Aluminium extrusion do’s and don’ts (checklist)

Here’s a multi-point checklist to help you get the best from your aluminium extrusion supplier. Choose wisely.

Do provide drawings and CAD files with the right technical information. If you can’t do CAD, ensure they can.

Do understand your end application and if there is a general assembly drawing it will help them understand it too; NDA’s permitting.

Do check if they can cut and machine the extrusion for you (if required) and if it’s machined do they have state of the art measuring equipment to ensure compliance

Do your homework. Get recommendations within the industry. Exercise caution when vetting suppliers via the Internet you can appear to be anything on a website. 

Do know how the extrusion is going to be used its mechanical and aesthetic requirements.

Do indicate the visible surfaces (or if none if it isn’t on display).

Don’t select more than 3-4 specialist companies to provide a response.

Don’t judge companies by the speed of their initial response.

Don’t be unrealistic when it comes to finding the balance between having it quickly, inexpensively or at a high quality. You can generally only have any two of these.

Don’t forget to advise drop dates and locations and importantly packing so logistics and handling can be factored into the project timelines.

Don’t buy only on price it always costs more in the long run.

Want more? Download our free Desperately Seeking Aluminium – Aluminium Extrusion Buyers Guide by Inal Metals here.

Creating a Pride Hommage

Creating the Pride Rainbow flag in glorious anodised aluminium a true Inal Metals Hommage to all our colleagues customers suppliers and friends in the LGBT community…Inal Metals extrusions without prejudice

Go us!

It’s great news to hear about JLR’s investment in electric vehicles…but what’s even greater is being an intrinsic part of the supply change…just off the CMM.  We are proud supporting the environmental aspect of electric vehicles and proud of our employees in producing such amazing parts, in places accurate to 1 micron!

Truly Help for Heroes

Truly Help for Heroes

Honoured to help the amazing people at Meru with an extruded foot plate for a very specialist wheelchair. 

These extraordinary people engineer small batch products that would never be commercially available helping people with challenging and complex needs.

It is our pleasure to donate the parts and share our expertise with them. We salute you.

What benefits do aluminium extrusions bring?

Design engineers today demand materials that are simultaneously light, strong and corrosion resistant.

They want materials to meet the structural, thermal, aesthetic and acoustic challenges of the 21st century.

Aluminium is an obvious choice for engineering designers with its unique properties, making it a natural partner for many applications.

Its use, in its extruded form, in a wide range of applications has grown over many years thanks to its strength, durability, corrosion resistance and lightness. Extruded aluminium offers the design engineer the optimum design flexibility. The component shown here allows elderly patients and nurses to operate tricky valves on oxygen cylinders.

Aluminium extrusion is the technique used to transform aluminium alloy, pushed through, what can be intricate and complex dies, into definitive, cross-sectional profiles for a wide range of applications.

Using removable strips to achieve complex shapes or challenging tolerances.

The extrusion process makes the most of aluminium’s unique combination of physical characteristics, specifically, malleability and ductility.

Its ductility allows it to be easily extruded while its malleability allows it to be pressed and formed into complex shapes even after extrusion.

Also, at one third the density and stiffness of steel the resulting products offer exceptional strength and stability making it a popular choice for many designers.

Aluminium extrusions can be found in a diverse range of applications

  • Low weight to high strength ratio – aeronautical, marine, railway stock, automotive.
  • High conductivity of heat and electricity – air conditioning, radiators, heatsinks, electronics.
  • Corrosion resistance – mining, architectural, marine, military, cables and wires.

Aluminium extrusion is often the most viable solution that meets the specific manufacturing needs of design flexibility, cost savings, and product performance.

Want more? Download our free Desperately Seeking Aluminium – Aluminium Extrusion Buyers Guide by Inal Metals here.

It’s an Inal Metals RECORD BREAKER!!!

At Inal Metals we’ve done thousands of dies over the years many to very tight deadlines. So tasked in the week leading up to Easter to produce a new die with machined samples within 10 working days during a period of tool maker shutdowns proved too big a challenge to decline. Fantastic performance from everyone involved and hey presto in 9 working days…job done!

Breaking news three new birds at Inal Metals

Three new birds

In recognition of our best first quarter in many a year star performer Sarah Lyon added to her impressive tattoo collection with a discreet triumvirate of our ornithological friends recently; see photo. No doubt further indicative of our phoenix like revival in recent months …Sarah we salute you!

The stretching, ageing and strengthening aluminium extrusion process

Continuing our series on deconstructing the aluminium extrusion process, this post looks at the cooling, stretching, cutting and heat treating required to produce the profiles you need.

The billet ‘butt’ that remains from extrusion creation oxides from the billet skin. The butt is sheared off and discarded while another billet is loaded and welded to a previously loaded billet and the extrusion process continues.

When the extrusion reaches a desired length, the extrusion is cut with a profile saw or a shear.

Metal is transferred (via belt or walking beams systems) from the run-out table to the cooling table.

After the aluminium has cooled and moved along the cooling table, it is then moved to the stretcher.

Stretching straightens the extrusions and performs ‘work hardening’ (molecular re-alignment which gives aluminium increased hardness and improved strength).

The next step is sawing. After extrusions have been stretched they are transferred to a saw table and cut to specific lengths. The cutting tolerance on saws is 1/8 inch or greater, depending on saw length.

After the parts have been cut, they are loaded on a transportation device and moved into age ovens.

Heat-treating or artificial aging hardens the metal by speeding the aging process in a controlled temperature environment for a set amount of time.

Want more? Download our free Desperately Seeking Aluminium – Aluminium Extrusion Buyers Guide by Inal Metals here.

Why temperature matters in the extrusion process

As an aluminium extrusion exits the press, the temperature is taken to record the exit temperature of the extrusion.

The main purpose of knowing the temperature is to maintain maximum press speeds. The target exit temperature for an extrusion is dependent upon the alloy.

Extrusions are pushed out of the die to the run-out table and the puller, which guide metals down the run-out table during extrusion.

While being pulled, the extrusion is cooled by a series of fans along the entire length of the run-out and cooling table.

Only experienced extruders understand the importance and intricacies of the heating and cooling processes required in extrusion. Only companies that do this thing day in, day out have the equipment to hand to provide both a precision and volume service.

Ensure you check that your extruder of choice has the right process and equipment in place to deliver what you need.

Want more? Download our free Desperately Seeking Aluminium – Aluminium Extrusion Buyers Guide by Inal Metals here.

International women’s day…we broke the glass ceiling

As we’re the only aluminium company top heavy with women on the board it’s only fitting that we shout out in support of International Women’s Day on Friday.  To all the great women within our supply chain our customer base and most of all here at Inal Metals…we salute you.