Metals are famous production materials. There are millions of products made from metals from auto parts to home tools. Even industry tools and aircraft parts, and so on. This big demand for metals has led to many processes. Experts have come up with many ways to process metal. That is to turn it from metal to the final product. Some of these methods are well known such as injection molding, casting, CNC process, and so on.
But for aluminum, firms use fabrication. That is a method of forming aluminum into finish goods. And being that aluminum is a widely used metal. Some say it is the most widely used metal. It is vital that we know the process of forming it. So, this article will assess the aluminum fabrication process. That is, how its workpiece becomes finished goods.
However, let’s begin by describing aluminum and its traits. Then we move on to aluminum formation. Before, we now detail the fabrication process.
What is Aluminum
There are many variants of aluminum. But it is the most widely used non-ferrous metal with a broad range of use in the market. Aluminum is soft. It is a silver-white and lightweight metal. It can often be seen as an alloy due to its lightweight. So, it is often used as an alloy.
Aluminum has a low density. It is also non-toxic, non-magnetic, and non-sparking. It is a great electric conductor. It has corrosion resistance. Aluminum is also easily formed, cast, or cut thus, making it a great production material. So, many firms and fields use aluminum. Cans, kitchenware, beer kegs, plane parts, foil, etc. They are all made from aluminum. It is also used in electric transmission lines.
Aluminum is also much cheaper than copper. It is eco-friendly, as it is recycled with ease. These are traits that make it a great production material. One is used in nearly all industries and one vital to airplane production. Now, you know what aluminum is. Also, that it can be formed with ease. So, let’s assess one of its formation processes, fabrication.
What is Aluminum Fabrication
Aluminum fabrication is the process of turning aluminum into final items. Research says that over 700,000 products are made with aluminum. How these items made and what are is the method?
The fabrication of aluminum is not a single process. Methods such as welding, stamping, drawing, extruding, etc are used. All these methods come together to form the fabrication process. So, aluminum refers to a group of processes. These methods aim to turn it into a final product.
Going further, we will discuss these processes. But first, let look at the merits of aluminum fabrication.
Pros of Aluminum Fabrication
Fabrication has many merits for aluminum. Both chemical-wise and in its physical look. But these merits are also due to aluminum’s properties. It is lightweight. It has a better strength-to-weight ratio. It is very durable. Aluminum bends with ease and is highly resistant to impact.
So, with all these, Fabrication can fully use these properties aright. It is used to create a great product with ease but with less stress and more efficiency. These are the merits of aluminum formation. A great material pairing with a top process only yields good results.
Aluminum Fabrication Techniques
Now that we know what fabrication means to aluminum, let’s discuss in detail this process of formation. As we said above, it is a group of methods. These methods join into one. Now, let’s separate them and assess each.
Aluminum could use the same process as other materials. But due to its parts, some methods work better. So, here are some ways to fabricate aluminum;
The first step we will discuss is extrusion. Extrusion is the act of driving aluminum through a die or forcing it around a die. And this die could be open or closed. This process is vital because it gives shape to aluminum. For the material is forced to the die, thus, taking the form of the die.
So, the material takes the shape and size of the die. This is how aluminum is shaped using extrusion. This process can be done in two ways. Either with the metal heated or with it cold.
This is a way to fabricate aluminum. Here, the material is pulled through a tapered die. This is done to stretch the material. This process is used to draw aluminum into cans.
There is also deep drawing. This is when the product has more depth than the width or turns out to have equal depth and width.
This is a very famous way to form aluminum. It is used often by firms around the world. It is the process of pouring materials into a die. So, the aluminum is poured into a die or mold. Here it is shaped into a final item.
This process is ideal for alloys with more strength. An alloy such as 5xxx and 4xxx. This is because they have more strength. And also have wear resistance. So, they can endure the fall into the mold. Unlike other alloys which do not have the strength to.
You can also fabricate aluminum by forming. Sounds very simple right? But it involves sub-steps. It involves bending, rolling, and stamping. These are methods under forming. And you can use these to shape alloy.
These steps are ideal because the alloy is flexible. So, it would bend with ease. Or roll with ease into a new shape. This doesn’t work for other materials that aren’t flexible.
For the 1xxx, 2xxx, 3xxx, 4xx, and 5xxx alloy variants. For this forming is ideal. You can use it for 6061 varieties. So, forming is the process of shaping alloy. This shaping occurs by pressing alloy sheets into desired shapes.
The next step is forging. Alloy can also be formed by forging. Forging is a bit more forceful than others. But still, it is a process used by many industries.
Forging refers to beating alloy into shape. Using heavy tools, you hit the alloy until it turns into the desired shape. It could also be by compressing. Where using pressure, you compress the alloy into shape.
This process is often used for durable products. For durable or long-lasting products, firms use this step. It might seem forceful, but it does the job.
A way to fabricate alloy is by machining. Machining is simply an act of sculpting alloy. You sculpt alloy into the desired shape by cutting. It makes use of machines which do the cutting.
This process is often automated. And this brings about extra efficiency. Thus, machining is famous among top firms.
But to use this step with alloy be careful. You have to consider the traits of such alloy. For alloys with some heat traits, add a lubricant. If not, the cutting could damage the material. So, you either use special tools or lubricants.
Machining also helps with aesthetics. This is because it is not a manual process.
Water Jet Cutting
This step involves the use of water to cut alloy. Funny right! How can water cut metal? Well, let us explain. So, water jet cutting is another way to shape alloy. It involves the use of water abrasives. That is, water mixed with some solid materials. You spray this water on alloy while cutting.
This process does not need heat. So, no need for lubricants. And you get to preserve the quality of the material. For lasers harm the parts of the alloy. But water jet cutting doesn’t. So, it is one to consider if aesthetics matters.
These are some steps used to form aluminum. But as you have seen, some steps are more ideal for some alloy variants. So, knowing the details of alloys helps you choose the right one. Know the traits of the alloy you’re using. And pair it with the ideal step.
In summary, aluminum is a very easy metal to form. It is one of the easiest in the market. It is also a very famous material. Found in nearly all fields. So, the rising demand for alloy makes it vital. Its traits also help with its importance. It is portable and lightweight. It is very durable and highly resistant. It has parts that help it bend with ease. It has many variants.
So, no matter what you need it for. You will find an alloy variant that works for you. And pairing alloy with the right process. This yields good results. Those are quality and durable items.
Thus, when next you want to shape alloy, use one of these steps for top results. If you want more info on aluminum and its uses, then, check out RJC, a world-class firm in metal production – a firm that has served top firms across continents. So, trust us with your metal supply. If you need advice reach out to us today!