An Introduction to Aluminum Extrusion and Profiles
The aluminum extrusion (also known by ‘aluminum frames’) forming process is a bulk plastic deformation process. First, a billet of aluminum is preheated to a specified temperature that is still comfortably below the material melting point in order to facilitate the plastic flow of the material. The heated billet is then forced through a tooling die that is designed to shape and form the billet into the corresponding profile cross section. This industrial extrusion process is analogous to the culinary technique used to make different types of pasta; and also a technique seen to form shapes in the children’s toy, Play-Doh.

Advantages of Aluminum Extrusion:

Aluminum is a very commonly specified material for use in extrusions and shape profiles because it possesses mechanical characteristics that make it ideally suited for the shaping and forming metal from billet sections. The high malleability of aluminum means that the metal can be readily shaped into a variety of sections without expending significant energy on the tooling or forming process, and the melting point of aluminum is also generally on the order of half that of ordinary steel. Both of these facts mean that the aluminum extrusion process has a relatively low energy footprint translating into low tooling and manufacturing costs. Finally, aluminum also possesses a high strength to weight ratio, making it an excellent choice for industrial applications.

Types of Profiles

A wide variety of intricate aluminum extrusion profile types can be created at varying thicknesses. These profiles can feature a wide variety of intricate void spaces, as necessitated by the end use application. A wide range of internal voids are available in order to facilitate a wide variety of automation applications and also satisfy any performance weight requirements. The most common type of aluminum profile is the hollow beam profile which is simply a variation of the square profile. There are also other profile types such as the triangular, single radius, and L-shaped profile.