The Aluminum Extruding Process

Aluminum extrusion is the process of transforming aluminum alloy(s) into a specific cross-sectional profile. Remember using the play-doh® shape maker? Just a squeeze on the handle and the doh would come out whatever shape the plastic faceplate was. Aluminum extrusion is made in a similar fashion but with the added element of high heat and high [hydraulic] pressure. Aluminum has many unique physical characteristics, which makes the extrusion process very practicable. Its malleability allows it to be easily machined or cast, while aluminum’s structural rigidity offers strength and stability. For these reasons, aluminum is used for a wide range of purposes!

extrusion_process_5When selecting an aluminum extrusion, consider the following:

  • How it will be used
  • Machining requirements
  • Surface finish and overall finish
  • Operating conditions

Uses of Aluminum Extrusion

Today, aluminum extrusions are utilized in a variety of industries including automotive, medical, food, architectural, and more. Depending on how it will be used, aluminum extrusion can be tailored for different needs. Aluminum offers high conductivity of heat and electricity, which makes it ideal for radiators and air conditioners. It also has a low weight to high strength ratio, making it perfect for aircraft, cars and railway coaches. Because aluminum is corrosion resistant, it can be used in exterior, mining and military armaments. Aluminum is also used for wiring and cables, due to its non-magnetic properties.

Machining Requirements

There is no material more suited to high speed machining than aluminum. Most alloys are typically machined with common high speed steel or carbide tooling. Cutting, drilling or milling slots, holes or pockets are easily achieved using minimal coolants and tool lubrication due to the silicon content of many aluminum alloys.

Surface finish

Surface finishing is the process of enhancing the properties of aluminum. Surface treatments can modify the surface of the metal in many ways, including hardness and abrasion resistance, alter its appearance, decorate the metal, assist the adhesion of paint, varnish and bonding adhesives, and provide further protection from corrosion while imparting a durable appearance.

Hot and Cold Extrusion

Operating conditions directly affect the life of aluminum. For instance, temperature has the largest effect on aluminum. The extrusion process can be done with the material hot or cold. Hot extrusion is done above the material’s recrystallization temperature to keep the material from work hardening and makes it easier to push the material through the die. Cold extrusion is done at room temperature, which allows for higher strength, good surface finish and fast extrusion speeds.

Framing Tech Profiles

Our profiles typically utilize the alloy 6063-T6 for the best combination of strength, machinability and high-aesthetic, clear anodized finish.

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.

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Properties and Uses of Aluminum

aluminumFrom aircraft parts to aluminum foil— aluminum has a varied of uses. Aluminum is both lightweight and durable. It’s also the third most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust. Are you intrigued yet?

Today, aluminum is the second most used metal after steel. To give you a better idea, more aluminum is produced each year than all other non-ferrous metals combined. Aluminum is most commonly used in aerospace, transportation and structural materials.

Properties of aluminum

Aluminum is found in oxides or silicates. Because of its strong affinity to oxygen, it almost never occurs naturally in metallic form. Aluminum is resistant to corrosion, which means it does not rust. It’s low in density and is non-magnetic. The strength levels of certain aluminum alloys are similar to those of structural steels. Aluminum also has excellent electrical and thermal conductivity.

Uses of aluminum

Due to its many useful properties, aluminum is used in a variety of products. For example, aluminum is often used for kitchen utensils, window frames, aircraft parts, engines, kegs, soda cans, and structural framing. It’s also is used in electrical products such as light bulbs, power and phone lines. Lastly, aluminum is used in a variety of methods including fusion and resistant welding, brazing, soldering, adhesive bonding, and mechanical methods like riveting and bolting.

Some unusual uses of aluminum

In addition to aerospace, transportation and construction, aluminum is used for some unusual reasons too! In the health industry, aluminum is commonly used as food additives, astringents, antacids, and even aspirin. The sporting goods industry uses aluminum to manufacture baseball bats, golf clubs, tents, and more. Aluminum is also used in gum and candy wrappers, soda cans and cooking foil.

At Framing Tech, we sell aluminum framing systems and extrusion profiles. We use aluminum because it’s light and long-lasting. It also offers flexibility and cost savings in engineering, fabrication and assembly. Aluminum is also ideal for machine guarding, ergonomic workstations and worktables.

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.

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T-Slot Assembly Tips and Tricks

T-slotted aluminum profiles are modular by nature. There are many types of systems available that all utilize a basic t-slot geometry to allow near infinite mounting positions of components, etc. We are always concerned not only by the engineering characteristics of a structural frame project but also by the aesthetic value it brings to our clients project. Many times, the profiles surround & define the equipment inside, so we are always looking for the cleanest presentation possible. This is why we feel the internal connection vs. the external clad-plate (boiler plate = last century) mentality is superior. The plate method also does not insure that the two joining profiles are pulled together & a gap is possible leaving the resultant assembly out-of-square. High Aesthetic: (quick-connectors face inside of assembly) Old-School: clad-plate

By nature the cross-sectional shape of the aluminum extrusions make them very strong. So why not use this strength when connecting them together? Using our quick-connector (eg. QC10V) series requires a drilled or milled pocket at each end of the profile (typically a horizontal member) & will allow placement anywhere along a perpendicular t-slot. The tightening of the QC (placed in the center bore) draws the two profiles together forming an extremely strong, vibration-proof connection. This connection is also contained within the extrusion & the [tightening] set-screw can be oriented to face internally so as not to obstruct the external t-slots which can later be covered or have a panel installed. If this rail needs to be re-positioned, it’s a simple matter to loosen & place wherever is more beneficial. Here’s how it works: Another hardware advantage with our system is a wide array of accessory hardware used to fasten components to our t-slots. The most common of these would be the t-nut. These are a post-assembly or drop-in design allowing insertion anywhere along the profile. They are very simple & fast to use, having an elliptical shoulder that locks into the t-slot & allows the multiple threads to be used with standard (10-32-5/16-18) or metric (M4-M8) fasteners. A tip when using the TN series t-nuts to bolt panels onto an extruded frame would be to pre-load the panel with the appropriate screw size & start the t-nut on 1-2 threads. Then place the panel on the frame-work ensuring all the t-nuts are in the slots & tighten. If there is a requirement for a frequently removable panel in a vertical orientation, it might be helpful to use a t-slot nut that will maintain its position in a vertical orientation. This is achieved by using one of our drop-in (DTNB), or roll-in (RN10L) t-slot nuts with either a ball-spring or leaf-spring that will allow leaving the nut in position & leave it in the slot for speed of panel re-assembly. Drop-in with ball-spring: Roll-in with leaf-spring:

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.

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Benefits of Using Aluminum vs. Steel

Construction MachineryAluminum and steel are both versatile metals that have many uses in a variety of different industries. Both metals come with their advantages and disadvantages. And many advancements have been made over the years in the production of steel and aluminum. Both metals can be melted, casted and machined into different shapes. Both can produce electricity and are recyclable. So, which metal is better? Well, that would depend on what you’re using it for.

Steel

Made of iron and other elements, steel has the advantage over aluminum when it comes to formability. Simply put, steel has more forming range than aluminum does. Steel is also much harder than aluminum, which offers increased design flexibility. Most important, steel is 100 percent recyclable, so it’s good for the environment. In fact, there is more steel recycled each year than paper, glass, aluminum, and plastic combined.

Aluminum

One-third the density of steel, aluminum is much lighter in weight. For this reason, aluminum is easier and more efficient to machine than steel. Aluminum is also ductile with a low melting point and density, which also makes it easier to machine. Moreover, aluminum is resilient in that it combines strength with flexibility and can flex under loads or spring back easily from the shock of impact. Aluminum also retains a high scrap value, which means it’s also recyclable.

Uses of Both Metals

There are many uses for both metals. For instance, steel and aluminum are used in the marine industry as they are utilized in hulls, decks and bulkheads. Plus, both metals are used in the automotive industry, the mold-making industry and the machining industry. The metals can also be used to make kitchen utensils, golf clubs, indoor and outdoor furniture, refrigerators, and toasters. From buildings to submarines and airplanes, some of the world’s most astonishing objects are made from steel and aluminum.

While both metals have excellent features, we use aluminum at Framing Tech because it’s light, strong and recyclable. No other metal can be used in so many ways across such a variety of industries, such as maritime, automotive, mold-making, and machinery. For those reasons, Framing Tech manufactures, fabricates and sells structural aluminum extrusions and framing in all shapes and sizes.

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.

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