Few metals are stronger, more durable or more useful than aluminum. Some aluminum alloys equal the strength of some medium-grade steel alloys, but steel is about three times heavier than aluminum. Aluminum also resists oxidation, which is what causes steel to rust. It is non-toxic and impermeable, even when rolled quite thin. Aluminum does not let light, smell or taste in or out, making it ideal as a packaging material for foods, beverages and pharmaceutical products. And, unlike steel, aluminum can be extruded.
The word “extrusion” is derived from the Latin word extrudere, meaning “to thrust” or “to push”. In simple terms, extrusion is the process of heating a billet of aluminum alloy to soften it and then forcing it with a hydraulic press or ram through a special steel die so that it eventually comes out in the shape of the die. Think of extrusion like a chef squeezing icing from a pastry bag with an attached tip to create fancy decorations on a cake. The continuous stream of icing takes the shape of the tip, just as aluminum extrusions take the shape of the die. By changing the tip or die, different profiles can be formed.
Two primary methods of extrusion – direct and indirect – are used to transform aluminum alloy into bars, channels, angles, tubes, and a multitude of other unique shapes that are rarely possible with other metals. These extrusion profiles become part of construction projects in all industries, consumer, commercial and industrial, and are used in products as diverse as kitchen cookware, windows and doors, bicycles, railroad cars, boats, windmills, solar arrays and robotics.
As the leading North American supplier of common alloy extrusions and part of the world’ largest aluminum profile company, Sapa Extrusions is capable of meeting the demands of virtually any building application, from high pressure and mechanical to architectural and framing. We offer the industry’s broadest product capabilities in press sizes and tonnages (direct and indirect extrusion), alloy selection, circle sizes, profile types and “green” billet”, and produce some of the largest Outside Diameter (OD) sizes and highest precision tolerances in the industry.
At Sapa Extrusions, our unprecedented resources, product range and technical competencies enable us to provide the industry’s most comprehensive line, including standard and custom extruded shapes (solid, semi-hollow and hollows), seamless and structural pipe and tube, and standard high fin and thin fin heat sinks. Our ACC-U-ROD™, ACC-U-HEX™, ACC-U-BAR®, ACC-U-PLATE® and Jumbo Rod products provide access to an extensive array of standard and specialty rod and bar favored by machinists and industry throughout North America. Sapa offers decades of expertise and can supply aluminum extrusions to satisfy your most challenging requirements. Our engineers and metallurgists are always ready to provide you with all of the systems and services you need to go from concept to finished product.