Aluminum Extrusions Manufacturer
Sapa Extrusion is the leading standard and custom aluminum extrusions manufacturer in North America. From basic fabrication, such as precision cutting, drilling, tapping or punching, to fully finished assemblies, Sapa can offer a complete solution that’s ready to ship or insert into a production line.
Our nationwide network of production and supply facilities enables us to produce all shapes, sizes, alloys and tempers, by both direct and indirect extrusion, to meet the needs of customers in the automotive, aviation, solar/renewable energy electronics, building and construction, information technology, bridge decking, telecommunications, and most other consumer and industrial markets.
Few metals are stronger, more durable or more useful than aluminum. It’s the most common metal found in the Earth’s crust, and more of it is produced annually than all other non-ferrous metals combined. It has the ability to be machined, formed and shaped, is second only to copper in conductivity, conducts heat well, is non-sparking, resists corrosion and rust, and is non-magnetic. Based on these and its other characteristics, aluminum is second only to steel for use in structural applications.
The Extrusion Process
With the aid of a powerful hydraulic press which can exert 100 to 15,000 tons of pressure, aluminum can be extruded into just about any shape imaginable. There are two methods of extrusion – direct and indirect – and the process typically follows these steps:
A die is manufactured from a cross-section of the desired shape.
Aluminum billets are heated to about 750 to 925ºF, the point where aluminum becomes a soft solid.
Once the required temperature has been reached, smut or lubricant is applied to the billet and the ram to keep the parts from sticking together, and the billet is transferred to a steel extrusion press container.
The ram pushes the billet through the container and through the die. The aluminum is squeezed through the opening in the die and then exits the press.
Another billet is loaded and welded to the previous one, and the process continues. Simple shapes may emerge from the extrusion press as quickly as 200 feet/minute. Complex shapes typically emerge more slowly – as slowly as one foot/minute.
When the extruded profile reaches the desired length, it is sheared off and transferred to a cooling table, where it is quickly cooled with air, water sprays, water baths or mists.
Once the extrusion cools, it is moved to a stretcher where it is straightened and work-hardened to release internal stresses and improve hardness and strength.
At this point, extrusions can be cut to desired lengths.
Once cut, the extruded parts can be cooled at room temperature or moved into aging ovens, where heat treatment speeds up the aging process in a controlled temperature environment.
In addition to extrusion profiles, Sapa offers the fabrication services required for a complete turn-key product. Since we cast our own material, we offer more than 10 different standard and proprietary alloys in the 1000, 2000, 3000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 series, or we can design a specific alloy for your unique requirements. We offer these and other capabilities:
Manufacturing – Cast billet, die design & manufacture, extrusion
Fabrication – Precision cutting, drilling and tapping, punching, forming, deburring, beveling /chamfering, CNC machining, assembly and special packaging
Finishing – Vertical wet paint, liquid horizontal paint, anodizing, environmentally friendly special coatings and high speed vertical powder coating line
When you need custom aluminum extrusions, consider a manufacturer with 50 years of global expertise in everything from design and engineering to fabrication and finishing to assembly and packaging. With 21 plants and 67 extrusion presses across North America, Sapa Extrusions provides a comprehensive suite of services for customers in all markets.