3 12, 2021

The Gift of Aluminum Extrusion: How Extrusion Technology Shapes Our World

2022-02-03T22:57:53+00:00December 3rd, 2021|

An photograph of extruded aluminum pieces with a white graphic rectangle that reads “The Gift of Aluminum Extrusion: How Extrusion Technology Shapes Our World.”

Technology is commonly defined as the application of scientific knowledge to the practical aims of human life, or, as it is sometimes phrased, the change and manipulation of the human environment. Aluminum extrusion technology is one such innovation that continues to change the world for the better. Before we bring light to this time-honored approach to aluminum processing, we should first know where it all began.

The Beginnings of Aluminum Extrusion

Before 1825, the complexities of refining aluminum from ore made aluminum a rare and precious metal that was more valuable than silver and gold. Thanks to a successful smelting process invented by Charles Martin Hall and Paul Heroult, aluminum paved its way into the commercial sector. The invention of smelting gave rise to better technology that could fully take advantage of the unique attributes of aluminum. In 1894, Alexander Dick achieved just that when he developed the hot extrusion process. This process allowed non-ferrous alloys to be extruded, and the first aluminum extrusion press was in production by 1904. Over the years, with modern technology, extrusions can now be more precise and accurate.

A picture of a child’s generic plastic playdough-style extruder squishing out a red textured noodle-like log (or “billet”) of modeling clay next to 2 containers filled with blue and red “dough.”

Aluminum Properties Made Simple

In essence, aluminum extrusion technology can be compared to popular child’s modeling clay. Playdough can be smashed, folded, and molded into any shape. The material can also be squeezed through an extrusion-type machine passing through various-sized and shaped holes (just like die casts!) to become an entirely different shape destined for a brand-new use. The possibilities are only limited to one’s imagination. A young scientist at work…

In the world of aluminum extrusion technology, the process of forming aluminum begins with a raw aluminum. While this metal is the most abundant on Earth, it rarely comes in its pure form. Alumina is made from bauxite. After that, the material must undergo smelting and an alloying process involving many alloying elements such as copper, magnesium, silicon, and manganese. Finally, the aluminum is ready for the extrusion process. An aluminum billet is preheated then forcibly compressed through a smaller opening. Besides the aluminum alloy combination, many factors determine the quality and properties of the final product, such as the billet length, the billet heat, aluminum profiles, and the extrusion speed. Despite varying results, a freshly made aluminum extrusion is hardly ever used in a real-world commercial application. Most aluminum extrusion products adhere to specifications which meet the needs of each industry.

Among the many reasons of how aluminum extrusions shape our world, aside from being incredibly strong, aluminum weighs only a third of other common commercial metals like iron, steel, and copper. This makes aluminum more economical in applications where fuel economy is an important factor such as in the transportation sector. Additionally, this metal is exceptionally resilient, allowing it to bend and spring back after substantial impacts, making it a top choice for automotive crash management systems.

A photograph of a modern building made entirely of a reflective metal.

Remember that playdough analogy? Well, aluminum’s malleability makes this metal easy to work with throughout the design and extrusion process. An aluminum extrusion can be tailored to meet all possible needs in terms of function and aesthetics.

Aluminum Extrusions and Energy

Photograph of mounted solar panels in a field of green grass.

Aluminum extrusions also play a role in energy generation. Compared to other metals, aluminum has high electrical conductivity, making it preferential for energy distribution. Aluminum is also essential in structural and racking solutions for systems that collect solar power when generating green energy. Aluminum, and by extension, aluminum extrusions, is one of the most sustainable metals out there. The icing on the cake? Aluminum is infinitely recyclable without losing any of its above properties.

The aluminum industry has had to evolve to accommodate the growing needs of various industries that utilize aluminum extrusions. Within the United States’ aluminum industry, Taber Extrusions is a leader in quality products and customer satisfaction, firmly believing in collaborative work with customers to find unique solutions to queries that our ever-changing world presents. Taber’s extensive aluminum extrusion capabilities allow the creation of all kinds of designs for a variety of industries.

ABOUT TABER EXTRUSIONS

Taber Extrusions, located in Russellville, AR and Gulfport, MS, is highly regarded as a 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. The most recent expansion was the addition of the new Haas VF-12 CNC machining line. Taber continues to extrude billet in a wide range of alloys and sizes and has diversified its markets beyond 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 full offering of extruded aluminum components, value-added machining services, and raw material supply to the North American market.

Follow Taber Extrusions

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/company/8843183/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/taberextrusions/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/taberextrusions

Are you interested in joining the Taber Team? Send your resume to: careers@taberextrusions.com

Become a customer today! Visit us or request a quote: https://taberextrusions.com or call us at (888) 985-5319.

3 11, 2021

The Evolution of The Aluminum Alloy

2022-02-03T22:03:03+00:00November 3rd, 2021|

A large, futuristic, triangular aluminum roof supported by three tall pillars cuts into a cloudy sky, while the light of a bright sun peeks out from one of the edges.

The story of human dominance over nature really begins at metalworking with bronze. Bronze represents humanity’s first steps in substantively transforming the essence of the object around them, rather than just manipulating the physical shape of naturally occurring materials.

The sharp head of a stone spear made sometime in the Stone Age.

Since the introduction of bronze more than 10,000 years ago, metallurgy has continued to evolve. Most of the “giant leaps” in metalworking occurred thousands of years ago, but the technological age has brought about unprecedented advances of its own. Many of the advances piggybacked on the slow progression of past eras, as is the case with steel. However, aluminum stands out for its rise as a brand new, never seen before metal that arrived to chart the course for a new era of human progress.

This “metal, that looked like silver, but was too light to be silver” appears in the Roman history books of Pliny the Elder. He tells of how the Roman emperor saw the beauty and versatility of the metal, and, afraid of what its discovery could do to the price of silver, ordered the beheading of the only chemist capable of producing aluminum. The chemist, who claimed only he and the gods knew the secret of making aluminum, took the secret to his grave. From then, the gods were slow in trusting the secret to humans again. In fact, it wasn’t until 1825 that chemist Hans-Christian Orsted produced the first pure aluminum. This Danish scientist got to keep his head and the honor of introducing the world to a game-changing element.

In a period picture depicting the Middle Ages, a metal goblet is passed between two people, only their arms and part of one of their torsos can be seen.

With aluminum in hand, a whole new world opened to engineers and manufacturers. A lightweight, durable, corrosive-resistant, conductive, tasteless, and versatile metal immediately transformed the possibilities for industries, from aerospace and transportation to food and beverage. Soon aluminum, which at first was considered a royal, luxury metal, would find its way into everyone’s home through consumer products such as cars and appliances.

A photograph of the top of a cluster of red, aluminum canned drinks, with condensation droplets forming all over the cans.

Fueled by these past successes, aluminum continues to be a forward-looking material. Innovation characterizes this industry, focused on pushing the boundaries of the youngest member of the great metal family. Today’s research and development in the aluminum industry focuses on testing and understanding aluminum alloys.

To make these alloys, aluminum is melted and then mixed with other elements such as zinc, magnesium, and copper, among many others. Each alloy has a different set of characteristics, and consequently a different set of uses. In order to streamline the transition of these elements from research to application, aluminum alloys are assigned a four-digit number, where the first number indicates the main element that is alloyed with the aluminum. Some alloys, such as the ones found in the 3xxx series (Manganese), are great as cooking utensils, while other alloys, such as the 7xxx (Zinc) series, are perfect for aircraft. This classification of aluminum alloys gives end-users a guide by which they can pinpoint the aluminum alloy to fit their needs.

A photograph of the underbelly of a large commercial airplane where the engines, wings, and fuselage are visible and far above, another plane flies high in the air, leaving behind white contrails.

Specialized aluminum alloys can be found in our power lines, skyscrapers, appliances, automobiles, aircraft, and consumer products, from soda cans to refrigerators. Perhaps the only thing greater than aluminum’s achievements are the promises for tomorrow. From increased electrical conduction, to stronger, more lightweight aluminum, many of the world’s industries count on aluminum alloys to make their own progress possible. In this way, aluminum alloys are a keystone for the world’s continued technological progression.

At Taber Extrusions, our job is to keep up with every twist and turn in the exciting world of aluminum, so that we can deliver the perfect aluminum alloy for the job. Our intricate, precision extrusions  embody our attention to detail and understanding of the nuanced world of aluminum. Taber uses a wide scope of aluminum alloys to deliver quality aluminum extrusions according to customer specifications. That means, every product is tailor made, in substance and in shape.

Many ages have gone by since the first humans began shaping the natural world to their liking. Many, too, have gone by since we began using the power of chemistry to create the perfect materials. At Taber, we take our place within these traditions of progress and innovation, and are proud to work with aluminum, the metal of the future. Come take advantage of our aluminum extrusion expertise and best practices in the sector to meet your needs today!

ABOUT TABER EXTRUSIONS

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 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 a vertically-integrated supplier of friction stir welding panels and assemblies in North America not previously seen – offering extruded aluminum components, value-added machining services, and raw materials.

Follow Taber Extrusions 

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/company/8843183/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/taberextrusions/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/taberextrusions

Are you interested in joining the Taber Team? Send your resume to: careers@taberextrusions.com

Become a customer today! Visit us or request a quote: https://taberextrusions.com/contact-us/ or call us at (888) 985-5319.

14 10, 2021

Taber Extrusions Social Study: Aluminum’s Economic Impact

2021-10-14T02:28:11+00:00October 14th, 2021|

A photograph of a piece of paper, a dark blue pushpin is affixed at the top of a bar graph alongside a blue pen below which are the words “Taber Extrusion Social Study: Aluminum’s Economic Impact.”

Aluminum is everywhere. Many of the conveniences of modern life would not be possible without it. It is a crucial element for modern innovative applications, for sustainability, and also for the progress of the economy. Its strong and lightweight features and ability to be infinitely recycled propelled the U.S. aluminum industry to become the backbone of the nation’s manufacturing base. With the findings of research conducted by John Dunham & Associates and released by the Aluminum Association, this blog will delve deeper into the impact of aluminum on the United States’ economy.

An image of a person wearing a black helmet and a thick red jacket welding a piece of metal, with green light sparking out of the welding machinery.

The Aluminum Industry Generates Jobs

Several challenges have been presented to the industry in recent years, still, the aluminum market has shown a great deal of resilience. Even though the aluminum industry faced several challenges, including many job losses, growth in downstream segments like flat-rolled products and extrusions provided a way to compensate.

 

Today, the American aluminum industry directly employs over 166,000 people that generate more than 170 billion dollars in economic output. In addition, over 494,000 workers are indirectly employed, which contributes another 102 billion dollars to economic activity. As a whole, over 660,000 U.S. jobs are supported by the production, processing, and use of aluminum. Those employed in the aluminum industry earn an average yearly salary that is above the national average. Indirect employees contribute 44 billion dollars in wages and benefits to the economy. When all employment supported by the industry is considered, these jobs generate nearly 16 billion dollars in federal, state, and local taxes. 

An image of the tops of a bunch of shiny, unopened aluminum cans beneath a gray banner with the word “Recyclable” and a graphic of the green recycling symbol next to it.

Aluminum Recycling Generates High-Value Economic Impact

Aside from being strong and lightweight, aluminum also has the advantage of retaining its properties, making it one of the most recyclable materials. Having said that, the aluminum industry has recycled more than 70 percent of its output since it was established.

Aluminum recycling conserves more than 90 percent of the energy costs required in primary production. Recycling a pound of aluminum saves about 7 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Also, it is the only material in the consumer disposal stream that generates a greater return than the cost of its collection. Every minute, an average of 113,000 aluminum cans are recycled. The aluminum industry pays a tremendous amount of money to replace empty aluminum cans. With the recycling of aluminum, specifically aluminum cans, charitable organizations have been developed and supported for decades and more decades to come. 

An image of cylindrical billets of aluminum resting on top of each other with beams of wood between each of them and green bands to hold them in place.

Aluminum is a major contributor to the nation’s manufacturing base and economy, supporting thousands of jobs in many communities and regions. Over 660,000 workers are employed by the industry, which generates 170 billion dollars in economic output each year. Moreover, aluminum is considered to be a sustainable metal. This means it can be recycled multiple times without the risk of degrading breaking. Taber Extrusions understands the important role that aluminum plays in the nation’s economy and contributes to that role by providing various processing services related to aluminum. A few of these services include aluminum extrusions, micro extrusions, billet casting, aluminum fabrication, and friction stir welding.

ABOUT TABER

Founded in 1973, Taber Extrusions is the pioneer of extruding rectangular billet, allowing the company to manufacture solid profiles up to 31 inches wide or hollow profiles up to 29 inches wide. With the purchase of an extrusion facility in Gulfport, MS, Taber expanded its capabilities with a state-of-the-art cast house, two additional presses, micro extrusion capability, and numerous fabrication expansions.

Taber continues to extrude billets in an array of alloys and sizes. Its markets have expanded beyond the military to include aerospace, automotive, marine, infrastructure, and sporting goods. For these markets, the company supplies cast and extruded products in various soft and hard alloys.

Today, Taber Extrusions is a vertically integrated supplier of friction stir welding panels and assemblies in North America not previously seen – offering extruded aluminum components, value-added machining services, and raw materials.

Follow Taber Extrusions

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/company/8843183/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/taberextrusions/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/taberextrusions

Are you interested in joining the Taber Team? Send your resume to: careers@taberextrusions.com

Become a customer today! Visit us or request a quote: https://taberextrusions.com or call us at (888) 985-5319.

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