Why Use Extruded Aluminum?

by PSI Extrusions

The aluminum extrusion process, which involves forcing hot aluminum through a precision die to create a length of constant cross-section, marries the inherent advantages of aluminum to the precision and high volume capacity of the extrusion process. Aluminum extrusions are ideal for a wide range of uses, which can be seen in industries from aerospace to advertising. Read on to learn some of the specific advantages of using aluminum extrusions.

Aluminum is one of the most versatile materials on the planet.

The natural choice for a wide variety of applications, aluminum possesses a unique combination of desirable properties. Here are just a few:

High strength-to-weight ratio
Strong and lightweight at the same time, aluminum is ideal for parts and products that depend on a low total weight.

Low cost
Because it is one of the most abundant metals on Earth, aluminum is among the least expensive metals from which to choose.

Corrosion resistance
Naturally protected from corrosion by a transparent oxide film, aluminum’s corrosion resistance can be enhanced further by chemical or electrochemical means.

Excellent joining, forming, and machining
Aluminum alloys can be welded, brazed, soldered, glued, or joined with rivets or bolts. They are easily formed or bent, and can be machined on standard equipment at high speeds.

High electrical conductivity
Based on weight, aluminum carries twice the current of copper, which costs considerably more.

Good thermal properties
Aluminum’s excellent heat conductivity makes it an ideal choice for heat-dissipating devices. Its high reflectivity makes it a good choice for heat shields as well.

The extrusion process is both economical and versatile.

Often the most economical way to make parts with a constant cross section, the extrusion process takes the advantages inherent in aluminum and expands upon them.

Compared with machining, extruding is often much more economical. Unlike machining, where the cost of producing each piece is additive, extrusion can reproduce a shape indefinitely with no additional preparation costs.

Extruding is almost always less expensive than fabricating shapes by welding. Sometimes the cost of a welding jig is significantly higher than an extrusion die for the same shape.

Extrusion dies cost much less than roll-forming dies. And unlike roll forming, extrusions allow a variance in
wall thickness.

Parts made with sand and permanent-mold casting often require extensive finishing before use. Aluminum extruding produces a wrought structure with relatively close dimensional control. Also, as parts get more complex, casting mold costs rise far more rapidly than extrusion dies. Generally, extrusion dies are rather inexpensive. Further, extrusion dies can be finished with less lead time than forming dies and casting molds.