How to Create High Performance Machining Equipment Using Aluminium Profiles

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  • Date:2021/06/11

Extruded aluminium profiles have many benefits over their created from solid sheet metal counterparts. The most obvious one is that extruded profiles offer a much faster method of production. They can generally be produced on a large scale without the need for the assistance of a large team of workers, as there is no requirement for an in-line production line. Also extruded aluminium profiles offer a higher tolerance to minor cracks and gaps than their metal counterparts.


Extruded aluminium profiles are made by compressing hot air into a high-density aluminum casing. As the hot air is compressed, it in turn creates a layer of gas under the top layer of the aluminium which causes the material to be rolled onto itself, thus creating the profile. These are commonly known as "hot roll forming" or "hot rolling". There are a wide range of uses for extruded aluminium profiles; however, they have recently seen an upsurge in use as an alternative to stainless steel hot rolled joints (or as a replacement to them). This is largely due to the fact that using extruded profiles allows for the same properties of a hot-rolled joint, but with a lower cost due to the fact that the raw materials need not be as expensive as stainless steel.


The most common application of extruded aluminium profiles is within the automotive industry. In terms of strength and fatigue resistance, the most notable difference between extruded aluminium profiles and their steel counterparts is in the area of stress relief. Steel typically has a lower stress relief than its aluminium counterpart, meaning that larger bolts or other bolts with thicker cross-sectional pieces can be used without worry of them bending or buckling due to stress. With their use of large cross-sections, the smaller bolts of aluminium may provide greater bolt strength than their steel counterparts. This means that the automotive industry may be able to equip vehicles with stronger bolts, which ultimately leads to a safer vehicle overall.


In terms of strength and fatigue resistance, both stainless steel and aluminium profiles meet the above ground rules. However, the amount of heat that a profile leaves on the surface of an object when it has been heated is what tends to give both materials greater fatigue properties than their aluminium counterparts. As such, both metal types should be considered when looking to purchase a material to serve as a profile or joint. Understanding the fatigue properties of both stainless steel and aluminium is therefore essential before purchasing a material.


Extruded aluminium profiles, on the other hand, are known for being less affected by extreme conditions than their sturdier steel counterparts. They are also commonly used as vibration management components within machinery due to their strength and heat insulation. In terms of the alloys that they are most commonly used in, the high carbon steels and the alloys with low carbon properties are the most popular steels used in extruded alloys due to their increased heat conductivity. Combined with their corrosive resistance, these alloys offer better corrosion resistance than their lower grade steel counterparts.


Both stainless steel and aluminium extruded profiles meet the above ground rules, but the final consideration is the cost/benefit analysis of purchasing either type of metal profile for use within an application. Stainless steel profiles tend to be more expensive and do not perform as well as those made from aluminium. The overall cost benefit to using stainless steel profiles would therefore be lost due to the higher initial outlay. The overall cost of a profile within the automotive and tooling industries would therefore be significantly reduced if the alloys sold were aluminium profiles. Machining operations and associated tooling costs would then be optimised towards the use of cheaper, higher performance alloys.


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