Pros and Cons of the Process

Page 1: Historical Overview
Page 2: Latest Process Developments
Page 3: The Process in China
Page 4: Pros and Cons of the Process
Page 5: Types of Products Made

The pros and cons of any metalworking process, including that of aluminum extrusion, focuses on the range of materials that can be used in the process, the tooling cost of the process, the amount of material used to produce one product/article, the amount of products required from the process and finally the cost per unit of operating the process.

The pros of aluminium extrusion include:

  1. Surface Finish
    Aluminum extrusions have an excellent surface finish, needing little to no downstream finishing, unless it is required for aesthetic or functional reasons.
  2. Dimensional Tolerance
    Giving suitable attention to the die design, a tight dimensional tolerance is delivered by the process. Multiple products with small cross section areas can also be produced by a single die.
  3. Complexity
    Complex and intricate shapes can be produced that are more difficult to produce using other processes, though these products may need to be machined from aluminum extrusions in a secondary operation.
  4. Material Waste
    The process delivers low material waste, which plays a big role when it comes to using high cost aluminium. Components that have large cavities can be more cost effectively produced when compared to machining, where this ‘cavity material’ would have gone to waste.
  5. Design Flexibility
    The process offers high levels of design flexibility.
  6. Long, straight components
    Aluminium extrusions can be used in order to produce straight, long components – something that is difficult to accomplish using other processes. Extruded aluminium channels are a typical example.
  7. An established process
    The extrusion process is a well established process, with wide ranging, long held experience in China
  8. Post extrusion services
    Most Chinese manufacturers are able to offer a range of post extrusion finishing operations, or have access to associates they work with on a regular basis.

The benefits of the process focusses on the use aluminum extrusions into a number of areas. These areas include those where precision and finish are difficult to achieve, and where the design requirements are difficult to achieve using any other process.

In the more high tech sectors, these benefits enables the production of products that would have been difficult or impossible using any other process.

The cons of aluminum extrusion include:

  1. The Die
    An individual die is needed for each extrusion type and the cost of making these die can be high.
  2. Limitations
    There are limits to what the process can achieve. Not everything that can be designed, can be made. This dictates that a close operation between the designer and manufacturer is needed in order to develop the die form. In saying this, many manufacturers are able to minimise the iterations through both experience the use of die design tools.
  3. Costs
    The process itself does have a high tooling and die generation cost, but a well designed die is able to last over a long period of time when coupled with suitable maintenance.
  4. Output
    The output of the process is limited to that of the billet size (or the size of the billet chamber).

The aluminium process itself does show that the pros will outweigh the cons by becoming a well used and tested process able to deliver cost effective products for a wide range of applications in different industries.

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