Advantages of Automotive Aluminum
Automotive aluminum is helping build lighter weight vehicles. Now second only to steel as the most used material in vehicles for framing structures, bumpers, suspension, powertrain components, brake/HVAC components, trim and other components, aluminum use is projected to nearly double by 2025. As such car manufacturers know there are many advantages of using aluminum in the automotive industry.
Ford, for example, shaved about 700 pounds off its existing 5,000-pound F-150 truck in 2015 by replacing most of the truck’s welded steel cab and cargo bed with lightweight aluminum, significantly improving the vehicle’s fuel economy. Engineers indicate that a stamped-aluminum body can equal or outperform steel in overall strength, dent resistance and crash protection, depending on the material used, its thickness and how the structure is designed and assembled.
Aluminum’s characteristics make it the ideal candidate to replace heavier materials (steel or copper) in vehicles. It has a high strength stiffness to weight ratio, can be machined, formed and shaped, is second only to copper in conductivity, conducts heat well, is non-sparking so it can be used near flammable substances, resists corrosion and rust, and is non-magnetic.
The benefits of aluminum extend beyond the light weight. Multi-functional chassis parts can be extruded to incorporate features such as channels for wiring or sections to attach to body panels. A wide range of products can be made from extrusions, from structural assemblies to trim finished components, from simple shapes to highly complex intricate sections. Aluminum is also highly recyclable.
Sapa Extrusions is the world leader in automotive extrusions, producing an extensive product line for all types of light vehicles and heavy duty trucks in locations throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Some of the uses of our products in the automobile industry include:
Chassis – Integrating extruded components makes it possible to reduce part counts, reduce weight by as much as 30% compared to a steel structure, and reduce assembly costs.
Crash boxes – Aluminum’s ability to absorb energy is greater than that of steel. The final product will provide enhanced energy absorption and maximum safety for occupants.
Heat exchangers - Efficient, lightweight heat transfer appliances, such as radiators and air conditioning systems, can be made using extruded aluminum tubing and can incorporate product-specific alloys.
Roof rails - Aluminum extrusions can be used to produce both attractive and functional parts for vehicles without adding much to the total weight, but tight control over die manufacture and the extrusion process itself are critical.
Door protection beams - By optimizing extrusion design, alloy design, heat treatment and other conditions, extruded door protection beams can be designed to fit the door, adding better safety with little added weight.
Sunroof frame components - Aluminum extrusions are excellent for producing sunroof channels. Complex parts can be designed, requiring fewer parts and allowing for easier assembly.
Sapa Extrusions is the North American leader in common alloy extruded aluminum products, offering the industry’s most comprehensive product line. Our extruded aluminum products are available in standard and custom shapes (solid, semi-hollow and hollows), as well as specialty miniature extrusions, from concept to prototype to production, regardless of alloy, metal treatment or complexity of design.
We offer extruded automotive aluminum products as well as complete solutions for the mass transit, bridge decking, and solar/renewable energy industries, and green applications for the building & construction market.
Contact SAPA Extrusions today to learn more about how we can help your company with extruded automotive aluminum products.