17 07, 2018

Infrastructure Applications of 6xxx Series Aluminum Alloys

2018-07-18T16:49:28+00:00July 17th, 2018|

It is estimated that 56,000+ bridges are structurally deficient in America with an estimated $123 billion in rehab needed. The solution? The 6xxx Series Aluminum Alloys. Not only can they be used for emergency repairs but they can provide a long-term solution to this infrastructure problem with minimal maintenance required.Let us review what sets this alloy apart, its advantages, and the types of projects the alloy is best suited for.

What is an aluminum alloy?  

Aluminum alloys are created by taking aluminum and adding elements, creating chemical compositions with enhanced properties. Once created, these compositions receive a 4-digit number with the first digit signifying a general series that characterizes its main alloying elements.

What does it mean when an alloy is a part of the 6xxx series

The main agents in the 6xxx series are silicon and magnesium in order to form magnesium silicide within the alloy. Alloy 6061 is the most commonly used of the series, typically used in truck and marine frames.

What are the advantages of the 6xxx aluminum alloys?

  • High Corrosion Resistance – 6xxx series aluminums can withstand abrasion, keeping their strength and durability in a variety of environments. This is one of the appeals to using it in infrastructure and architectural projects that hope to create structures with the intent of lasting decades. Whether its receiving harsh sunlight in the Nevada desert or nearly year round rain in Seattle, the alloy is able to hold up.
  • Extrudablitity – A unique feature of the 6xxx series is its extrudability. The ability to make specific, extruded parts from the alloy is another factor in why architectural and infrastructure members use this alloy. They typically require unusual, high-strength components and the power of extruded of 6xxx series is its ‘place-metal-where-you-need-it’ flexibility.
  • Heat treatable, weldable, flexible – 6061 is a highly weldable alloy, using tungsten insert gas welding or metal inert gas welding. After welding, the properties near the weld are those of 6061-O (a loss of strength of around 80%). However, MIG and TIG welded material can be heat treated again to bring the material back to the pre-welding temper. Another option may be Friction Stir Welding (FSW). With FSW, the profiles are joined together through the use of a specialized rotary machine tool. Although the material is heated and joined together through friction, the overall heat applied to the material is much lower and of shorter duration than MIG or TIG welding and the heat affected zone is much less and retains most of the original strength.

What are the applications of the 6xxx Series Aluminum Alloys?

It is this combination of advantages that make 6xxx Series Aluminum Alloys prime candidates for architectural and infrastructure projects. Such projects include:

  • Bridges or aluminum bridge decking: Extruded aluminums can be used to build traditional bridges or bridge decks can be pre-built in a modular fashion and moved to bridge sites. This method can limit the amount of time that bridges are under construction and save money in the long run.
  • Roof Structures: Typically implemented for arenas and gymnasiums, the 6063 or 6061 extruded tubes are used in large scale roofs with 5xxx alloy sheets covering them.
  • Pipelines: Because of their high corrosion resistance the 6xxx series is great for pipeline systems that have possibly acidic or dangerous materials flowing through them.
  • Automotive: Whether for a car, motorcycle, bus, or train, the 6xxx series is often used in the automotive industry for its high dent resistance and durability.

Taber Extrusions recognizes the hard work and precise engineering required for large-scale infrastructure projects. Capable of producing very large aluminum shapes with our exclusive 10” x 28” rectangular container along with our 16” and 20” round containers, we canconsistentlysupply our customers with some of the widest, most complex multi-void hollows in the industry. Taber produces their 6xxx series alloys in-house, and our recent investments in our casting and fabrication capabilities have poised Taber to be a great fit for any of your architectural and infrastructure needs… and a reliable partner for all aspects of your project.

Recent upgrades to our aluminum cast house and aluminum fabrication capabilities have put Taber in the perfect position to do just that. Check out our video on Aluminum Extrusions for Infrastructure Projects.

To learn more about how we can be of service visit: https://taberextrusions.com/

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21 11, 2012

Car Industry Advances Motivate Aluminum Manufacturing Expansion Into China

2015-06-18T15:33:37+00:00November 21st, 2012|

In the past week, the auto industry has made significant strides to increase its usage of aluminum in manufacturing. Perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise, as this was a theme of Aluminum Week 2012 and Tesla’s aluminum-body Model S won Car Of The Year from both Motor Trend and Automobile Magazine. However, it’s a good sign at the aluminum industry’s growing importance for car manufacturing.

One key indicator of this comes from global aluminum company Novelis. Novelis just announced expansion plans for an aluminum auto sheet plant in China. Novelis is recognized as a leader in rolled aluminum and its products are used in everything from beverage cans (that Coke you’re drinking? Novelis produced the can) to smartphone components to car components. From PR Newswire via Herald Online:

Novelis, the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, officially broke ground today on the company’s first aluminum manufacturing plant in China. The $100 million investment is designed to meet the rapidly growing demand for rolled aluminum used in the design of a new generation of lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The wholly owned plant under construction in Changzhou in the Jiangsu Province, will have a capacity of 120,000 metric tons per year, further strengthening Novelis’ position as the world’s largest producer of aluminum sheet products used to create vehicle structures and body panels. Startup of the new facility, the industry’s first automotive sheet plant in China, is planned for late 2014.

With the aluminum industry still glowing from Tesla’s award-winning Model S, it’s likely that you’ll see further direct investment in aluminum-based auto manufacturing in the future.

Onward and upward!

13 11, 2012

Aluminum-built Tesla Model S Wins Car of The Year

2017-01-26T23:37:30+00:00November 13th, 2012|

Back in July, we told you about Tesla’s Model S – the electric-powered, aluminum-built car that the company considered to be its flagship model following its June release. It impressed critics then, but as we’re closing out the 2012 calendar year, it’s done more than just impress critics — it’s won awards. Big awards, too – like Automobile Magazine’s 2013 Automobile Of The Year. Yeah, that’s pretty significant.

“We can’t say for certain whether Tesla will be able to make that happen. The auto industry is tough enough for a giant like General Motors. What we can say with this award is that Tesla deserves to succeed. It has managed to blend the innovation of a Silicon Valley start-up, the execution of a world-class automaker, and, yes, the chutzpah of its visionary leader. The result is the Model S. It’s not vaporware. It’s our Automobile of the Year.”

Now, to be fair, Automobile Magazine doesn’t mention the word “aluminum” once in its Automobile Of The Year article. Instead, it talks about things like performance, handling, speed, and features. But perhaps that omission is one of the biggest compliments the aluminum materials can receive. After all, if a car’s aluminum chassis can merely be part of the manufacturing process rather than a design revolution, that means that it just might be ready for mainstream acceptance.

With many car manufacturers already looking at aluminum as part of their body manufacturing process, this is more validation that the industry’s on the right path – and with aluminum’s combination of strength and lightweight appeal, safety awards and better MPG aren’t far behind.

11 10, 2012

Improving The Auto Industry’s Aluminum Manufacturing Process

2017-01-26T23:37:31+00:00October 11th, 2012|

The auto industry’s been one of the biggest topics of this blog over the past few months, but we haven’t gone too much into the specifics — it’s just known that the auto industry has seen aluminum as part of its path to lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

GM, however, offered more details about how it’s enabling greater use of aluminum in its manufacturing process. In particular, it has to do with the way the material is welded, as traditionally aluminum is difficult to weld. From GM’s press release:

“GM’s new resistance spot welding process uses a patented multi-ring domed electrode that does what smooth electrodes are unreliable at doing – welding aluminum to aluminum. By using this process GM expects to eliminate nearly two pounds of rivets from aluminum body parts such as hoods, liftgates and doors.

Spot welding uses two opposing electrode pincers to compress and fuse pieces of metal together, using an electrical current to create intense heat to form a weld. The process is inexpensive, fast and reliable, but until now, not robust for use on aluminum in today’s manufacturing environment. GM’s new welding technique works on sheet, extruded and cast aluminum because GM’s proprietary multi-ring domed electrode head disrupts the oxide on aluminum’s surface to enable a stronger weld.”

This process has already been used on the hood of the Cadillac CTS-V and the liftgate of the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon (hybrid editions). We’ll see more of this in 2013, thus promoting greater fuel efficiency and moving towards a better experience from manufacturers to motorists.

3 08, 2012

Aluminum: Built Ford Tough

2017-01-26T23:37:31+00:00August 3rd, 2012|

A few weeks ago, we told you how the auto industry has begun looking at aluminum for use in its manufacturing – specifically, as a lighter replacement for steel.

Tesla may have hit the market first, but Ford is looking at a change that will represent a bit of a culture shift for its customer base – building the bestselling Ford F-150 truck mostly out of aluminum. From the Wall Street Journal:

“The radical redesign will help meet tougher federal fuel-economy targets now starting to have wide-ranging effects on Detroit’s auto makers. But Ford will have to overcome a host of manufacturing obstacles, plus convince die-hard pickup buyers that aluminum is as tough as steel.”

The change to aluminum will trim about 15% of the truck’s weight – 700 or so pounds – to help it achieve better gas mileage. It’s hard to get into the strength debate in simplistic terms, since treatment and other material properties affect just how “tough” aluminum and steel really are. For a good breakdown, check out this article from yacht designer Michael Kasten.

Aluminum is the future of the automotive industry, and its acceptance really comes down to educating the consumer about its strength and safety properties.  In summary, Kasten puts it this way:

“As we will see, the issues of strength are tipped somewhat in favor of aluminum, mostly for the reason of its lighter weight.  Being much lighter, aluminum will permit a more robust structure within any given weight budget.”

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