The answer to this question can be quite vast, depending on your point of view. The modern world that we live in today has an incredible appetite for aluminum extrusions and extruded products. In fact, extrusion profiles, 80 20 extrusions and aluminum frames are all sub products that are used today in many areas of manufacturing. And the common factor in all of these is that they are produced through the process of extruding aluminum. So then, what are the consumer-visible products that extruded aluminum becomes? Let’s take a look.
One of the major buyers of extruded aluminium products is the auto manufacturing industry. Companies such as GM, Ford and Toyota are some of the biggest consumers of aluminum products. The reason for this is simple. Aluminum is light weight and strong, so using it to build car parts is not only smart, it is also efficient and effective. Anodised aluminium profiles are used to build some of the special items of the cars that require specific requirements. In the US and Canada, this process has been under much improvement, to the point that one of the major producers, Signature Aluminum, has become the leader in providing this type of hard-to-manufacture pieces. Other car companies are starting to use less steel and move to aluminum in an effort to reduce the weight of their cars, which will thus improve the fuel efficiency of said cars. As the effects of global warming become more visible according to this article, the use of aluminum in car manufacturing is bound to continue to increase in order to reduce improve fuel consumption.
This should not come as a surprise, but the biggest users of aluminum structure is aircraft manufacturers. Boeing and Airbus are the largest plane manufacturers in the world and they use aluminum exclusively to build the body and wings of their airplanes because of its properties. Until a new metal is invented that can withstand the forces that planes encounter, and that is lighter than aluminum, it is expected that this trend is bound to continue and aggressively expand. Unlike other transportation methods, planes care ALOT about weight because it has a direct impact on fuel consumption, and thus on profit. Plane manufacturers spend a lot of time and money trying to reduce the weight of a plane and the first thing that accomplishes this is by using quality aluminum extrusion shapes in building their planes.
While it is important for a plane to use lightweight metal, that factor becomes incredibly more important when it comes to manufacturing spacecraft. With an airplane, the extra weight causes increased fuel use. However, with spacecraft, the extra weight can be the difference between making it out of the earth’s atmosphere or not. Recently, Space X has been innovating in the process of manufacturing and building reusable rockets. An integral part of their process has been to use light compounds and metals that will enable them to reach higher orbits with less fuel.
The choice metal of the twenty first centure is aluminum, and its for a good reason. The metal is strong, light and can be shaped through the extrusion process in many shapes, rigidity and strenght. It is used, and will continue to be use, in many factories around the world to make everything that we use on a daily basis. Consumers may not know much about the process of extruding aluminum, but just ask them about the end products like planes and cars. They will get familiar with it very quickly.