Most of us have heard the term aluminium, but do you know just what aluminium can be used for, why it is being used more and more for domestic products, and who and how it is turned into something useable in the first place? Aluminium is growing in popularity owing to the many benefits this material has to offer. For example, aluminium is renowned for being stronger than steel, yet so lightweight it is the ideal material for everyday products found in the home such as kitchen foil. Aluminium for all not measured or valued as the same as gold, could in the past be seen to hold the same value, and to this day aluminium is still very much appreciated by manufacturers and product innovators all around the world because of its vast range of uses across different sectors and products.
Today’s Aluminium – The who
The aluminium we use and manufacture today can be found weaving its way into the building and construction sector, manufacturing of automobiles and the aircraft industries, as over the years with advances in technology, aluminium has been fabricated for everyday use products in the home and at work and has allowed for many more innovative products to hit the market. This all became possible of course due to Hall-Heroult – the fabrication process developed in the 1880s. Fabrication is the process where aluminium is smelted (extracted from its ore by heating and melting), a process which is electrolytic for the actual aluminium fabrication; it uses vast quantities of electricity to extract the aluminium metal from the aluminium oxide, filtering this out through a very precision engineered process.
To get the best aluminium fabrication, the method of extrusion is the most common one used. Mainly because the material doesn’t suffer from corrosion and it is lightweight, making it extremely valuable to many industries. However, those working with aluminium and certainly within the fabrications process must be aware that aluminium can also become frail if pressure is wrongfully applied. To stop this from happening the method that most professional aluminium fabricators will use is that of Extrusion, putting less pressure on the material itself throughout the process, allowing it to make it to the end and resulting in a final product ready for use.
We boast at Crucial Engineering about the benefits that aluminium can offer due to its inherent properties. For example, aluminium is:
- Free from Corrosion
- It doesn’t spark and
- It’s non-magnetic
Following on from the extrusion method, aluminium fabrication continues through various other processes in order for it to be fit a specific requirement. Such processes can include:
Aluminium is easily cut and shaped making it an ideal material for window and door frames, (now much more widely used and accepted due to its slimline frames, fewer maintenance requirements and longer life span), bike parts, parts for a whole host of different vehicle types, and construction materials including shuttering formworks. However, it is important to note that Aluminium does not act as a good heat conductor. Of course, this could have both pros and cons depending on what it is being used for, ie., the advantage of kitchen foil is that it cools down very quickly, making it perfect for use in the kitchen and cooking etc. Lightweight aluminium is often spotted on performance vehicles too, where the wheels will be made out of aluminium, making them lighter in weight, offering a better performance on the road. But and there is a but, aluminium does not work with all automobile parts and can cause problems if it is bonded directly with steel, making these particular vehicle parts not as robust or durable compared to if they were to be made out of other more suitable types of material.
Make sure you choose a professional aluminium fabricator
We’re not just saying this because this is a service Crucial Engineering offer (and offer to a very high standard might we add) but because there are challenges when handling aluminium. For example, as the metal is softer than steel, the wire used for welding aluminium is likely to suffer from damage, mainly due to the strong thermal conductivity of aluminium which can often lead to incomplete fusions, caused by deflecting the heat from the welding area. What is required is a precision fabrication and precision handling when it comes to the detail and specifications of this material, something only a professional can offer.
Helping to reduce the carbon footprint
An important factor about aluminium and its fabrication is that it is completely recycling. In fact, aluminium is 100% recyclable, and reclaimed aluminium is often reused after going through the fabrication process – saving energy costs and costs of producing this from raw materials. At Crucial Engineering, our teams are experts when it comes to aluminium fabrication. Fabricating and working with aluminium to meet exact specifications and requirements. We have the plant and the equipment to offer the most effective methods for fabrication, and we provide all of this with the highest level of customer service. To find out more about Crucial Engineering or our fabrication processes, call us on 03451 930 420.