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Aluminium Facts

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Some unfrequently asked questions (Click on question to reveal the answer) (more…)

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Alloy Specification Sheets

Alloy Specification Sheet : 1050

Alloy Specification Sheet : 5083

Alloy Specification Sheet : 5251

Alloy Specification Sheet : 5754

Alloy Specification Sheet : 6005

Alloy Specification Sheet : 6063

Alloy Specification Sheet : 6063-A

Alloy Specification Sheet : 6082

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How much are dies

Dies vary hugely dependent on size.  At the low end you can be looking at as little as £1000.00 to £1500.00

Is the die mine?

No you own exclusive rights to its use (the hole in the middle if you like).  Unlike other forms of tooling, injection mouldings die castings etc, which are portable extrusion tooling isn’t, hence only a part cost is ever paid

What about minimum quantities?

These too can vary subject to the overall size of the sections.  Smaller sections have relatively inexpensive MQ’s very large sections over 15-20 kgm significantly higher.  In reality you can have an inch or a mile, you’re going to pay a premium for a very small quantity

Can I have a sample?

Yes, there are some options here. If you need a short piece quickly, we can wire erode, 3D print or machine from solid subject to the length required.  If the sample has to come from the tooling this takes slightly longer

What about tolerances?

Extrusions aren’t known for precise tolerances.  We always welcome a General Assembly drawing as this enables us to design around fit and function.  BS EN755 part 9 are the generally quoted standard, but most companies will offer within these.

We of course have outstanding CMM equipment to ensure compliance with any drawing supplied

What about help on design?

Well we do what we can, we are design accredited, one of few and can certainly advise on the extrusion and machining aspects.  We work regularly with people involved in other processes and collaborate regularly to ensure there is no compromise to your product.  Talk to us free on on 0800 027 4756

What should I bear in mind when designing an extrusion?

Ideally go for uniform wall thickness, symmetry and rads on corners.  Other than those and depth to width ratios give us a ring as early as possible, the sooner we’re involved the better it is. Best to ring us as early as possible on 0800 027 4756

What alloy choices are there?

It isn’t so much what alloys are there, but which ones are available at a commercial price within a reasonable time scale that doesn’t carry punitive MQ’s.  6000 series are the most readily available

What about machining?

We have some of the best extrusion machining facilities in the UK up to 8000mm 5 axis, multiple machines and are about to commission a large CNC lathe.

What about finishing options?

Aluminium is receptive to a myriad of finishes all of which we can advise on and supply to.  Ask for more details

Why would we buy from you above an actual extruder?

It is your choice to buy from wherever but there are differences in the type of service on offer.  Extruders are limited to the capacity of their equipment a bit like an insurance company is as opposed to a broker.  They can be less flexible and more volume driven. Judge us on the first point of contact 0800 027 4756

Why Use Aluminium?

Because it’s awesome

You can produce very intricate shapes incorporating features that aid assembly and end product function

Awesome aluminium extrusions by INAL

Aluminium extrusions are available in a size range of 3mm CCD up to about 700mm CCD. Many features can be incorporated into the section, screw ports for fitting end plates, linear threads, fins for cooling, T slots, gasket grooves, ball and socket joints for hinging and many more

It is strong

There are certain alloys that can achieve tensile of over 85,000 PSI and aluminium can be alloyed to give a wide range from low middle to high ultimate tensile

Ideal for fabrication and machining

Aluminium machines very well particularly in certain alloy groups and forms well subject to alloy temper and geometry.  If in doubt ask

Can be toleranced to suit fit and function

Clip fits, hinge fits, slide fits etc. are common-place in aluminium extrusion design.  Whilst extrusion tolerances are quite forgiving, placing the emphasis on fit and function is the surest way to achieve the perfect fit

Can be finished in many ways

From anodising, colour anodising, architectural anodising, chemical brightening and powder coating, the available finishes are many fold

It is lightweight with a high strength to weight ratio

This makes it the chosen material of so many market sectors from aviation to cranes through to simple retail hanging rails

It is non-combustible

As well as being non-combustible it produces no dangerous emissions when heated

It is reflective and electrically conductive

By volume aluminium is over 60% more effective as a conductor than copper.  It is 80% reflective

It can be joined in many ways

It can we mechanically fixed in many ways, welded soldered brazed and bonded to name a few

It has comparatively short lead times compared with other processes

In most products the aluminium extruded part is on the shortest lead-time

It is non-toxic, non-magnetic and non-sparking

This makes it the ideal material in incendiary or explosive areas and applications where exposure to these may be prevelant

Oh and its awesome

Designing With Aluminium Extrusions

Aluminium was once described by an aspiring promotional film maker as the second most boring industry in the world, after concrete…still what did Walt Disney ever know about creativity…yes we lack the glamour of the media or premiership football even plastic injection moulding with its exotically high tooling costs and low unit price but as an industry we employ 20k people in the UK and contribute over 3 billion annually to the economy.  We make great things, and key to that is the help we can give at the design stage

Ideally what is easy for us is easy for you..so follow the simple rules; where possible, uniform wall thickness, symmetry and depth/width ratios of 3-4:1 and few voids.  You will see from some of our imagery that we regularly do ratios significantly higher than these but this can come at a cost.

The attached graphic demonstrates many of these features

Linear Threads

For longitudinal fixing

Nut slots

One of the many benefits of extrusion is its capacity to incorporate nut slots of many differing sizes ideal for captive fixing and used extensively in machine build and construction sections

Heat sink fins

One of the most tricky sections to produce, due to the high depth to width ratio, we have a long and successful history in this area as can be seen in some of our imagery.  Always ask

Rads

Simply make extrusion easier.  It isn’t possible to get sharp corners in the extrusion process so always aim for the max rad you can live with.

Castellations

These are ideal to break up the surface of an extrusion.  They can be used to conceal die lines or heat affected areas when extruding hollow sections.

Clip fits

There are many types of clip fit the best being determined by the general sectional geometry.  Tell us what you need and we will do our best to comply.  A good clip fit is very subjective and its success is driven as much if not more by fit and function as tolerancing

Ball and socket hinges

These tend to be used where access is needed to the end product, such as in a lighting application an electrical trunking profile or an electronic enclosure.  Again fit and function is the driver on these as taking into account movement over the length of the end product is key to the success of the fir

Slide fits

Only really recommended over short spans and if anodised

Dovetails

As above

Gasket grooves

We work with one of the premier plastics companies in the country to ensure a good seal wherever possible using an existing plastic section

Fir trees

Used extensively during the 80’s and 90’s in the fitted kitchen and office furniture sectors there is still a place for this type of geometry

Prototyping

We are developing a prototyping side which will give our customers the opportunity to have one offs made in different materials… Ask for details…