Aluminum is becoming more and more popular in the building and manufacturing industries because of its rich and useful properties, giving rise to aluminum extrusions’ key design considerations. When aluminum extrusion was discovered, it allowed the material to be transformed into almost any shape, size, and form imaginable making engineers and design professionals achieve both form and function.
Although aluminum extrusion presents flexibility in terms of design, we also know that there can be limitations as with all manufacturing processes. However, understanding these design challenges can improve the functionality of your design and help reduce production costs and time.
Our goal here is to determine the best design for your project and with aluminum extrusion, it is equally important to understand the function of your profile as well as its appearance. That being said, we’d like to share with you key things to consider when designing your next aluminum extrusion profile with us.
A couple aluminum extrusions key design considerations to start with:
Wall thickness can be cost-efficient depending on the requirements of your project. Having a uniform wall thickness and minimal aluminum thickness on your profile is efficient both in cost and production time.
Removing uneven wall thickness during your design process is beneficial as it eliminates problems during the extrusion and cooling process. It ensures that the end product is clear of uneven finishes, cosmetic issues, and is structurally sound. It also eliminates high production costs due to potential difficulties during production.
Some of the factors that influence wall thickness are:
The choice of the alloy
The shape of the profile
Extrusion press power and speed
The desired surface treatment
Profile tolerance is a key consideration and is critical to the design profile. It is applied to the physical dimensions of a part during manufacturing. Depending on its intended application, there are standard tolerances that are published and are important to consider. Among them are wall thickness, dimension size, location, profile type (solid or hollow), alloy used, cross section, and the parts application. To learn more, you may reach us here.
A few more aluminum extrusions key design considerations:
In line with wall thickness, simple shapes are also efficient in terms of cost and production time. Yes, aluminum extrusion can produce a range of shapes and designs to meet the aesthetic and structural requirements of a designer; but razor-sharp corners and the extrusion process don’t go well together as they tend to bend and become uneven. Also, complicated shapes in turn will need to have complicated dies resulting in higher tooling costs.
There are three general classifications of extruded shapes: solid, semi-hollow, and hollow.
Solid shapes have a cross-section that does not have any voids. They are cheaper to make because they are less complex. Semi-hollow profiles are defined by the tongue ratio (width of the gap vs. its depth). A larger ratio is classified as semi-hollow while a smaller ratio is considered as solid. Hollow profiles contain a void or maybe even multiple voids on a single profile.
When exposed to the elements in our atmosphere, different materials can be vulnerable, and aluminum is no exception. Aluminum naturally forms a thin oxide layer on its surface and serves as protection against the elements.
However, aluminum extrusions can be finished with a variety of paint, anodize, or mechanical treatments when additional surface protection or an enhanced appearance is desired. One factor to be considered about finishing is the in-use environment that your profile needs. There are, however, other reasons for treating aluminum surfaces such as color, hardness, better resistance to wear and corrosion, reflectivity, electrical insulation, and enhancements to the surface structure.
It is important to remember that the dimensions that were added to a finished profile are often overlooked. Although these changes can be minor, there can be critical impacts caused by these changes that may be troublesome to your projects. You can reach us here to know more about the finishing options and considerations for your profile.
A wide selection of alloys and tempers are available depending on your profile’s needs and use. Aluminum is alloyed with other materials to enhance strength and/or attributes to cater to most applications. Therefore, you initially need to determine the function of your profile to determine the best alloy to use for your profile.
In addition to alloy selection, temper — the hardness and strength imparted to the metal by mechanical or thermal treatment — determines the ultimate physical performance of an aluminum extrusion.
To know more about this, click here so we can guide you on the best alloys to use for your profile.
Who can help with aluminum extrusions key design considerations:
Taber Extrusions is a full-service partner, and we have an unwavering commitment to consistently meeting and exceeding customer expectations by providing both products and services of the highest quality. This commitment is at the core of our value-added philosophy.
For us, unique, customized capabilities are key. Taber Extrusions’ specialty is the manufacturing of complex and intricate extrusions that competitors consider difficult or even impossible. Our full range of extrusion presses, from 1800 and 3000 tons to our impressive large 8600 tons, give us unmatched flexibility and profile capabilities.
For example, 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 31” and up to 140 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.
Our value-added philosophy, along with our custom capabilities and top-tier customer service, is why Taber Extrusions has been a leader in the extrusion industry for over four decades.
More About Taber Extrusions – Company History
Taber Extrusions, located in Russellville, AR, and Gulfport, MS, is a highly regarded provider of aluminum extrusions to a wide variety of industries including aerospace, infrastructure, transportation, defense, and thermal management. ISO 9001 and AS 9100 certified, Taber’s present and future customers can expect to see increased supply opportunities with the expanded set of extrusion solutions, programs, and services.
Founded in 1973, Taber Extrusions originally pioneered a process for extruding rectangular billet which enables the company to extrude solid profiles up to 31 inches wide or hollows up to 29 inches. Taber expanded with the purchase of an extrusion facility in Gulfport, MS in 1995 which houses a new state-of-the-art cast house and two additional presses, micro-extrusion capabilities, and the fabrication area has been expanded multiple times.
Taber continues to extrude billet in a wide range of alloys and sizes and has diversified its markets beyond the military since its inception to include aerospace, automotive, marine, infrastructure, and sporting goods, among many others. For these markets, the company supplies cast and extruded products in a variety of soft and hard alloys.
Today, Taber Extrusions is proud of its friction stir welding capabilities, and a full offering of extruded aluminum components, value-added machining services, and raw material supply to the North American market.