Aluminum Extrusion Profiles and T-Slot aluminum extrusion
For many years now, humans have been fabricating functional and pleasant furnishings and other structures for home and workplace out of a wide range of materials, including mud, straw, stone, wood, brick, iron, steel, and other metals. However, we have used aluminum in an increasing number of day-to-day applications only in the last hundred years. That’s mainly because a cost-effective process for extracting aluminum from bauxite ore was not perfected until about 1920.
But since then, the aluminum extrusion process has only been improving. Today, we are going to discuss one of the best aluminum extrusion profiles: T-Slot. But before jumping into this specific profile, let’s first give a brief description of aluminum extrusion profiles in general.
What are aluminum extrusion profiles, and what are they used for?
The aluminum extrusion process is a bulk plastic deformation process. The first step is heating a billet of aluminum to a specified temperature below the material melting point to emerge the plastic flow of the material. The heated billet is then forced through a tooling die designed to shape and form the billet into the corresponding cross-sectional profile. In this method, manufacturers can create many aluminum extrusion profiles.
The advantages of aluminum extrusion
Aluminum is a commonly specified material for extrusions and shape profiles because it possesses mechanical characteristics that make it ideal for forming metal from billet parts. The high malleability of aluminum means that it can be readily shaped into many forms without spending significant energy on the tooling or shaping process. The aluminum melting point is also half of ordinary steel. That means that the aluminum extrusion process has a relatively low energy footprint, manufacturing costs and tooling. Also, aluminum possesses a high strength-to-weight ratio, making it an excellent choice for industrial applications.
Different types of aluminum extrusion profiles
The aluminum extrusion process can create many profiles. However, they fall into three main categories:
- Solid – with no enclosed voids or openings (for instance, a rod, beam, or angle).
- Hollow – with one or more voids (for example, square or rectangular tube).
- Semi-hollow – with a partially enclosed void (for instance, a “C” channel with a narrow gap)
Maybe now the basics of aluminum extrusion are outspoken, so let’s dive deeper into the details of the process.
What are T-Slot aluminum extrusion profiles?
T-slot aluminum extrusion profile is a structural invention that uses an engineered cross-sectional profile that is both strong and versatile in its use. The T-slot is usually used for mounting and fastening a wide range of accessories and panels to the aluminum extrusion. Usually, panels will be inserted into the T-slot to create a wall or enclosure quickly.
With T-slot aluminum extrusion profiles, manufacturers get more value than they ever would with welded iron. Need flexibility? They’ve got it with a t-slot aluminum extrusion. Need Versatility? Extruded aluminum has that too. In this case, extruded aluminum is strong in the hot or the cold, corrosion-resistant and has everything a manufacturer needs to get a project done efficiently and quickly. Also, extruded aluminum doesn’t need to be painted or welded, unlike steel parts.
What are the T-Slot Aluminum Extrusion Profiles’ Advantages
Aluminum extrusion profiles’ advantages include strength, lightness, high flexibility, formability, and excellent corrosion resistance. Those qualities’ innate utilitarian value vastly increases when the metal is formed into a T-slot aluminum extrusion profile.
In a nutshell, the T-slot aluminum extrusion profile forms the basis of a framing system for creating three-dimensional structural assemblies made with different fabricated and extruded aluminum parts. With this system, each length of the extruded aluminum profile contains one or more T-shaped indentations, or slots, into which multiple attachments (with ends also shaped like a “T”) conveniently fit and can slide up and down as needed. That allows manufacturers to interconnect other T-slotted aluminum profiles into even the most complicated configurations without having to weld and clamp them together, as they would have to do with steel components.
Here are some other critical advantages of adopting T-slot aluminum solutions to meet your structural design needs.
Steel is indeed harder and “stronger” than aluminum. However, aluminum is among the lightest of metals used for engineering purposes. Aluminum has one-third of steel’s molecular density. That’s why it possesses a strength-to-weight ratio that is better than that of steel. Contrary to what many people might think, extruded aluminum is strong enough to handle most structural design and assembly applications.
Using steel has many inconveniences, like:
- moving and positioning heavy pieces of steel,
- the added labour cost of riveting or welding them together,
- drilling holes for mounting bolts,
- cleaning, prepping, priming, and painting the surface of the metal.
Once a manufacturer factors in all the above inconveniences, the T-slot aluminum extrusion profiles become an increasingly attractive option if they seek cost-effective solutions.
If it’s tough enough for trucks, commercial airliners, and military combat vehicles, then every manufacturer should rest assured that aluminum is strong enough for everyday purposes. One of the main reasons for this durability is its rust resistance. Rust is to iron like rot is to wood. But unlike steel, the T-Slot aluminum extrusion profiles don’t rust at all. A really small layer of oxide (that is responsible for the silvery-gray colour of anodized aluminum) forms on the aluminum surface and prevents rust from happening. So, manufacturers don’t even have to prime and paint aluminum to protect it. If any parts never rust, then a manufacturer will never have to replace them, saving themselves money and downtime in the long run.
One essential advantage to using T-slot aluminum extrusion profiles and accessories is that, unlike permanently welded iron, the system is modular by design. For instance, it is easily changeable. A manufacturer can connect, position, and fasten the aluminum profiles however they would like, using the appropriate fasteners, connectors, and desired accessories. Later on, as needed, they can adjust and rearrange them in any configuration they want. The most usual type of aluminum fastener used to fasten parts together is the T-nut: drop it into the T-slot and then twist it into a locked position. That is so much easier than welding.
T-slot aluminum extrusion is a structural fabrication material that utilizes an engineered cross-sectional profile that is both strong and versatile in its use.
Due to excellent recycling practices, most of the aluminum ever produced is still in use today. Aluminum is 100% recyclable, and of the most common materials, recycled aluminum is the ONLY material that is infinitely recyclable. It is also much lighter than glass and steel per cubic inch and has a much smaller carbon footprint during fabrication, processing, and shipping.
So, one of the best aluminum extrusion profiles a manufacturer can use is the T-slot profile. That will increase their productivity and reduce costs. This method, combined with suitable machines and tooling, can optimize the production process and scale up a manufacturing company. Contact us for suitable machines and tooling.