How Does Sheet Metal Compare to Custom Aluminum Extrusions?

Posted By: | Date: 21-03-2022

Because of its endless versatility, aluminum is used in many different forms for various applications. Custom aluminum extrusions are popular across industries due to their many favorable qualities. The metal’s durability and flexibility enable it to be melted, formed and extruded into different shapes and sizes to meet a wide range of unique demands. And while sheet metal working is an option, aluminum extrusion is the more cost-efficient and reliable method.

As trusted aluminum extrusion suppliers, Offshore Direct Metals is here to bring your product to life at an affordable price while ensuring top-notch quality. Working with reputable injection molding manufacturers from across the globe, our goal is to provide customers with long-lasting and efficient aluminum extrusions products. This blog will outline the benefits of custom aluminum extrusions and how it differs from using sheet metal.

What is an Aluminum Extrusion?

custom aluminum extrusion supplierExtruding aluminum is the process of pushing aluminum through a die to fit a specific profile, transforming the aluminum alloy into an array of products that can serve different purposes. Custom aluminum extrusions can be hollow, semi-hollow, or solid to fit a wide range of applications. 

When aluminum extrusion suppliers use custom production-ready tooling initiatives, this technique is a cost, time and labor efficient approach. It costs far less than injection mold tools and sheet metal working, while still giving you creative control over your product’s design.

What Is Sheet Metal?

Sheet metal is a metal that is formed into flat, thin pieces through an industrial process. Since it can be cut and bent to create different shapes, different products can be produced through sheet metal, including car parts, airplane wings, medical tables and more.

Six different types of metal are mainly used in sheet metal production. They are aluminum, carbon steel, alloy steel, stainless steel, galvanized steel and tool steel. Each metal offers its own set of unique perks and advantages. 

The Similarities Between Aluminum Extrusion And Sheet Metal

While aluminum extrusion involves the process of forming a product by pushing it through a custom die that matches the product’s profile, it's similar to sheet metal in that both techniques exploit the metal’s versatility by bending it to form a new object.Both techniques also use punching during the forming process, but this depends on the type of product that is being manufactured. 

What Is Sheet Metal Working?

Aluminum sheet metal can be worked through several different methods. It can come in the form of laser cutting, welding and machining. 

The downside to working aluminum sheet metal is that the methods mentioned above are both labor-intensive and costly in comparison to aluminum extrusion. Building your product through aluminum extrusion rather than through sheet metal is not only cheaper, but the risk of human error is severely reduced, as well as additional corrections that can come with sheet metal working. 

It’s also worth mentioning that when some grades of aluminum sheet metal are welded, the metal will lose its strength, compromising the integrity of your product, especially when compared to custom aluminum extrusions. 

The Benefits of Custom Aluminum Extrusion 

Aluminum is a relatively lightweight metal compared to others, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t just as strong. Custom aluminum extrusions will retain the metal’s durability, while opening up infinite customization possibilities. Aluminum extrusion gives you the ability to manufacture a small part that’s designed for a custom machine, or a large product made to serve a bigger purpose. 

Another draw to aluminum is its resistance to corrosion, which provides an extra boost of longevity for your product. Not only can your custom aluminum extrusion come in varying shapes and sizes, but you can also modify its coating and painting during the process. You can also increase your product’s strength through varying alloying elements.

Aluminum extrusion will also minimize the amount of time it takes to manufacture your product, since it can be built into the extrusion design. Extrusion design also gives you the ability to make similar products in the future using the same profile, while also giving you power to add new features to your product or modify existing ones. You can extend the scale of future products through aluminum extrusion, while still maintaining the initial function. Your extrusion product can also be easily removed if it's damaged or deteriorating. Since aluminum carries a high value, the metal is in high demand at scrap metal recycling yards. 

The Best Aluminum Extrusion Suppliers

OffShore Direct Metals has spent a significant amount of time cultivating relationships with high-quality aluminum extrusion fabricators across the globe. This has allowed us to achieve our reputation as trusted and reliable aluminum extrusion suppliers. The foundation of our business has been built on working with suppliers who are not only ISO certified, but meet the ASTM standards. We’ve built partnerships with several aluminum extrusion mills throughout Southeast Asia, with a combined annual production of over 100,000 metric tons.

Our services are elevated by the team at Offshore Direct Metals, who have extensive knowledge and expertise in the variety of products we supply. On top of that, we can also help you with your product’s design, sample, and drawings.

Contact an expert at Offshore Direct Metals now to learn how we can help bring your product to life.

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