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ALUMINUM PROFILES. MANUFACTURING, TYPES AND MORE

When we talk about aluminum profiles, it is most likely that at first you think of doors and windows. It is also normal that if you have some experience with metalwork, you think of louvers or some type of facade such as the curtain wall. All these products use special aluminum profiles and stand out in any project where they are used.

Now, returning to the subject, are those all the products where these profiles make an appearance? the answer is no. Aluminum profiles are so diverse and so important at the level of construction, engineering, architecture and even decoration, that several blog posts would be necessary to detail each type of profile that currently exists.

In this post, we are going to teach you a little more about aluminum profiles. From a historical account to its characteristics, manufacturing method, types and most common uses. So without further ado, let’s get down to business:

BRIEF HISTORY OF ALUMINUM PROFILES

The history of aluminum profiles begins with the discovery of this material at an industrial level in the 19th century. This metal, which we talk about in depth in this post, became a fundamental part of all kinds of development and products thanks to its ability to combine with other elements. This gave way to alloys, which dominated the market since they made it possible to take advantage of the physical and mechanical properties of the base metal and enhance them with other properties from elements such as zinc or manganese.

The companies, noticing the potential and the ease with which these alloys could be treated and manipulated, implemented methods for the generation of profiles with varied designs. This marked a before and after since it opened the way to a manufacturing process where not everything had to be solid. This represented greater material savings, which translated into greater economic savings.

Thus we come to the present, where it is very difficult to inhabit a house or a building and not see a product made with aluminum profiles. They are strong, resistant, with a modern and elegant appearance and with the minimum of cleaning and maintenance they last for decades. Knowing this and understanding where they come from, let’s break down the main characteristics that these profiles have in common:

CHARACTERISTICS OF ALUMINUM PROFILES

Let us now see what characterizes this type of profiling at a commercial level, from the mechanical section to the aesthetic section:

– They are resistant to impacts and tensile loads. Aluminum in its pure state lacks this type of resistance, but when alloyed with other elements it covers these deficiencies. The aluminum profiles are made of quality alloys that guarantee resistant solid sections.

Easy to machine. This feature makes them ideal for assemblies that require specific cuts at 45°, 90° or holes for the installation of special accessories.

Adaptable to any type of project. There is a wide variety of profiles that respond to specific design and engineering requirements. At a structural, ornamental or protection level, there will always be an ideal profile for the task.

Available in a wide variety of finishes. Aluminum by default has a natural protection against corrosion. The profiles take advantage of this and additionally have lacquered and anodized finishes, which are two techniques for coating aluminum that we talk about in detail in this post.

And these are just the main features. If we delve into each type of alloy in detail, we will find all the advantages that this profiles currently offers.

Now, we know how the production of aluminum profiles began and what characteristics they offer, but how are they produced? Let’s answer this question below:

METHOD FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF ALUMINUM PROFILES

There is only one definitive and widely used method for the production of aluminum profiles. This method is that of extrusion. Of course, there is also the aluminum casting process, but when we talk about profiles with a specific thickness, this technique is not the most appropriate.

Having cleared this up, let’s talk about extrusion as the most used method:

Extrusion

Extrusion is a method for generating profiles of specific cross sections that does not require extreme heating as in the case of casting. A metal or alloy, usually in the form of billets, is introduced into a special press and this is responsible for pushing the material against a die located at the exit end of the press container. This action causes the profiles to be injected with their final shape already defined.

This process is done cold and hot. In the case of aluminium, both options are viable since this metal allows deformation in a wide range of temperatures without losing its most important characteristics. The choice of the type of extrusion depends largely on the type of profile and the characteristics that are sought.

The die selected for the extrusion process defines the thickness of the profiles and the amount of material supplied continuously defines the final length. Of course, it is not possible or feasible to generate extremely long profiles, since the limitation in this case is given by the transport of the profiles.

The generated profiles have an excellent final finish and, in general, when we talk about aluminum alloys, they are subjected to heat quenching treatments to improve their mechanical and physical properties. One of the best-known alloys used in this type of profiles is the 6063-T5 aluminum alloy.

MOST USED TYPES OF ALUMINUM PROFILES

Now that we know more about aluminum profiles, it is time to break down the most commonly used commercial types today. At a structural and decorative level we have the following:

Angles

They are profiles that form an angle of 90° and have a uniform thickness. They are generally available standard and industrial and can have equal or unequal sides.

Round and square pipes

Of uniform thickness, they are profiles that come in variable diameters for the case of round tubes. Square tubes can have equal sides or one longer than the other, forming rectangular sections. Available standardized and industrial.

Profiles for doors and windows

The best known and most used profiling today. Used in the manufacture of folding and sliding doors and windows. From traditional profiles with offset fins to European profiles, the variety is great. They have finishes in various colors that provide resistance against the weather and external factors. If you want to know more about this type of products, visit our aluminum doors and windows section.

Bars, beams and plates

The bars and beams are profiles commonly used at the structural level. They are generally solid in the case of bars and with considerable thickness in the case of beams. They are made of industrial aluminum and are not always visible in a construction or project. The opposite is the case with the plates, which are decorative and are always visible.

Channels and sheets or slats

Profiles used in industrial and architectural louvers. The main characteristic is that they do not form a closed profile but instead generally have a cross-sectional U-shape in the case of the channels and a leaf or curved shape for the slats.

MOST COMMON USES OF ALUMINUM PROFILES

As we have mentioned throughout the post, there are many products where we find aluminum profiles. The most popular are: Aluminum doors and windows, louvers, curtain walls, automatic door covers, sliding doors, facades, etc. The limit when using them in a project will depend on its characteristics.

LEARN MORE IN OUR BLOG

If you want to learn more about the materials of our products, cleaning and maintenance tips, recommendations, the world of 3D modeling and rendering, and much more, don’t hesitate to visit our blog. We publish weekly content and if you want us to delve into a topic of interest (or if you want us to write an entry for your blog), do not hesitate to send us your request in our contact section.

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