Aluminum Extrusions vs. Other Forms of Metal Fabrication: Low Cost, High Weight-to-Strength Ratio, Corrosion Resistant, Non-Magnetic, Thermal / Electrical Conductor
We specialize in post-production fabrication of aluminum extrusions. We will process extrusions and purchase extrusions, but we do not manufacture the extrusions we fabricate for your project.
As one of the most abundant metals available, aluminum is relatively low cost when compared with stainless steel and other alloys.
Features of Aluminum Extrusions
Some of the unique features that make aluminum extrusion parts desirable include:
- High strength-to-weight ratio – one-third the weight of steel
- High speed machining
- Easy component joining
- Highly resistant to corrosion
- Flexibility – strength and hardness adjusted by the addition of other elements
- Increases in strength as temperature decreases
- Highly efficient Thermal / Electrical Conductor
- Reflective – can be polished to bright finish
Decorative Parts Fabricated from Aluminum Extrusions
Advantages of Aluminum Extrusions vs. Other Forms of Metal Fabrication
While many metals can be extruded, aluminum is considered the best all around extrusion metal because of its unique combination of properties. In addition to the inherent qualities of aluminum, as discussed above, there are a number of advantages to extrusions versus machining individual parts:
- Can be designed for high strength because metal can be placed where it’s needed
- The most economical way to make parts with a constant cross section – the more parts produced, the lower the cost per part
- Machining is almost always more costly than extruding a similar number of pieces:
- Machining labor costs are high – each part requires almost that same amount of time and labor
- Excessive scrap material produced from machining – often weighs more than the finished products
- Welding is not cost-effective:
- Parts must be individually welded
- Costs do not decrease with volume
- Cost of the necessary welding jigs can be considerably higher than the cost of the extrusion die to produce the same part
- Roll forming dies are very expensive when compared to extrusion dies
- Roll forming cannot be used when there are variations to the wall thickness of the part
- Casting results in parts that need extensive finishing before use:
- Aluminum extruding produces a finished structure with relatively close dimensional control
- Complex casting molds costs considerably higher than similar extrusion dies
- Extrusion dies are relatively inexpensive, starting at only a few hundred dollars for a simple design. Forming dies and casting models can cost thousands of dollars.
- Extrusion dies have a long production life, reducing die replacement costs
- Extrusion dies can be produced faster than forming dies and casting molds
- Short lead times – faster production than most other processes
Functional Parts Fabricated from Aluminum Extrusions
Applications for Aluminum Extrusions
The variety of applications for aluminum extrusions are virtually unlimited. Extrusions can produce parts that range from very small to very big, and almost any quantity can be economically produced if the shape fits the extrusion process.
For more information, and examples of the types of products that can be produced, read Applications for Aluminum Extrusions.
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