In all types of manufacturing and fabrication, as well as in construction, aluminum is used for a range of different applications from providing structural stability to adding to the design or the functionality of the piece. For these types of uses, it may be possible to use stock aluminum bar or rod, or a project may call for custom extrusions.
Custom extrusions are typically designed to have a unique shape that is not found in a standard extrusion. Common extrusions that are found at most aluminum suppliers include tees, channels and angles as well as hexagons and even tubing.
While some custom extrusions may have very unique or elaborate types of shapes, others may simply be a larger or smaller size of a standard shape available. These types of custom designs or modifications to an existing shape can be more easily fabricated through extrusion than through forming the shape by other means such as cold rolling and welding.
The steps involved in custom extrusions first start with designing the die, or the form through which the semi-solid aluminum will be forced to create the shape. The die has to be very carefully designed to match the tolerances required for the final size of the required extrusion.
Once the die has been created and tested, it is then placed in the extrusion system. Aluminum billets are heated in a large furnace to a semi-solid state, almost like a thick toothpaste. A hydraulic ram is used to apply force to a plate behind the aluminum, forcing it through the die to create the desired shape.
All custom extrusions are produced in lengths that are then processed to remove any tension in the alloy, air cooled and finished to the desired finish, and then cut into the desired lengths.
With custom extrusions, it is possible to include virtually any shape or design element to either the interior or the exterior of the extrusion. The size limit is only restricted by the extruder’s capacity, and there are different aluminum processors that can handle literally any size or shape of final part required.
Working with a top aluminum supplier is always the best option. These suppliers have the ability to complete custom extrusions or may even have a die already available, saving you cost on the project and speeding up production.
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