Some say that aluminum is the metal of the future; and with good reason. Aluminum is lightweight (about 1/3 the weight of steel), strong (unlike steel, it does not become brittle at low temperatures), extremely malleable (making it easy to roll, shape and bend), does not rust or corrode, can be welded, riveted, bonded and bolted, is a very good conductor of heat and electricity (and only half as heavy as copper), is non-magnetic, can be finished in a variety of ways to enhance its beauty (painting, anodizing, coating) or to mimic steel, iron or wood, and it can be endlessly recycled without deterioration. An aluminum extruder is a company that processes this remarkable metal into a myriad of profiles for use in products from beer cans to automobile parts.
The aluminum extrusion process results in solid, semi-hollow and hollow shapes that have dimensional accuracy and excellent surface quality. The size of the press determines how large of an extrusion can be produced, so extruded parts can range in size from one millimeter to several feet long, and their color, texture and brightness can be altered in a variety of ways, including anodizing or painting. This makes extrusion profiles indispensible in virtually all industries.
It is essential for extruders, such as Sapa Extrusions, to focus on the properties of the different aluminum alloys in order to craft profiles with appropriate characteristics for their intended application. Aluminum and its alloys are divided into two general classes – casting alloys and wrought alloys - and include:
2024 aluminum alloy, which is composed primarily of aluminum, copper and magnesium. It is commonly used in structural components or fittings that demand stiffness, good strength and fatigue resistance.
3003 aluminum alloy, which is composed of aluminum, manganese and a tiny percentage of copper. This is one of the most widely used aluminum alloys, and is found in everything from cooking utensils and ice cube trays to garage doors and fuel tanks.
6061 aluminum alloy, which is primarily composed of aluminum, magnesium and silicon. It is used extensively as a construction material, most commonly in the manufacture of automotive components, and in the construction of yachts, motorcycles, bicycle frames, camera lenses, fishing reels, electrical fittings, couplings and valves.
6061-T6 aluminum alloy, which is heat-treated and artificially aged for structural strength and toughness. It is commonly used in boat and watercraft construction.
7075 aluminum alloy is cold-wrought and is the strongest of the aluminum alloys, or as strong as some lower-grade steel products, but lighter in weight. It is ideal in consumer products where strength, corrosion resistance and high stress-reduction capabilities are important, such as in rock-climbing equipment, hang glider airframes and bike frames.
Sapa Extrusions is the industry-leading aluminum extruder in North America and we are part of the world's largest aluminum profile company. Our nationwide network of production and supply facilities enables us to produce all aluminum shapes, sizes, alloys and tempers, by both direct and indirect extrusion, to meet the needs of our customers in the electronics, IT, automotive, mass transit, bridge decking, telecommunications, and solar/renewable energy industries, as well as a limitless number of other consumer and industrial markets.