At Offshore Direct Metals, high quality aluminum in various shapes and sizes is used for extrusions purposes. The outcome is shaped metal that is fabricated or machined according to the customer’s need. Aluminum circles, which are also referred to as blanks, are just as the name implies, circle pieces of aluminum that go through the extrusion process.
The final product made from aluminum circles is then used in many different industries and for different purposes. For instance, this metal can be used in the manufacturing process for lighting equipment, aircraft, automotive, professional cookware, theaters, industrial ventilation, and much more.
The extrusion process using aluminum circles works much like a tube of toothpaste. In order to get the toothpaste through the small opening, pressure must first be applied. This forces the toothpaste out into a round shape that matches the shape of the hole. With the extrusion process, softened aluminum is squeezed through different shaped openings and then with the help of a hydraulic press, different products in a multitude of shapes are created.
The first step is to determine the shape of the final product, which dictates the exact aluminum alloy used. Along with this, a special extrusion die is used, along with appropriate tooling. To create the desired outcome, aluminum circles, as well as billets and other metals shapes can be fed through a furnace to soften it. For this, the furnace has to be at least 1,220 degrees Fahrenheit although typically extrusion operations occur once the billet reaches over 700 degrees Fahrenheit based on the exact alloy involved.
Next, a press ram applies pressure to the metal. The amount of pressure that a hydraulic press can exert ranges between 100 and 15,000 tons of pressure. As pressure is applied, the metal is crushed against the die, making it both shorter and wider to fill the container. With increased pressure, the soft yet solid aluminum is forced out through the shape, as described with the toothpaste tube.
The formed profile of aluminum is then cut and scrap metal removed for later use. Because the metal is still extremely hot after being extruded, it is sometimes quenched, as well as treated mechanically and then aged. With this, metallurgical properties coupled with physical performance are imparted.Back to Blog ...