At Bergsen Metals, we provide cost-effective engineered material solutions to customers across a wide range of industries. Equipped with over 40 years of experience distributing quality metals and providing value-added fabrication and finishing services, our customers know they can trust us to meet their material needs.
Overview of the Aluminum Extrusion Process
The aluminum extrusion process involves the use of a hydraulic press and specialized extrusion dies. Before the process can begin, the die(s) must be made. The die(s) should have an opening that is the same shape as the desired component’s cross-section. Once it is finished and installed in the extrusion machine, the process continues as follows:
- The extrusion tools and aluminum billet (i.e., a cast log of extrusion feedstock) are preheated. The temperature to which the billet is heated is high enough to soften it but low enough that the material remains solid.
- The preheated billet is transferred to the loader, where lubricant is added to keep it from sticking to the extrusion equipment.
- The press ram of the extrusion machine applies pressure to a dummy block, which pushes the billet into the container and through the die.
- The continuous log of extruded material exits the die onto a run-out table, which transfers it to a cooling table that features fans, water sprays, or a full water quench setup.
- The cooled log is moved to a stretcher, which straightens it.
- The straightened log is sent to the saw table, which cuts it to the desired lengths.
- The cut pieces are sent for further treatment to prepare them for use, such as hardening and surface finishing.
Benefits of Custom Aluminum Extrusions
There are many benefits to using custom aluminum extrusion for a project. For example:
- They are environmentally friendly. Aluminum is 100% recyclable and infinitely reusable. In fact, over 75% of the aluminum that has ever been produced is still being used today.
- They are cost-efficient. Aluminum is available at a relatively low price point. Additionally, the extrusion process is less expensive than many other metal forming processes.
- They are versatile. Aluminum extrusions can be made in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit many different applications. They can also be further customized with treatments and finishes to achieve a specific function, feel, and look.
- They are available in precision pieces. Aluminum is ideal for components that have tight tolerance requirements. The extrusion process can shape it into highly complex forms, and other manufacturing methods can cut it to exacting specifications.
How to Choose the Right Aluminum Alloy
There are many aluminum alloys available, each of which offers unique characteristics that make it suitable for different manufacturing applications. It is important to consider these differences when choosing one for an extrusion project since the choice of material can significantly impact the production and performance of the extruded components. Some of the factors to keep in mind when selecting a material include strength, workability, and heat treatability.
Typical aluminum alloys used in extrusion operations include:
- Alloy 3000 series. This aluminum alloy is widely used. It contains manganese, which results in enhanced strength.
- Alloy 5000 series. This aluminum alloy has excellent corrosion resistance, which makes it ideal for use in marine environments.
- Alloy 6000 series. This aluminum alloy has high weldability, making it suitable for the production of architectural and structural elements. One example is 6061 aluminum rectangular bars, which are strong but expensive.
At Bergsen Metals, we specialize in aluminum alloys for the aerospace sector.
Custom Aluminum Extrusions From Bergsen Metals
Aluminum extrusions exhibit many advantageous characteristics. As a result, they are used in a wide range of industries and applications. However, it is important to source them from a reliable supplier so you can trust them to perform as intended.
Looking for a custom aluminum extrusion company for your next project? Turn to the experts at Bergsen Metals! To learn more about our capabilities, contact us today. For pricing details, request a quote.