Some unfrequently asked questions (Click on question to reveal the answer) (more…)
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Alloy Specification Sheets
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
Because it’s awesome
You can produce very intricate shapes incorporating features that aid assembly and end product function
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
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
For longitudinal fixing
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
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.
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.
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
Only really recommended over short spans and if anodised
We work with one of the premier plastics companies in the country to ensure a good seal wherever possible using an existing plastic section
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
We are developing a prototyping side which will give our customers the opportunity to have one offs made in different materials… Ask for details…