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What are Aluminium Extrusions?
The process of aluminum extrusion is best described as a technique used to trans form aluminum alloy into parts and objects that have a definitive cross-sectional profile. These parts or objects are then typically employed for a wide range of uses.
Easily machined and casted because of its malleability, aluminum also has a set of unique physical characteristics such as having one third the density and stiffness of steel. This allows for parts and products to be manufactured that can offer both strength and stability.
This strength and stability can further be increased when alloyed with other metals.
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The Aluminum Extrusion Process
First, the desired shape of the die is designed and created. Once this step is complete, a billet of aluminum is heated (usually from 800°F to 925°F)and then transferred to the loader. Here a lubricant is added in order to prevent the billet from sticking to the extrusion machine parts itself, the handle and the ram.
Once lubrication is complete and the billet has been loaded, pressure, using the ram, is applied to what is called a dummy block. This causes the aluminum billet to be pushed into the container, forcing it through the die.
In order to prevent the formation of oxides, aluminium extrusion suppliers introduce nitrogen (either in gas or liquid form) to the process. The nitrogen is then allowed to move through the various sections of the die. By doing this, an inert atmosphere is created, also aiding in prolonging the life of the die.
The extruded part now passes onto the run-out table and one, long piece in the same shape as the die opening. From here, it is pulled to the cooling table where fans are employed to cool the newly created aluminum extrusion.
After proper cooling has taken place, the extruded aluminum is moved to the stretcher. Here straightening and work hardening is completed.
Once the extrusion has hardened, it is taken to the saw table where it is cut into the desired lengths.
Finally the extrusion is treated with heat in what is called age ovens. This process hardens the aluminum, effectively speeding up the aging process.
This process used for aluminium extrusions can also be adapted to include more complex features, especially used for the creation of custom aluminum extruded parts. A great example of these complexities includes the use of piercing mandrels or pins inside the die in order to create hollow sections.
After the extrusion process has been completed, a number of options allows aluminium extrusion suppliers to adjust the texture, color and brightness of the extruded part.