa in Samara.

And in the Apollo space program of the 1960s, the tiny lunar module Eagle was built almost completely of aluminum – a brilliant piece of ultra-light ingenuity. One of the many bright ideas was to use aluminum coated mylar film instead of rigid heat shields. Every ounce of weight was precious, and “gift wrapping” the lander saved 100 pounds.

When the Space Shuttle Columbia made its maiden flight in 1981, Alcoa was on board helping to open up the solar system with powdered aluminum fuel that helped launch the shuttle and aluminum components in the main engine’s liquid hydrogen pump. Alcoa Aluminum Powder is used exclusively as a fuel in the reusable solid rocket motors for NASA’s Space Shuttle. After the last Space Shuttle launch, scheduled to fly in 2010, Alcoa is poised to provide aluminum powder for the next generation of space travel as well – the Ares 1.

The Ares 1 rocket will enable astronauts to explore space beyond low earth orbit with the goal of reaching the moon by 2020. But it’s not just the fuel that Alcoa will provide. Alcoa’s aluminum-lithium alloy 2195 thin plate is also being used for the Ares 1 crew launch vehicle. Alcoa’s Davenport operations will produce almost one million pounds of the thin aluminum-lithium material for this program. The Alcoa Technical Center is casting the aluminum-lithium ingot and shipping it to Davenport, where it is rolled into thin plate for additional fabrication.

Learnings from Ares 1 will benefit the Ares V, which will be the “heavy lift” cargo launch vehicle that will replace the Space Shuttle after its retirement in 2010, and will also feature aluminum. Ares V will serve as the principal launcher for missions beyond the Earth-Moon system, including the program’s ultimate goal – a manned mission to Mars after 2030.

To learn more about the future of aluminum in space applications, visit the Aluminum Association.

19 07, 2011

Trends in Aluminum Extrusion Design for Exhibits

2017-01-26T23:37:32+00:00 July 19th, 2011|

The demand for lightweight, portable exhibits is on the rise. As far as the products themselves are concerned, powder coating and vinyl wrapping are becoming more popular. Anodizing, another trend we are seeing, increases corrosion resistance and wear resistance and provides better adhesion for paint primers and glues than bare metal.

More and more fabric applications are being seen in both tradeshows and permanent exhibit installations. In addition, clients are requesting designs that allow for multi-purposing of an exhibit where it can be used on the show floor and then in a corporate or retail setting. They want to see their “display investment” function 365 days of the year, not just three or four times at tradeshows.

Designers want curves, but not all extrusion suppliers have had the capability to bend metal. More suppliers are adding this option on many profiles, thereby blurring the difference between what can be achieved with wood construction vs. metal construction. 

Rentals have become almost exclusively extrusion based. It just makes sense.

Aluminum is durable, versatile and cost-effective. Gone are the days where show contractors offered battered, ugly aluminum extrusion displays. Now many display distributors and manufacturers offer designs that can be tailored to the client’s needs and that appear not only new, but custom.

Aside from the obvious popularity of extrusions designed for printed fabric, there are no significant trends in the design of aluminum profiles. The fact that they are larger and more architectural is a trend we have seen for several years, but the real trend is the increased interest in custom rentals.

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