What is an aluminum extrusion?
Aluminum extrusion is also named as aluminum profile or aluminum extrusion profiles. If you are not familiar with this term, i do believe you will have a clear understanding of “aluminum extrusion” after checking this atricle.
Aluminum extrusion is a technique used to transform aluminum alloy into objects with a definitive cross-sectional profile through extrusion molds for a wide range of uses. A powerful ram pushes the aluminum through the die and it emerges from the die opening. When it does, it comes out in the same shape as the die and is pulled out along a runout table.
The extrusion process makes the most of aluminum’s unique combination of physical characteristics. Its malleability allows it to be easily machined and cast, and yet aluminum is one third the density and stiffness of steel so the resulting products offer strength and stability, particularly when alloyed with other metals.
What Kinds of Shapes Can be Extruded?
There are three main categories of extruded shapes:
- Solid, with no enclosed voids or openings (i.e. a rod, beam, or angle).
- Hollow, with one or more voids (i.e. square or rectangular tube).
- Semi-hollow, with a partially enclosed void (i.e. a “C” channel with a narrow gap)
Extrusion has innumerable applications across many different industries, including the architectural, automotive, electronics, aerospace, energy, and other industries.
The Aluminum Extrusion Process in 10 Steps (Image Clips)
We’ve divided the extrusion process into ten steps. Let’s take a look at what they are. We do believe that after reading these steps, you will have a better understanding of”what is an aluminum extrusion”
What is an aluminum extrusion (Step1)
Extrusion die prepared and moved to the extrusion press
First, a round-shaped die is machined from H13 steel. Or, if one is already available, it is pulled from a warehouse like the one you see here.
Before extrusion, the die must be preheated to between 450-500 degrees celsius to help maximize its life and ensure even metal flow.
Once the die has been preheated, it can be loaded into the extrusion press.
What is an aluminum extrusion (Step2)
Aluminum billet is preheated before aluminum extrusion
Next, a solid, cylindrical block of aluminum alloy, called a billet, is cut from a longer log of alloy material.
It is preheated in an oven, like this one, to between 400-500 degrees celsius.
This makes it malleable enough for the extrusion process but not molten.
What is an aluminum extrusion (Step3)
Aluminum billet is transferred to the extrusion press
Once the billet has been preheated, it is transferred mechanically to the extrusion press.
Before it is loaded onto the press, a lubricant (or release agent) is applied to it.
The release agent is also applied to the extrusion ram, to prevent the billet and ram from sticking together.
What is an aluminum extrusion (Step4)
The extrusion ram pushes the billet into the container
Now, the malleable billet is loaded into the extrusion press, where the hydraulic ram applies up to 15,000 tons of pressure to it.
As the ram applies pressure, the billet material is pushed into the container of the extrusion press.
The material expands to fill the walls of the container.
What is an aluminum extrusion (Step5)
The extruded aluminum material emerges through the die
As the alloy material fills the container, it is now being pressed up against the extrusion die.
With continual pressure being applied to it, the aluminum material has nowhere to go except out through the opening(s) in the die.
It emerges from the die’s opening in the shape of a fully-formed profile.
What is an aluminum extrusion (Step6)
Extrusions are guided along the runout table and quenched
After emerging, the extrusion is gripped by a puller, like the one you see here, which guides it along the runout table at a speed that matches its exit from the press.
As it moves along the runout table, the profile is “quenched,” or uniformly cooled by a water bath or by fans above the table.
What is an aluminum extrusion (Step7)
Extrusion materials are sheared to table length
Once an extrusion reaches its full table length, it is sheared by a hot saw to separate it from the extrusion process.
At every step of the process, temperature plays an important role.
Although the extrusion was quenched after exiting the press, it has not yet fully cooled.
What is an aluminum extrusion (Step8)
Extrusion materials are cooled to room temperature
After shearing, table-length extrusions are mechanically transferred from the runout table to a cooling table, like the one you see here.
The profiles will remain there until they reach room temperature.
Once they do, they will need to be stretched.
What is an aluminum extrusion (Step9)
Extrusion materials are moved to the stretcher and stretched into alignment
Some natural twisting has occurred in the profiles and this needs to be corrected.
To correct this, they are moved to a stretcher.
Each profile is mechanically gripped on both ends and pulled until it is fully straight and has been brought into specification.
What is an aluminum extrusion (Step10)
Extrusion materials are Moved to the finish saw and cut to length
With the table-length extrusions now straight and fully work-hardened, they are transferred to the saw table.
Here, they are sawed to pre-specified lengths, generally between 8 and 21 feet long. At this point, the properties of the extrusions match the T4 temper.
After sawing, they can be moved to an aging oven to be aged to the T5 or T6 temper.
Conclusion: aluminum extrusion is an important manufacturing process
Aluminum extrusion is a process for creating parts with specific cross-sectional profiles by pushing heated alloy material through a die.
Shapes created can be solid, hollow, and semi-hollow; and they can be simple or they can be complex.
The process of extrusion is an interesting one, resulting in 8-24 foot long profiles that can then be heat treated, finished, and fabricated to customer specifications. If you are now in need of aluminum frame for solar panel, feel free to contact us now.
Today, aluminum extrusion is used for a wide range of purposes, including components of the International Space Station. These diverse applications are possible due to the advantageous attributes of aluminum, from its particular blend of strength and ductility to its conductivity, its non-magnetic properties and its ability to be recycled repeatedly without loss of integrity.
All of these capabilities make aluminum extrusion a viable and adaptable solution for an growing number of manufacturing needs.
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