Extrusion is one of the most widely used processes for forming aluminum. First, a metal die is designed to precisely match the profile of a shape required for a specific application. An aluminum billet is heated to soften it and then forced with a hydraulic press or ram through the die, exiting the container in the desired profile. The process is quite similar to the way a pasta maker presses dough through a die on a pasta extruder to make tubular-shaped pastas like macaroni and penne. The continuous length of pasta dough takes the shape of the die, exactly like an aluminum extrusion.
There are few metals that are stronger, more durable or more useful than aluminum. It is second only to copper in conductivity, conducts heat well, is non-sparking so it can be used near flammable substances, resists corrosion, and is non-magnetic. Some aluminum alloys rival medium-grade steel in strength, but it is lightweight and less expensive. It also resists oxidation, which causes steel to rust. These are some of the characteristics that make extruded aluminum profiles useful in thousands of ways in virtually every industry, such as:
Automobiles & Trucks: Globally, aluminum is the second most-utilized material in cars and trucks. It has one-third the density of steel, which means a component can be thicker than its steel version but significantly lighter. It can absorb two times the energy of steel at the same weight and is corrosion-resistant. Extrusion profiles are used in wheels, frames, suspension components, drive-shafts, powertrain components, brake/HVAC components, engine blocks, and cylinder heads.
Building & Construction: Aluminum extrusions are used in roofing, window and door frames, wall panels, partitions, fences, for braided coaxial cable and wire housings. electrical fittings, couplings and valves, oil and gas drilling tubing and fittings, wide-span roof structures for bridge decks and arenas, heat exchangers, air coolers, heat-sinks, water, air and hydraulic piping and tubing, and many other applications.
Consumer Products: Extruded profiles are used in a myriad of consumer products, such as computers and circuit boards, printers and photocopiers, kitchen appliances, vacuums, televisions and DVD players, office partitions, venetian blinds, showers, tradeshow exhibits and displays, modular machine frames, archery sets, bicycles, exercise equipment, swimming pool rails, golf carts, baseball bats, hockey sticks, garage doors, mail boxes, tool boxes, gas tanks, fan blades, awning slats, siding and ornamental work, refrigerator panels and ice cube trays.
Marine: Light weight and corrosion and fatigue resistance make aluminum profiles indispensable in marine environments. Extruded profiles can be found in ship decking, roofing, toe rails, keels and boat ribs.
Rail: When train cars are designed with aluminum extrusions, they need only one-third the number of components, require less welding, and are significantly lighter in weight compared with steel cars. The lightweight cars can carry greater loads and save money in both freight and fuel costs. They are also better able to resist corrosion when carrying high-sulfur coal.
Sapa Extrusions is the leading North American supplier of common alloy extrusions and part of the world’s largest extruded aluminum profile company. 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. Our unprecedented resources, product range and technical competencies enable us to provide the industry’s most comprehensive line of standard and custom extruded shapes that are certain to meet your most challenging demands.