Why Aluminum Fabricators Are Still Important Today

Posted on 08/26/2022 at 12:00 pmViewed 221 times

Metal fabrication is the industry revolving around manipulating metal into various shapes, sizes, and applications via welding, cutting, and shaping. However, no metal is more suited for this process than aluminum, thanks to how incredibly versatile and malleable it is. While most people think of steel first, here’s why aluminum fabricators are still important today and how they can best be utilized.

While all metals have their benefits, aluminum is one of the most unique materials out there—both for its incredible strength-to-weight ratio and its effective corrosion resistance. Aluminum has found itself utilized in a wide variety of industries, making custom aluminum profiles more in demand than ever. Let’s further explore the qualities of aluminum that make aluminum fabricators vital.

Easy To Work With

A major feature that sets aluminum apart from materials like steel is that it’s less dense—precisely 1/3 the density of steel—but without compromising its strength or integrity. This makes aluminum far easier to cut, bend, and shape to the desired sizes and applications. This lighter density allows aluminum to be exceptionally light and soft (for a metal), making it easier to cut with a variety of tools, such as:

  • Chisels—either by machine or by hand
  • Torching
  • Shearing
  • Sawing
  • Water Jetting
  • Plasma Jetting

This creates a great number of options for aluminum fabricators to provide a greater range of aluminum profiles efficiently and with greater quality. Each profile is precision-shaped and formed no matter what specifications and needs a client may have. This allows fabricators to give you exactly what you need every single time.

Weight-to-Strength Ratio

We’ve touched upon how lightweight yet strong aluminum is, but let's talk a little bit about how it manages to be so strong yet so light. Particularly, aluminum is both lightweight and flexible, meaning it can endure a lot easier than, say, carbon steel, which would break before flexing or bending. This flexibility is key to giving aluminum its enduring strength and makes aluminum profiles as viable, if not more so, as other metal materials for the same applications.

Furthermore, this lightweight nature has made aluminum highly preferable in a range of industries. The automobile industry relies on aluminum fabricators to ensure their cars have the strength and integrity to support itself and protect its occupants, but without adding weight that would cause the engine to work harder, therefore expending more gas. Aluminum materials are also much easier and ergonomic to transport, as a lighter load means more efficient use of fuel during transportation.

Corrosion Resistance

Much like stainless steel, aluminum boasts an incredible resistance to corrosion. Aluminum has a high affinity for oxygen; when a new aluminum surface is exposed to air or other oxidizing agents, the surface swiftly develops a thin, hard film of aluminum oxide. This aluminum oxide film protects aluminum products from corrosion like rust by repelling moisture and preventing further oxidation.

It's important to note, however, that while a material might be corrosion-resistant, that doesn’t mean it’s corrosion-proof. The benefit of this resistance is that maintenance of your aluminum products is vastly simplified and simply requires regular cleaning and general inspection for any signs of corrosion—whether that be from oxidation, stress cracking, or more.

Furthermore, you don’t want to use stainless steel and aluminum in the same application. Despite both being corrosion-resistant, mismatching metals cause a phenomenon called galvanic corrosion. Galvanic corrosion, or dissimilar metal corrosion, particularly occurs when two different metals are coupled and in electrical contact in the presence of an electrolyte.

Aluminum Finishing

Finishes are processes that add both a practical and aesthetic flair to your aluminum profiles. With the expertise and precision of aluminum fabricators, the aesthetic benefits of aluminum profiles have been used in constructing pleasing architecture and other applications to create modern and sleek designs. Moreover, metal finishes help further customize and improve the aluminum’s performance for specific applications. In contrast, many metals don’t take too well to many finishing options, with aluminum having one of the most diverse tolerances for different finishes by far, thanks to its unique composition. A few of the finishes you can get with aluminum profiles include:

  • Anodized finishes for an added oxide layer, further improving the corrosion resistance of aluminum.
  • Performance coating, such as powder coating, which improves the durability and appearance of aluminum profiles.
  • Mechanical finishes, like sanding or grinding, which create rounded edges and smoother surfaces.
  • Bright-dipped finishes that use nitric acids and phosphorous to create a mirrored look on the surface.
  • Sublimation or thermal printing that uses inks to create the same effect as wood grains, marble, granite, and more.

Taking advantage of these finishes will allow an aluminum fabricator to better tailor your profiles for your specific needs as well as create a wider range of appearances and aesthetic flourishes for you to enjoy. The practical and aesthetic benefits metal finishes can provide are equally important, and aluminum profiles are suitable for nearly any need or industry.

Environmentally Friendly

The biggest reason aluminum fabricators are still important today is because of how environmentally friendly aluminum is compared to other metals. Aluminum can be recycled over and over without compromising its integrity or qualities. Recycling aluminum is far more efficient and less energy-intensive than having to create aluminum alloys from scratch. This helps lessen the impact on the environment, which is growing ever more important as we better understand our impact on the planet. Furthermore, by helping industries like the automotive industry, we lessen the emissions created by reducing the amount of fuel necessary to transport materials or travel in general.

For high-quality aluminum profiles and fabricators who are experts in their craft, look no further than A-Line Automation. We’re well-versed in the benefits of aluminum and how it can be best utilized for any application. We’ll work with you to fabricate the ideal aluminum extrusions for you and your company’s needs, so get in contact with us today to learn more about aluminum fabrication.

Why Aluminum Fabricators Are Still Important Today

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