Uses and Applications for Aluminum Extrusions

Using extruded aluminum to manufacture your electronic enclosures allows for elegant, low maintenance designs with increased design innovation possibilities AND the added benefit of green credentials. They have many uses and applications in the electronics, automotive, mass transit, aerospace, telecommunications, solar/renewable energy industries, and more.

Extruded aluminum gets its strength from the addition of alloying elements. The most commonly used are silicon, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese and chromium. We stock Aluminum 6061-T6 and alloy 6063-T5 for the extrusion material which are alloyed with silicon and magnesium. The result is a corrosion-resistant, lightweight material that is available in medium to high-strength forms.

Impact of the Extrusion Process

Aluminum extrusion is a process for creating parts with specific cross-sectional profiles by pushing heated alloy material through a die. The shapes created can be solid, hollow or semi-hollow; and they can be simple or complex. The silicon in the 6000 series that we stock means those aluminum alloys extrude quickly and easily, which helps keep manufacturing costs down.

What is the Difference Between Extruded and Cast Aluminum?

As mentioned above, extrusion is a process by which aluminum billets are forced through a die. Whereas, casting is a process in which molten aluminum is poured into a mold and then solidifies into a desired pattern. Both have its advantages and disadvantages, but offer savings from reduced machining time.

Advantages of Extruding Aluminum

  1. A generally competitive and economical production option especially when dealing with complex cross-sections. New shapes or designs are often available with short lead times, which helps with prototyping, testing, and new product launches.
  2. Produced with an excellent surface finish (no secondary machining required) and are typically stronger in comparison to cast aluminum.
  3. Fabrication is often greatly simplified since sections can be easily assembled together via interlocking vs. welding.

Common Uses & Applications for Aluminum Extrusions

  • Strength-to-weight ratios are critical in several industries, including transportation. Aluminum extrusions are ideal for engine blocks, transmission housings, chassis of cars, boats, trucks, and railway and subway cars, as well as component parts for vehicles.
  • Aluminum conducts heat efficiently, so its commonly found in the heating and cooling devices of computers, audio/visual systems and other electronics
  • It is a naturally rust and corrosion resistant material due to the protective aluminum oxide film that bonds to it’s surface. It makes it an ideal material to use in outdoor electronic cabinets for utilities or photovoltaic systems for solar energy
  • The highly reflective characteristic of aluminum extrusions make them useful for shielding products from infrared radiation, light or radio waves.
  • Aluminum extrusions are a major element of military, aircraft and aerospace applications including: command tent structures, military vehicles and Navy ships (like the littoral combat ships), the International Space Station, aircraft and helicopters

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