Extrusion Design Guide The whole manufacturing and production process starts with the design.

It is here that the extrusion takes shape and features are built in to reduce weight, simplify assembly, add functionality and minimise finishing costs. Here we take advantage of the unique benefits of aluminium, in combination with the extrusion process, to make a cost-effective product with optimal functionality and an attractive appearance. Extrusion design tips - Jump to: • Wall thickness - guidelines • Uniform wall thickness • Exceptions • Soft lines • Solid profiles if possible • Fewer cavities in hollow profiles • Profiles with deep channels • Heat sinks • Decorate Wall thickness When deciding how thick the walls of a profile should be, strength and optimum costefficiency are two of the main considerations. Profiles with a uniform wall thickness are the simplest to produce. However, where necessary, wall thickness within a profile can easily be varied. For example, a profile’s bending strength can be increased by concentrating weight/thickness away from the centre of gravity. Cost-efficient production To optimise cost-efficiency, a profile’s design should always be as production-friendly as possible. To achieve this, the profile should: – have a uniform wall thickness – have simple, soft lines and radiused corners – be symmetrical – have a small circumscribing circle – not have deep, narrow channels Recommended wall thickness - guidelines Amongst the factors having an effect on wall thickness are extrusion force and speed, the choice of alloy, the shape of the profile, desired surface finish and tolerance specifications.

Uniform wall thickness It is often acceptable to have a large range of wall thicknesses within a single profile. However, a profile with uniform wall thickness is easier to extrude (below right).

In the drawing below you can see in the left hand profile that the internal and external walls have different dimensions. It is an advantage if the internal and external walls are of the same thickness (below right). This decreases die stress and improves productivity.

Exceptions It is of course perfectly acceptable for a profile to have walls of different thicknesses. For example, for strength reasons, it may be best to concentrate weight/thickness away from the centre of gravity.

Soft lines The extrusion process cannot achieve razor-sharp corners without additional fabrication. Corners should be rounded. A radius of 0.5 - 1mm is often sufficient.

A design may demand sharp internal angles, e.g. a profile to enclose a box shape. This is easily solved by incorporating a hollow moulding.

. Solid profiles if possible Solid profiles reduce die costs and are often easier to produce. The tip can easily become wavy and uneven. Following extrusion. This gives rise to a visible structural unevenness that is particularly marked after anodising. a profile with large variations in wall thickness cools unevenly. Tips should therefore also be rounded. Always use soft lines.As far as possible sharp tips should be avoided.

the product is considerably easier to produce.Fewer cavities in hollow profiles This hollow profile is extremely complex to produce. By replacing the hollow profile above with two telescoping profiles. .

reducing the number of cavities in a hollow profile makes it easier to extrude. This increases die stability. .Is it essential for this profile to have two cavities? In many cases. Profiles with deep channels For profiles with pockets or channels. there is a basic rule that the width to height ratio should be approximately 1:3. This ensures that the strength of the die is not jeopardised.

Redesigning the holder on the left gives a more extrusion-friendly profile and improved functionality. the ratio can be increased to 1:4. or where a profile’s design is complex. a holder has to enclose a slide.By using large radii at the opening of the channel. NB! Where channel width is under 2 mm. permissible channel depth must be determined on a case-by-case basis. . It may be possible to increase radii and opening dimensions without compromising functionality. Here. and a full radius at the bottom.

The solution below shows a narrow. .A profile cab be extruded "open" and then rolled into shape. deep channel and an extrusion-friendly profile.

This can be further increased by giving the fins a wavy surface. Heat sinks The use of cooling fins on profiles greatly increases the heat dissipating area. it is better to leave the fins smooth. The step is removed during rolling. An undulating surface increases the heat dissipation area of fins. as shown in the close up image below. This helps to avoid the problem of eddy formation. . Where there is forced air-cooling longitudinally along the profile.Reduced channel depth using a step.

The profile below exemplifies technical development. Decorate Decoration has several advantages: – Design – Masking of imperfections – Protection against damage during handling and machining. . A large profile with deep channels – yet tight tolerances are respected and there is a high quality surface finish.

Masking of imperfections Where a profile has. arms and screw ports. there may be process induced shadowing (heat zones) opposite such features.A decorative pattern can make a plain aluminium surface more attractive. There are endless possibilities for creating unique designs. Using decoration the heat zones can be completely masked. The consistent use of a pattern on all a product’s component profiles can help make it uniquely identifiable. . for example. A joint can be elegantly hidden by making it part of a fluted design.

which corresponds to the desired cross section of the profile. There are two main classes of profile – solid and hollow: Solid profiles are produced using a flat. disc-shaped die. Die design A die is the tool shape that the aluminium is pushed through to create the profile. Dies are made of tool steel (normally sis 2242). The die aperature. is produced by spark erosion.Protection against damage Well designed decoration can also protect profiles from handling and machining damage. .

the metal separates around the bridge. the mandrel (the part that shapes the cavity in the profile). . is supported on a bridge.Dies for solid profiles Hollow profiles are produced using a two-part die. The other part of the die shapes the outer contour of the profile. During extrusion. Die lifetime depends on the shape and desired surface quality of the profile. In hollow dies. Smaller profiles can be advantageously pressed through multi-apertured dies – there may be as many as 16 apertures. Large and medium-sized profiles are pressed through a die with only one aperture.

There is a long-established international system for identifying aluminium alloys (see the table below). The first digit in the four-digit alloy code identifies the major alloying element. Aluminium alloys Pure aluminium is relatively soft. the metal can be alloyed and/or cold worked. Most of the aluminium reaching the marketplace has been alloyed with at least one other element. Alloying element None (pure aluminium) Copper Manganese Silicon Magnesium Magnesium + silicon Zinc Alloy code 1000 series 2000 series 3000 series 4000 series 5000 series 6000 series 7000 series Alloy type Not hardenable Hardenable Not hardenable Not hardenable Not hardenable Hardenable Hardenable . The table below gives the broad outline of the systems. The European standard uses the same codes. To overcome this.Hollow profile extrusion uses a mandrel to produce the cavity Please read more in the Extrusion Design Guide. this will provide you with useful advice when starting a new extrusion design project.

These alloys are often chosen in products where high thermal and electrical conductivity are desired.Al 6000 series . which takes a few hours. corrosion resistance. The 6000 and 7000 series are heat treatable. Amongst the factors affecting the choice of the right alloy for an extruded product are: – Strength. suitability for machining and forming. zinc and magnesium are responsible for the hardening effect. 'Precipitation' hardening (ageing). can have a negative effect on toughness and finish (amongst other things) if present in high quantities. 'Solution' heat treatment is carried out during extrusion by carefully controlling the temperature of the emerging profile. weldability and production costs. They have low strength.Al + Zn + Mg The 1000 series is non heat treatable. which is found in all commercial aluminium. Some alloys use manganese. As cold working is the only way to increase the strength of the alloys that cannot be hardened. zirconium or chrome to increase toughness. which has silicon and magnesium as the alloying elements. is by far the most widely used in extrusion. They are the most commonly used extrusion . most of these go for rolling. suitability for decorative anodising. Iron.Al + Mg + Si 7000 series . on the other hand. hardenable alloys are the most commonly used. occurs in special furnaces after the extrusion process. In extrusion. In a 7021 alloy. The 6000 series.Alloys for extrusion Aluminium for extrusion is mostly alloys with the following serial numbers: 1000 series . finish. Aluminium alloys . Two hardening methods are used on alloys in the extrusion process.Other 8000 series The 6000 series is by far the most widely used alloy in aluminium extrusion.

The 6082 alloy has high strength and is suitable for extrusion of cross-sections that are not too complicated. even in marine environments. handrails and furniture. The material is suitable for anodising for protective purposes. especially if the cross-section is complicated. bicycle frames and high speed boats. Their corrosion resistance and formability are. however. Typical applications are automotive parts. not as good as those in the 6000 series. The 6101 alloy offers virtually the same production possibilities as 6060. both for decorative and protective purposes. are easy to weld and offer good resistance to corrosion. The alloy is susceptible to stress corrosion in areas with high stresses. They are used for load bearing constructions both on land and at sea. Cr or Mn this can be improved. The 6000 series has good extrudability and can be solution heat treated at the extrusion temperature. scaffolds and handrails. It is suitable for anodising for protective purposes but the quality of the surface makes decorative finishing more difficult. offshore. . Typical applications are structures for building and transport applications where high strength is required. lighting. The bulk of the extruded material for load bearing constructions is made from these qualities. Applications are for the most part the same as for 6060. It is especially suitable for electrical applications where fairly high strength is required. transport. Typical applications are extrusions for windows and doors. The resistance to stress corrosion is slightly increased with overageing. The material is suitable for anodising for protective purposes. It has good formability during bending in the T4 condition. awnings. bridges. aircraft containers. This material is well suited for anodising. The 7108 alloy has high strength and good fatigue strength. This alloy is the most used extrusion alloy.alloys and have a wide range of applications. these alloys have medium to high strength. stairs. The 6005A alloy has higher strength than 6063 but is slightly harder to extrude. But by adding small amounts of Zr. The 7000 series has the highest strength of the most used construction alloys. and building industries such as platforms. but is also marginally more difficult to extrude. Furthermore. The 6063 alloy has slightly higher strength than 6060. but has a limited extrudability and formability. Welding should only be carried out in areas where the loading is lower. Typical applications are load carrying structures in the ship. They have good weldability and obtain lower reduction of strength in heat affected zones than the 6000 series. The 6060 alloy offers medium strength and is easy to extrude even for complicated crosssections. This material is highly suitable for anodising. both for decorative and protective reasons.

lower strength is achieved but in return the alloy becomes tougher and in certain cases . shear and fatigue strength vary in proportion to the tensile strength. Temperature . especially if the material has been thermally hardened or cold worked. it can be assumed as a starting point that properties such as tension. As the temperature decreases. If the designer is unfamiliar with the exact temperature characteristics for a given alloy. extended heating. With. for example. Alloy Summary Special material properties can be achieved with special thermal hardening. In fact aluminium alloys increase in strength and ductility whilst impact strength remain unchanged. 6063. below 0°C. 6005A and 6082 alloys should not be used in structures at temperatures above 100°C. The tensile strength decreases as the temperature increases while elongation on fracturing usually increase. Alloys can therefore be made up with the focus on optimal function adaptation and the ability to produce them. ie thermal hardening longer than the optimal hardening time. Low Temperature Properties In contrast to steel. temperature and time. the yield strength and tensile strength of aluminium alloys increase. This process takes place continuously and today there are a number of variants of the alloy types above that have been adapted to suit specific conditions. aluminium alloys do not become brittle at low temperatures.The magnesium and silicon contents of various 6000 alloys can overlap in certain cases (see diagram above). It should be noted that the characteristics are dependent of alloy.Mechanical Properties Care should be taken when using aluminium at high temperatures. Mechanical properties could significantly be reduced at temperatures above 100°C. In general the 6060.

It is not just in new product design where aluminium extrusions are leading the way. Clip-fits. to make a cost-effective product with optimal functionality and an attractive appearance. simplified assembly and improved supply chain logistics. Extrusion Process The whole manufacturing and production process starts with the design. improved thermal conductivity and reduced risk for corrosion for the housings. there is a whole range of suitable finishing processes from polishing and brushing through to anodising and painting. reduced finishing. quick turnaround and the ability to produce a range of different length components from stock lengths can transform the supply chain. The anodising process offers unique benefits in terms of protection with almost no impact on the components eventual recyclability. This not only revolutionised the production process but also resulted in increased strength.Solution heat treated. It can be that the low cost tooling. screw-ports and circuit-board location grooves are just a few ways of reducing components and simplifying assembly at no additional cost. if additional corrosion resistance or aesthetics are important. in combination with the extrusion process. add functionality and minimise finishing costs. new designs can now go from the drawing board to production in 4 to 6 weeks at only a fraction of the tooling costs. substitution of other materials and processes by aluminium extrusions can result in major cost savings through fewer components. Aluminium’s excellent corrosion resistance means that often no finishing is required.Extruded and air cooled O . Condition: F . artificially aged Aluminium Extrusion [Below you will find information relating to typical extrusion manufacturing plants. for 1-5 hours T4 . for 5-10 days T6 . Here we take advantage of the unique benefits of aluminium. annealed at 350-500°C.has greater resistance to corrosion. Read more about the extrusion process >> . In existing products. It is here that the extrusion takes shape and features are built in to reduce weight. please visit Sapa RC Profiles Belgium] The aluminium extrusion process provides virtually unlimited opportunities to the product designer with the added benefit of low tooling costs and short lead times. simplify assembly. For more information on the extremes of profile manufacture.Solution heat treated and naturally aged at 20°C. However. A leading supplier of electric motors shifted his production from aluminium castings. Sapa RC Profiles in Belgium have specialties outside the general range usually available.Softened. Different length motor housings can be produced from stock lengths.

Indirect Extrusion In the traditional direct method of extrusion. The approximate temperature drop during the transverse of the quench box 250ºC. or solution heat treatment. The section is then taken and cut to ordered lengths on high speed tungsten carbide tipped saws. the section is sheared at the press end and lifted from the slatted table by eccentric pivoted arms.Direct Extrusion The direct extrusion process can be clearly seen in the schematic diagram below. In the case of the T5 temper. as described above. In the indirect method. If the material is required in the solution heat treated condition (T4) it is released at this stage. water spray or forced-draught air. There can be variation to this basic concept. After extrusion the section is guided down the table by a puller on to a slatted moving belt. On completion of an extruded length. it is given a precipitation treatment before release. If the full strength aged material (T6) is required. the ram carries the die and applies pressure on to the stationary billet. but in every case the billet remains stationary in relation to the container. there is limited cooling at the press exit and the material goes directly to precipitation treatment. This can be by water bath. takes place in the production line. It is then transferred by a walking beam or multi-belt transfer table to the stretcher bay where it is given a controlled stretch to straighten and remove minor missalignments. To avoid distortion care has to be exercised in handling sections with extreme aspect ratios and large cariations in thickness. Modern Pullers are based on linear motor systems and operate on tables up to 40 metres long. with the latter being particularly useful for thin section. The die is supported by a series of back dies and bolsters so that the main press load is transferred to a front platen. there by keeping friction loss to a bare minimum. the die is stationary and the press ram applies pressure on to the billet. . Cylindrical aluminium alloy billets of cast or extruded manufacture are heated to between 450º and 500º before being loaded into a container and the billet squeezed through a die orifce using ram pressures of up to 680MPa. On leaving the die the temperature of the section is more than 500ºC and with heat treatable alloys the quenching. in the opposite direction of extrusion.

This imposes certain size restrictions and is often expressed in terms of the diameter of the circumscribing circle. round bar Hollow extrusions with cavities – e. (DCC). Below are the measurement limits within which most extrusion plants can supply aluminium extrusions based on the DCC. Solid extrusions without cavities – e. round tube Nearly. Application fields of these tiny profiles : car luggage covers. sunroof and . The smallest aluminium profiles have a minimum circumscribed circle of 5 mm and a minimum weight of 30 gr/m. This is a measure of the extrusion’s overall size in cross-section and has a bearing on the material thickness and tolerances. (aluminium billet) that is pushed through the centre of a cylindrical container.There are basically two main types of extruded shapes or profiles.g. commercial extrusion plants use a cylindrical feedstock. if not all.g.

Aluminium Surface Treatment Even before surface treatment. automotive trims. Load-bearing structures and machine parts are examples of products where the surface quality is satisfactory without any treatment. Such patterns or optical effects are an integral part of the profile solution created at the design stage. surface treatment is rarely necessary simply to provide corrosion protection.decorate. road signs. Refer also to Extrusion design guide . energy transmission. yachts. sawing benches. ships. renewable energy. Application fields of these large profiles : building constructions. interior furniture. shower cabins. boat masts. trains. Thanks to good corrosion resistance. There are few extrusion specialists for these large profiles : one of them is Sapa RC Profiles in Belgium. … Profiles in the larger shape range can sometimes be designed and extruded in thin wall thicknesses. heat exchangers. … There are few extrusion specialists for these tiny profiles : one of them is Sapa in La Selva (Spain) Large profiles have a diameter of 320 mm. there are many other reasons for treating the surfaces of profiles. machines. metro. the appearance and surface quality of extruded aluminium profiles is perfectly satisfactory for many applications.sunshade guides. . 620x50 mm or 300 x 300 mm and a weight of 65 kg/m. containers. Jump to: • Profile design • Mechanical surface treatment • Anodising • Painting • Powder coating • Screen printing • Function specific surfaces Profile design Lines and extrusion stripes that would be noticeable on visible surfaces can easily be hidden using decoration. However. Examples of attributes that can be changed by surface treatment include: – surface structure – colour – corrosion resistance – hardness – wear resistance – reflectivity – electrical insulation Surfaces do not always need treatment after extrusion.

Grinding before painting can further improve the surface finish. Grinding is most commonly used for furnishing and interior design products. Determined by the polishing medium used in the drum. The resultant surface can be “very fine”. Polishing Polishing smoothes the surface. The process leaves a fine striation in the direction of grinding. polishing is followed by bright anodising.Mechanical surface treatment Grinding Grinding is one of the methods used for improving surface quality. surfaces range all the way from matt to gloss. To achieve a high-gloss finish. “medium” or “coarse”. Polished surfaces normally go on to be anodised. . Tumbling (barrel polishing) Tumbling is mainly used for deburring. Ground surfaces are often anodised. Quality and gloss are determined by customer specifications.

– give surfaces an electrically insulating coating. abrasion-resistant surfaces for use in machine parts. colouring (where required) and sealing. – create function-specific surfaces. – create a “touch-friendly” surface. The profile is connected to a direct current source and becomes the anode (hence anodising). etc. An . – enhance corrosion resistance. one of the most common surface treatments. – provide a base for the application of adhesives or printing inks. Recommended layer thickness when anodising The anodising process There are normally four stages in the process: pre-treatment. – create a dirt repellent surface that satisfies stringent hygiene requirements. – create a decorative surface with durable colour and gloss. slip surfaces. is used to (amongst other things): – maintain a product’s “as-new” appearance.Anodising Anodising. for example. The electrolytic process takes place once the metal surface has received the appropriate mechanical or chemical pre-treatment and has been thoroughly cleaned. anodising. The most frequent type of anodising is natural anodising.

As the anodic oxide layer has poor cold formability. To obtain an impermeable surface. Visible surfaces can be protected using tape. With the proviso that the surface is cleaned. Recommendations for suitable thicknesses are given in the table above. especially where pH is between 4 and 9. strong alkaline solutions should be avoided. 1011/cm2 (i. Natural anodised profiles are delivered with matt or semi-matt surfaces. Coloured oxide layers are also possible (see pages 108 and 109). The oxide layer is transparent. surfaces can stain and be damaged. the pores have to be sealed. Properties of anodised aluminium Corrosion resistance is very good. Whether natural or . Cutting and drilling can be carried out after anodising but the exposed surfaces will. Resistance to corrosion. Maintenance . The diameter of the pores is between 120 and 330 Å. The surface cleans easily in both water with a little neutral detergent and in white spirits. The hardness of the oxide layer depends on the anodising process used. on building sites). cement and gypsum (e. This changes the aluminium oxide into bohemite. Generally. be untreated. around a hundred billion). The oxide layer formed in natural anodising is transparent. Welding is to be carried out before anodising. Dilute sulphuric acid at room temperature is normally used as the electrolyte. anodised profiles are virtually maintenance-free.g.electrolytic cell is formed. forming should take place before anodising. the surface of the metal is oxidised. the layer is harder than glass and as hard as corundum. During electrolysis. Although solvents do not affect aluminium. Thus.cleaning The anodic oxide layer has good corrosion resistance in most environments. it has to be borne in mind that aluminium should be protected against lime. In contact with strongly alkaline substances. The process continues until the desired layer thickness (usually 5 – 25 μm) is reached. the attendant increase in volume closing the pores. approx.e. of course. discoloration and abrasion increases with layer thickness. Sealing is achieved by treating the surface in de-ionised water at 95 – 98°C. Sealing The oxide layer contains a large number of pores.

Powder coating is now easily the most widespread method of painting aluminium profiles. its appearance depends on the viewing angle. The gloss value is 90 units (ISO 7599. It has undergone extensive testing. This decreases slightly with anodising. this may be an undesirable effect. Pre-treatment normally comprises degreasing and pickling of the surface. An anodised profile can be recycled with no pre-treatment. The chrome-free titanium based process is GSB approved and is now our standard method. This gives a good work environment and has no negative impact on the external environment. A sealed. Powder coating Broadly speaking. The reflectivity of bright etched aluminium is high. Pre-treatment is the same for both powder coating and wet painting. it is important that pre-treatment. At temperatures above 100°C. 15 μm oxide layer has a breakdown voltage of 500 – 600 V. pre-treatment is of crucial importance. From an aesthetic point of view. In a wet coating plant. there are absolutely no limits to the choice of colour.coloured. paint application and subsequent curing are all carried out correctly. To ensure the right adhesion for the paint. Painting Painting offers a limitless choice of colours and very good colour matching (repeatability). The sludge is drawn off and sent away for appropriate disposal. followed by a chemical treatment. Before remelting. Powder coatings are applied and cured without solvents. The oxide layer is an electrical insulator. 60° viewing angle). As maximum adhesion and durability are prime goals. half the paint is lost through evaporation and the waste involved in over- . fine cracks form in the oxide layer. painted profiles must first have the paint removed. Rinse water from the chromating process is treated in efficient cleaning plants. The chemical treatment (chrome-free or chrome-based) gives good adhesion and effective corrosion resistance.

The original design is reproduced on a transparent film that is then placed on a fine-meshed screen (usually nylon nowadays). Either manually or automatically. After printing. – Powder coatings withstand knocks and abrasion far better than wet paint coatings. Coating thickness is normally 60 – 140 μm. can be formed after coating). In some designs. Tampon printing Tampon printing is a technique that makes it possible to use screen printing on both concave and convex surfaces.spraying. The profile areas that are not to be printed are then coated with a special masking ink. a profile’s surfaces can combine natural anodising and colouring.g. – Good formability (e. – Suitable for outdoor use – good resistance to UV and corrosion. a squeegee is dragged along the screen to transfer the design onto the printing surface. the thickness of the coating has to be taken into consideration when determining profile dimensions and tolerances. The screen is next fitted into a frame. Powder that does not adhere to the product is recirculated via a reclamation system. – High repeatability. Screen printing Screen printing (formerly silk-screen printing) is an ancient printing method. up to 98% of the powder is used. Anodising is interrupted when the oxide layer has formed. This is then exposed and developed photographically. Natural and colour anodising on the same profile Using screen printing. In a modern powder coating plant. Unanodised surfaces on anodised profiles . the profile is sealed in the normal way. Powder coating qualities The prime qualities of powder coating and powder coats are: – No risk of running or blistering.

tubes can be delivered where the insides have Ra values as low as 0. Abrasion resistant surfaces These surfaces have to be anodised.6 axially and 1. Function specific surfaces A function-specific surface is defined as one where certain function-related properties are of critical importance. the Ra values. be further improved by machining. Cylinder tubes are an example. axially and radially) is of the utmost importance. Direct from the press. the surface roughness (i. friction and sealing surfaces Here.2 radially. . Slip. The Ra values can. of course.A masking technique is also used when parts of a profile are to emerge unanodised from the anodising process. This preserves the surface’s electrical and thermal conductivity (the anodic oxide layer is insulating).e.

Jump to: Sawing Deburring Milling Drilling Turning Tapping (threading) Shearing (pressing/punching) Insulation (thermal break) Plastic forming (bending/stretching) Hydroforming Sawing Higher sawing speeds can be achieved with aluminium than with steel.Four height adjustable legs made from telescoping aluminium profiles – slip surfaces direct from the press (no machining). can be designed in to the extrusion process of aluminium. Aluminium is also extensively adaptable to fabrication and machining processes. The product: Control cabinet lift columns from MPI. offer even greater labour cost savings. Many additional fabrication processes that would have to be carried out on other materials. You can read about these in the extrusion design guide section. For all other fabrication processes there are some guide lines below. Generally tooling costs are lower than with many other metals and the high speed at which certain processes can be completed.Machining Aluminium not only offers many advantages due to it's material properties. The majority of aluminium alloys allow far greater sawing speeds and in most cases the method is an economic and very . Fabrication .

a high cutting speed is required for a good result. As with other sawing. The appearance of the cut. the number of revolutions per minute. several teeth should always cut in the material and cutting lubricant should always be used. Milling Milling machines for fabrication of aluminium have larger teeth pitches than equivalent tools for steel and therefore a more spacious groove for chips. The most common method is mechanical using a brush or a grinding machine. The number of teeth should be sufficiently large to give a clean cut effectively. the diameter of the blade and the feed.advantageous solution. . where fragments are removed by friction using circulating stones. When sawing thin extrusions. is a suitable method for deburring smaller and medium large parts. Abrasive tumbling. the alloy used and the extrusion’s strength determine the size of the teeth. Aluminium extrusions can be sawn accurately without the formation of burrs. Deburring Deburring is a process for removing small chips and any remaining burrs on the extrusion cut. the number of teeth.

slab milling cutter. shank-end mill. they should be sharpened so as to reduce the pressure required and obtain a better result. The milling teeth should move in the line of feed (down-feed milling) when milling peripherally (i. especially . Drilling As with most machining.e.A high quality surface demands high power and stability in the tool and feed mechanism. Special bits for aluminium are only required for deep holes or soft alloys. When using standard bits. There is a difference between end and peripheral milling machines depending on where the surface to be milled is situated in relation to the milling spindle’s central line. side-milling cutter or spindle moulding cutter). drilling should be carried out at a high speed. 2/3 of the surface should be moved against and 1/3 with the cutting direction during milling. The milling diameter should be at least 20% larger than the width of the surface being treated when surface milling with an end mill. It is important to note that the hole will be considerably larger than the bit diameter when drilling in aluminium.

Internal threads can either be made with taps in series or with a single tap. special and automatic lathes and should be carried out at high speeds of rotation. Parts to be turned should therefore be fitted securely to avoid vibration. A considerable amount of heat is generated when drilling deep holes. Spacers between the part and the mounting prevent marks on the metal and deformation. Tapping (threading) Internal and external threads can be made using all available machining methods as well as through plastic deformation. The groove for chips should be large and wide. . Cooling is therefore essential to avoid the hole contracting. well rounded and polished as well as have a large cutting edge angle. Turning Aluminium can be turned in standard. especially if the diameter is large.when drilling in soft alloys. Heat treatable alloys give especially high quality results. The back surface should run radially or be undercut so that the chips do not fasten between the tool and the thread when the tap is drawn out. Taps for steel can be used for threads under 6 mm but special taps should be used for larger diameters.

This creates a very strong thread.Special threading taps are normally divided into three types.3 times the size of the screw pitch compared to the nominal thread diameter. External threads are made using ordinary threading tools or screw cutting dies. Another type is designed so that the thread is interrupted from groove to groove. The external diameter of the part to be threaded should be 0. The first is hole polished with the pitch against the cutting line so that the chips are pushed forward in front of the tap during threading. Punch and die of hardened tool steel are recommended. The threads can also be formed plastically by rolling without any chips being formed. The press tools for aluminium are slightly different from those designed for other metals. . It is very important that the centre lines of the metal part and the tool are aligned.2 to 0. Shearing (pressing/punching) Press work is normally carried out in eccentric presses with a cutting (shearing) tool. Finally there is one that has a spiral chips groove for lighter cutting with better pressure during threading.

Furthermore. The punch should be left flat irrespective of the shape of the die if the part cut out is to be used. There are many ways of insulating. Insulation (thermal break) Aluminium’s high coefficient of thermal conductivity is not so desirable in applications where low heat transfer is wanted such as in windows. the cutting force required can be reduced considerably if the punch’s surface is ground at an angle (shear). When the polyurethane has set.Burrs are avoided by regularly sharpening the punch and die. In certain cases. In this way the thermal bridge is interrupted (fill and mill). The clearance is determined by the material’s composition and the thickness of the cut material. In the first the extrusion is pressed in one piece and a closed space in the extrusion is filled with polyurethane. Two techniques that greatly reduce the ability to conduct are commonly used. the extrusion is divided into two parts held together by the polyurethane. especially when punching holes. It is important to maintain the correct clearance between the punch and the die during the actual cutting process. The angle ground part should at the most be equivalent to the thickness of the part of the material that is to be cut out. it can be an advantage to grind the punch at an angle while keeping the die flat. .

Large batches should not be produced in the T4 condition as there is a risk that the material will be left standing and will self-harden. In such cases the bend can be annealed. the work piece is fixed against a rotating die. for example with very small radii. The material in the bend can be harder than the rest in the event of high stresses. Plastic forming (bending/stretching) Aluminium extrusions can be bent using the same equipment as for other metals. It is suitable for tight radii and has a high degree of repeatability. Bending should be carried out before anodising if a complete anodised layer without cracks is required. These are rolled into position. Draw bending Draw bending is the most commonly used bending method. The need for bending should be taken into consideration at the design stage. Using an adjustable clamping jaw. . The clamping jaw and the tool are shaped to reproduce the profile’s cross section. This is important if the original material is in the T4 condition and is to be hardened to T6. Bending can take place with the hardened metal for larger radii but smaller ones usually require soft annealed or T4 (half-hardened) metal.In the other method two extrusions are joined using polypropylene or polyamide strips. It is possible to harden to full strength after bending. This way of insulating makes it possible to use different colours on the inside and outside of the window.

the oxide layer forms many fine cracks during bending. .The work piece rotates with the die. To prevent scratches and clamping marks on the profile. it is recommended that anodising is left until after bending. lubrication is often required to prevent cutting and scratching of the profile. Anodised profiles: Being hard and brittle. The work piece is rolled between two drive rollers and a pressure roller. The shape presented by the rollers corresponds to the profile’s cross section. the tools are usually made of plastic. in CNC machines. This stretches the material on the outside of the profile and compresses that on the inside. As rollers are most usually made of steel. Roller bending Roller bending is used for forming large radii in the work piece. Thus. Vertical adjustment of the upper roller (the pressure roller) alters the radius of the bend. If a high quality surface is required. a number of different radii can easily be pressed into a single work piece.

Pressure is applied by some form of excentric or hydraulic press.Stretch bending Stretch bending gives very high three-dimensional shape accuracy. dies can be steel or . As the tooling investment is relatively high. An upper and a lower die are contoured to give the work piece the desired shape. The shape presented by the block corresponds to the profile’s cross-section. stretch bending is best suited to large series production. Press bending Press bending (point bending) is suitable for simple bending of large series. The work piece is formed using compressive force. The metal is stretched to its upper elastic limit and spring-back is thus negligible. Depending on the exterior of the part to be pressed. The work piece is fixed between two clamping jaws and then gradually stretched over a shaping block.

. All. In a single hydroforming operation.The profile is placed in a die that has an inner geometry exactly replicating the shape of the finished component. lead times can be shortened. of a profile’s cross section can be tailored using hydroforming. Hydroforming Hydroforming allows us to shape an aluminium profile three-dimensionally in a single operation. it takes up the shape of the die. The process offers as yet unexplored possibilities. In a single operation. it is also possible to make local changes such as domes or holes. complex parts can be created with very good dimensional accuracy. The principle . The die is locked securely in position and hydrostatic pressure is then set up in the pipe (profile). By eliminating several machining operations. As the profile is pressed against the die. It has become clear that hydroforming opens the way to unique solutions for a wide range of design problems.plastic. or parts.

Aluminium's corrosion resistance Untreated aluminium has very good corrosion resistance in most environments. unlike the oxide layers on many other metals. aluminium’s oxide layer repairs itself immediately. which leads to crack formation. In most combinations with other metals. it adheres strongly to the parent metal. This type of corrosion does not normally occur in common AlMgSi alloys. Thus. The least noble metal in the combination becomes the anode and corrodes. Jump to: Galvanic corrosion Pitting Crevice corrosion Aluminium in the open air Aluminium in soil Aluminium in water Aluminium and alkaline building materials Aluminium and chemicals Aluminium and dirt Aluminium and fasteners Corrosion checklist The most common types of corrosion are: • galvanic corrosion • pitting • crevice corrosion Stress corrosion. AlZnMg alloys) where these are subjected to prolonged tensile stress in the presence of a corrosive medium. The layer is stable in the general pH range 4 – 9. aluminium is the least noble metal. This oxide layer is one of the main reasons for aluminium’s good corrosion properties. aluminium presents a greater risk of galvanic corrosion than most other structural materials. If damaged mechanically. This is primarily because aluminium spontaneously forms a thin but effective oxide layer that prevents further oxidation. is a more special type of corrosion. Aluminium oxide is impermeable and. . Galvanic corrosion Galvanic corrosion may occur where there is both metallic contact and an electrolytic bridge between different metals. the risk is less than is generally supposed. However.g. The most noble of the metals becomes the cathode and is protected against corrosion. It occurs primarily in high-strength alloys (e.

there is an electrolyte (with good conductivity) between the metals. Electrical insulation Where different metals are used in combination. e. indoor atmospheres. e. indoor atmospheres and the risk is not great in rural atmospheres. hot dip galvanised material gives longer protection. Problems can also occur where the metallic combination is galvanised steel and aluminium. this protection disappears when the steel surface is exposed after the consumption of the zinc. hot dip galvanised material should be used.g. Copper. Galvanic corrosion of aluminium occurs: • Only where there is contact with a more noble metal (or other electron conductor with a higher chemical potential than aluminium. prevent the aluminium being attacked. The zinc coating of the galvanised steel will. the risk of galvanic corrosion must always be taken into account in environments with high chloride levels. The contact surfaces between the steel and the aluminium were often wet and attack was aggravated by wintertime salting. at the same time. Preventing galvanic corrosion The risk of galvanic corrosion should not be exaggerated – corrosion does not occur in dry. .g. galvanic corrosion can be prevented by electrically insulating them from each other. However. However. graphite). Thus. The insulation has to break all contact between the metals. carbon steel and even stainless steel can here initiate galvanic corrosion. Galvanic corrosion does not occur in dry.Close-up of galvanic corrosion in an aluminium rail post (25 year’s use). areas bordering the sea. Nor is the risk great in rural atmospheres. The rectangular hollow profile was held in place by a carbon steel bolt. • While. in combination with aluminium in aggressive environments. The illustration shows a solution for bolt joints. at first. As it has a thicker zinc coating than electroplated material.

the most noble metal). The less noble material “sacrifices” itself (i. Here. usually chlorides. Pitting For aluminium. The illustration below shows the cathodic protection of an outboard motor.Breaking the electrolytic bridge In large constructions. Zinc or magnesium anodes are often used for aluminium. an alternative solution is to prevent an electrolytic bridge forming between the metals. .e. Another way of obtaining cathodic protection is to connect the aluminium object to the negative pole of an exterior DC voltage source. Cathodic protection Cathodic protection can be gained in two ways. pitting is by far the most common type of corrosion. The most common is to mount an anode of a less noble material in direct metallic contact with the aluminium object to be protected.e. For the above to work. Painting is one way of doing this. where insulation is difficult. corrodes) for the aluminium. A further solution is to use an insulating layer between the metals. It is thus referred to as a sacrificial anode. there also has to be liquid contact between the surface to be protected and the sacrificial anode. It occurs only in the presence of an electrolyte (either water or moisture) containing dissolved salts. it is often best to coat the cathode surface (i.

of course. Preventing pitting Pitting is primarily an aesthetic problem that. painting or other coating methods) counteracts pitting. visible pits are rarely evident on aluminium surfaces. Penetration may be greater in water and soil. use a shape that promotes draining. It is also important to design profiles so that they dry easily. Attack is. Instead. more severe on untreated aluminium. The ventilation of "closed" constructions reduces the risk of condensation. .The corrosion generally shows itself as extremely small pits that. As the products of corrosion often cover the points of attack. practically speaking. These are used in. in the open air. never affects strength. Alkaline detergents should be used with care. Rinsing with water is often sufficient. amongst other areas. Pitting can be prevented by cathodic protection (above). reach a maximum penetration of a minor fraction of the metal’s thickness. Mild alkaline detergents are now available. Surface treatment (anodising. Avoid angles and pockets in which water can collect. the industrial cleaning of aluminium. Stagnant water is avoided by suitably inclining the profile and/or providing drain holes. Cleaning is necessary to maintain the treated surface’s attractive appearance and its corrosion protection.

Aluminium in the open air The corrosion of metals in the open air depends on the so-called time of wetness and the composition of the surface electrolytes. generally speaking. the temperature is above 0°C (e. liquid-filled crevices. the durability of aluminium is superior to that of carbon steel or galvanised steel. In highly sulphurous atmospheres. The time of wetness is normally considered to be when relative humidity exceeds 80% and. Preventing crevice corrosion Using sealing compounds or double-sided tapes before joining two components prevents water from penetrating into the gaps. The presence of salts (particularly chlorides) in the air reduces aluminium’s durability. through capillary action. minor pitting may occur. is sucked in between the metal surfaces. aluminium’s durability is excellent. water sometimes collects in the crevices between superjacent aluminium surfaces and leads to superficial corrosion (“water staining”).Crevice corrosion Crevice corrosion can occur in narrow.g. In normal rural atmospheres. at the same time. In some cases. or combined with. but . The difference between night and day temperatures can also create condensation where aluminium is stored outdoors under tarpaulins that provide a tight seal. During transport and storage. or on the exteriors of vehicles. when condensation forms). rivets or screws can be replaced by. significant crevice corrosion can occur in marine atmospheres. However. However. The time of wetness refers to the period during which a metal’s surface is sufficiently wet for corrosion to occur. This counteracts the formation of crevices. adhesive bonding. The likelihood of this type of corrosion occurring in extruded profiles is small. and in moderately sulphurous atmospheres. Condensation can form when cold material is taken into warm premises. The source of this water is rain or condensation that.

less than is the case for most other construction materials. depth approx. resistivity and pH value. Bitumen coating prevents corrosion Aluminium in water A metal’s corrosion in water is largely dependent on the composition of the water.g. some form of protective treatment. After 22 years in a marine atmosphere. Maximum pit depth is generally only a fraction of the thickness of the material. present knowledge about the corrosiveness of different types of soils is not comprehensive. Furthermore. presence of organic materials and electrical conductivity can all vary widely from site to site.g. is recommended. For aluminium. strength properties remain practically unchanged. a bitumen coating. sulphuric acid and nitric acid in combination with chlorides have not left any deep marks. UV radiation. . examination of an untreated aluminium sample (alloy AA 6063) showed that corrosion attack was so limited (max. pH. stray currents from DC voltage sources) can also affect durability. other factors (e. Aluminium’s corrosion properties in soil very much depend on the soil’s moisture. Corrosion can also be prevented by cathodic protection. in marked contrast to carbon steel. Thus. e. Unfortunately. These differences make it difficult to predict a metal’s durability in soil. Mineral composition. The picture shows an untreated sample after 20 years off the south-west coast of Sweden.15 mm) that strength was not affected. Aluminium in soil Soil is not a uniform material. it is the presence of chlorides and heavy metals that has the greatest effect on durability. 0. moisture content. When using aluminium in soil.

leave superficial but visible stains on aluminium surfaces. The likelihood of harmful attack increases where water is stagnant and the material is wet for long periods. corrosion may develop. Aluminium cast into concrete is similarly attacked. aluminium may be subject to pitting. As these stains are difficult to remove. This increases the adhesion between the materials. visible aluminium surfaces should be protected on.5% Mg (and AlMgSi alloys) show particularly good durability. pans and other household equipment can be used for decades without there being any pitting. anodising does not improve durability here. AlMg alloys with over 2. This type of corrosion can be effectively prevented by coating the aluminium with bitumen or a paint that tolerates alkaline environments. Where they are used. especially as regards use with other materials (and the risk of galvanic corrosion). Copper containing alloys should be avoided. aluminium is an excellent material in a marine context.g. building sites. However. Pots. When correct attention has been paid to design. Aluminium and alkaline building materials Splashes of damp alkaline building materials. One example of this is the extensive use of aluminium in many types of ships and boats. e. with regular drying and cleaning. where moisture persists. In sea water. As the oxide layer is not stable in strongly alkaline environments. Other materials also require the same sort of protection. mortar and concrete. they must be given effective corrosion protection. for example. there is normally no corrosion. However. the risk of harmful attack is small. Cathodic protection against corrosion is widely used here. Once the concrete has set (dried). .In natural fresh water and drinking water. The volume of the products generated by corrosion can give rise to cracks in the concrete.

In moderately alkaline water solutions. aluminium does not need to be protected in dry. Aluminium has very good resistance to many organic compounds. the Volvo indoor Corrosion Test (VICT). These can give rise to serious galvanic corrosion due to the reduction of heavy metals (e. Aluminium and dirt Coatings or build-ups of dirt on the metal’s surface can reduce durability to a certain extent. These do not attack aluminium.g. special attention should be paid to avoiding galvanic corrosion and crevice corrosion (above). this is attributable to the surface now being exposed to moisture for considerable periods. Aluminium and fasteners When choosing fasteners for use with aluminium. indoor atmospheres. Galvanic corrosion of aluminium occurs where there is metallic contact with a more noble metal. Aluminium and chemicals Thanks to the protective properties of the natural oxide layer. aluminium shows good resistance to many chemicals. Inorganic acids and strong alkaline solutions are thus very corrosive for aluminium. dirty surfaces should be cleaned once or twice a year. However. aluminium can be in permanent contact with brass and carbon steel with no risk of galvanic corrosion. Very often.Provided that the concrete has set. . Such kinds of inhibitors are normally included in dishwasher detergents. indoors and in other dry atmospheres. consequently. corrosion can be hindered by using silicates as inhibitors. depending on the degree of contamination. rapid corrosion of the aluminium. Aluminium equipment is used in the production and storage of many chemicals. Most inorganic salts are not markedly corrosive for aluminium. Heavy metal salts form an exception here. Exceptions to the above are concentrated nitric acid and solutions of ammonia. copper and mercury) on aluminium surfaces. It should be pointed out that. The test cycle is 12 weeks and corresponds to five year's use of a car in a moderately large town. Thus. low or high pH values (less than 4 and more than 9) lead to the oxide layer dissolving and. The pictures below show the results of an accelerated corrosion test.

In the aluminium. At-a-glance guide for choosing fasteners The table below lists some of the most common materials and coatings for fasteners used with aluminium. Electroplated. Dacrolit – Zn and 18/8 Al flakes in an organic binder containing. Right . 7 – 10 μm + yellow chromating. The fastener is completely rusted.43 mm deep pits have formed. amongst other things. Stainless steel. +++ Negative results on vehicles. +++ Used primarily in the building industry. The Zn layer disappears relatively quickly and galvanic corrosion then sets in. Good protection against galvanic corrosion. chromate. 7 – 10 μm + yellow chromating. No pits have formed in the aluminium. 0. 7 – 10 μm Zn + yellow or bright chromating. +++ Used primarily in the Comments Carbon steel - + Stainless steel.Zinc/iron-coated steel nut and bolt. It also gives an evaluation of corrosion resistance in different environments. Electroplated ++ +++ +++ +++ + +++ . +++ Used primarily in the building industry. Stainless steel.Dacrolit-coated steel nut and bolt. Electroplated (Zn/Fe) approx. The Dacrolit coating is used to reduce friction (bolt threads) and the risk of galvanic corrosion. Substrate material Carbon steel Surface treatment Electroplated (Zn/Ni) approx. The fastener has not been attacked. 18/8 approx. The Zn coating is principally to reduce friction (bolt threads).Left . Atmospheres Marine Industrial Rural ++ +++ +++ Used in the automotive industry.

+ ++ +++ Galvanic corrosion in marine atmospheres. +++ Used in the automotive industry. Dacrolit – Zn and Al flakes in an organic binder containing. ++ +++ +++ Used in the building industry. of aluminium as a construction material. Environments Rural atmosphere Aluminium has excellent durability. amongst other things. ++ = good. No coating. Good results in acetic acid and neutral salt spray (ISO 9227). from the perspective of durability.000 hours in a neutral salt spray (ISO 9227). Used correctly. Corrosion checklist The summary below is intended to give a picture. - ++ Aluminium rivet with electroplated steel mandrel. Withstands 12 weeks VICT (Volvo Indoor Corrosion Test) Carbon steel ++ +++ +++ Very good corrosion resistance shown in tests in the automotive industry. . Carbon steel Polyseal – Zn phosphating approx. ++ +++ building industry. in some cases. buildings. 3 μm + organic protection layer (seal) + organic top coat. Zn and Al oxides. Chrome-free. Stainless steel (18/8) rivet with stainless steel mandrel. chromate.2302 (Zn/Fe) 7 – 10 μm + yellow or bright chromating. Geomet – Zn and Al flakes in a matrix of Si. + = acceptable with moderate demands as regards lifetime (up to 10 years) and surface finish. aluminium has a very long life. Suppliers state that it withstands 1. Carbon steel +++ Used primarily on vehicles and. No coating. Evaluations: +++ = very good.

durability is generally superior to that of carbon steel and galvanised steel. good drainage. Nonetheless. Pressing. Avoid pockets where dirt can collect and keep the material wet for protracted periods. the use of cathodic protection should be considered. In severe environments. be avoided.Moderately sulphurous atmosphere Highly sulphurous and marine atmosphere Aluminium has excellent durability. especially those with a high chloride content. Closed system (liquid) Severe. inhibitors can often be used to provide corrosion protection. better accuracy and in many cases lower die costs. There are many advantages to be obtained by joining several smaller extrusions to a larger unit. liquid containing systems. Jump to: Screw ports Tracks for nuts or bolt heads Snap fit joints Joining profile to profile Telescoping Latitudinal joining . Smaller extrusions can be produced with less material thickness. stainless steel. In closed. e. Joining aluminium Using the opportunities provided by the extrusion process for creative designs gives strong. attention must be paid to the risk of galvanic corrosion. Avoid having unprotected aluminium in protracted contact with stagnant water. Handling is easier. surface treatment and a large amount of the machining can be done on a more rational basis. Corrosion problems can be overcome Profile design pH values Galvanic corrosion Low (under 4) and high (over 9) values should. Whether it is for joining one extrusion to another or for joining an extrusion to another material.g. copper) is recommended. wet environments In difficult. The design should promote drying. carbon steel. stable. rapid and effective joints. Superficial pitting can occur. in principle. wet environments. Some form of insulation between aluminium and more noble metals (e.g.

8 ± 0.2 ST 5. the screw ports will have projections to centre the screws.5 2.6 7. ST 3.2 ± 0.4 ST 4.2 ST 6. Most commonly. Port diameters for self-tapping screws Screw no.5 (B12) 4.8 6.6 ± 0.2 5.2 .3 (B14) 5.5 1.0 5.5 (B6) st 4. clearance 1.15 Wall thickness Screw head t.Hinges T-joints Corner joints Joining with other materials Riveting End caps Adhesive bonding Fusion welding Friction stir welding Screw ports The screw port can be threaded in the normal way for machine screws.min.0 2.5 1. D 3.2 (B8) Port diam.9 ± 0. screw ports are used directly for self-tapping screws.15 3.0 4.8 (B10) 4. In these cases.1 ± 0.

Here, a component is being fitted Closed screw ports : Where the design requires a more robust by screwing through a port at right screw (e.g. M8), the screw port can be closed. The port is to be angles to the profile. In such cases, dimensioned for thread cutting or for self-tapping metric screws. the port should have a shoulder.

Placing screw ports at corners saves material. To ensure that screw head does not protrude beyond the contours of the profile at outer corners, pay special attention to screw head diameter.

A screw port along the length of as profile facilitates "stepless fastening" , i.e. screw joints can be made at any point along the profile. Suitable dimensions are given iun the table below.

Screw port dimensions screws at 90° to the profile ST 3.5 (B6) 2.6 st 4.2 (B8) 3.1 ST 4.8 (B10) 3.6 ST 5.5 (B12) 4.2 ST 6.3 (B14) 4.7

Upper joint: A hollow profile joined to another profile via a screw port. To avoid unwanted flexing in the joint, the screw is driven directly through the bottom of the hollow profile. A single screw is sufficient - the hollow profile's flanges stabilise the design. After step drilling, the hole through which the screw is introduced can be hidden using a plastic plug.

Lower joint : The same solution, but without a hollow profile. The U-profile has tracks for the insertion of, for example, a metal or foil laminate strip.

Solutions with special screws that fill the screw head clearance hole are common in, for example, the furniture industry.

One way of avoiding step drilling and visible holes is to replace the hollow profile with two snap-fit profiles. This solution is often used in handrails.

This placement of the screw ports increases bending strength.

Tracks for nuts or bolt heads

Continuous tracks enable stepless fastening with no need to machine the profile. Dimensions for various nuts and bolt heads are given below.

If a standard bolt is too long, it is not always necessary to find a shorter bolt. The track for the nut can easily be designed/extruded as shown above. Dimensions - nut/bolt tracks Size M4 M5 M6 M8 M10 M12 M14 M16 Width, W Width, W Height, H (iso) (din) 7.3 ± 0.15 8.3 ± 0.15 10.3 ± 0.2 13.4 ± 0.2 4.0 5.5 6.0 8.0 Gap, G 4.4 5.4 6.4 8.5 10.7 12.7 15.0 17.0

16.5 ± 0.3 17.5 ± 0.3 9.5 18.5 ± 0.3 19.5 ± 0.3 12.0 21.7 ± 0.4 22.7 ± 0.4 14.0 24.7 ± 0.4 16.0

fastning If a set c/c distance between the bolt holes is required. These give far quicker assembly than. There are no accepted standards. for example. but various solutions are available from screw and fastener manufacturers. Snap-Fit joints Aluminium's elasticity is highly suited to snap-fit joints. The profile can be stamped to fix fasteners longitudinally in position. slide the nut/bolt in from the end of the track.Using special nuts/bolts. screw or welded joints. Snap-fit joints are widely used in a range of industrues. . a flat bar can take place without having to with precut threads can be put in the track.

In openable snap-fit joints, the hook angle is α = 45° In permanent snap-fit joints, the hook angle is α = 0° (or negative). The length of the snap-fit joint has an effect on design.

A permanent snap-fit joint. Dimensions and tolerances must be decided on a caseby-case basis. The length of the hooking arm should not be under 15 mm. In some cases, long hooking arms may have to be extruded pre-stressed. This can eliminate the need for special tolerances.

If a design cannot accomodate hooking arms of sufficient length, the sprung part of the profile should be replaced by plastic clips or similar. The same applies if the joint is to be repeatedly opened. Aluminium's fatigue properties do not permit frequent changes in loading.

If a snap-fitting is difficult to assemble/disassemble, punching a section out of the hooking arm may be the solution.

Amongst other factors, the design of the joint Examples of snap-fit joints. is determined by whether or not it is to be openable. This joint can be opened using, for example, a screwdriver in the outer track.

Plate A has a punched, rectangular hole. Mounting profile B is pushed into the hole until a snap-fit joint is formed. Lamella profile C is then pushed into profile B to form another snap-fit joint. Exploiting the spaceunder the plate makes it possible to have sufficently long hooking arms.

The hinge profile A (cut from a longer profile_ forms a snap-fit joint with main profile B. Punched hole C also provides longitudinal locking. Sufficient spring is generated in the hooking arm by springing the main profile at d.

Joining Profile to Profile Longitudinal joining

Joining with a standard

Joining with a fluted, sprung profile in purpose-designed channels.

A sprung inner section that compresses to Anchoring joined profiles by welding - the illustration allow assembly. For easy entry, the inner shows solutions with a solid profile and a hollow profile profile (A) is believed and cut parallel to respectively. the main profiles. Tolerances are not critical in this solution. The result is a play-free joint.

Longitudinal joining via asymmetrically located screw ports and a pre-drilled spacer. The profiles are turned so that the screws do not foul each other.

Longitudinal joining via longitudinal screw joints. A gap slightly longer than the length of the screw is milled in the screw port.

Longitudinal jointing using the spring and friction in a snap-fit design. Telescoping

This design features stepless height adjustment using a nut (a threaded flat bar could also be used) that runs freely in its track. Height adjustment where the inner profile has a fixed thread (blind rivet nut) and the outer profile has a punched or extruded channel. Telescope solution with stepless clamping . platic components are often used in telescoping designs.To ensure smooth abd silent operation. Height adjustment where the outer profile has a fixed thread (blind rivet nut) and the bolt clamps the innter profile in position. Tightening the fasteners locks the height and removes any play in the joint.

Telescope solution with sping locking. can all be used for latitudinal joining. Latitudinal joining Larger cross-sectional areas can be economically created by joining a number of profiles together. assembly. play-free plastic profile can be a part of a telescoping telescoping. plastic gauge blocks are used. fusion welding and. a single leg stand).g. A profile serve as spacers and give smooth. This solution is often chosen because it is easier to machine smaller profiles individually rather than a single construction as a whole. Mechanical joints. . adhesive bonding. Friction Stir Welding. Where a play-free joint is essential (e. Plastic is often an excellent solution where Plastic wheels used part of the fastening in the outer components have to be able to slide. as illustrated above.

Locking using a tubular spring pin. Latitudinal joining using screw ports. Latitudinal joining with a snap-fit. Latitudinal joining with a clamp. Joining using an end plate that holds the sections together. Locking using a splined dowel pin. Latitudinal joining with a snap-fit.Using a flat bar. bracket or similar to join profiles together gives good flatness. .

easily locked longitudinally using plastic inserts and self-tapping screws. Latitudinal joining using dovetail tracks. A hinge with approximately 110 degrees opening. sharp-tipped corners must be avoided. Two profiles with 180 degrees opening.the ball's diameter should If the hinge has a screw port. it can be never be less than 5 mm. . Note the shape to achieve acceptable precision.Joining by stamping (creates visible deformations). Hinges A simple hinge .

Self-locking with approx. 180 degrees opening. . Complex hinging for securing lorry tarpaulins. Three-part hinge made from a single profile. The hinge is made from three profiles joined together. Chamfering the ball enables hinge disassembly as shown above. Both parts of this hinge are made from a single profile.

and a cost-effecient solution. A longitudinally adjustable hinge. The illustrations shows a solution where a plastic or rubber profile can be used.Two-part hinge made from a single profile A pin in each end gives wide opening and with identical machining. Hinges can be made from other materials than aluminium. T-joints A simple T-joint using screw ports. A strong jpont with flanges to take up .

the screws are driven directly through the inner wall. The outer clearance holes are plugged with standard plastic caps. In the furniture and interior decoration industry. To avoid flexing in the joint. A simple and stable soultion for T and corner jointing of square tubes. This fastening avoids troublesome mating of the contours. special fasteners are used where joints must be easy to take apart. The fasteners often run in a nut track and there is this thus a stepless fit with the mounting . Screw ports used to join tubular and rectangular profiles. Joining of a round tube and a transverse profile : The transverse tube comprises two profiles held together by snap-fit joint. Fitting to a wall or another profile: The end fastener is cut from a longer profile and secured with screws.torsional stress.

Examples of other special fasteners. Expansion locking using a wedge shape. rightangled brackets and bolts. A simple T-joint using nut tracks. Expansion locking using splined pins. The brackets are A special machine or an excentric press is used in the stamping method of connecting profiles.profile. The method is particularly common in long production . Corner joints There are various types of brackets that are exremely suitable for corner joints where the strength and rigidity requirements are high.

Various ties are available in standard formats. The corner bracket above has both screw ports (for side screws) and channels for stamping. A torsionally rigid joint using a single screw. As shown. of course. one of the profiles has . Ties are often rectangular. This corner joint for square tubes uses self-tapping screws in the transverse screw ports. Cast metal and plastic ties are a solution Tie using sprung steel clips. etc. one of them with threaded holes. runs.usually cut from long aluminium profiles. Fitting method can then be chosen to suit equipment. series size. the corner joint comprises two flat right-angled brackets. In picture frames and other light constructions. that is especially common in long runs and where jointing has to be provided in more than two directions. Brackets are usually designed to allow several fitting methods. The main profile's contours are.

immaterial as long as there is an inner. amongst other things. These frame profiles have screw ports and. relativelyeasy machining only. need only be cut at 90 degrees when used with the corner profile shown in the illustration. This type of corner joint is used in. The flanges of the corner profile create channels for the fitting of an outer profile (free choice of radius). This stable corner joint. which has precise The flanges of the corner profile are angles and good design. TV stands. rectangular chamber. flanges. . to give a snug fit. Plastic caps are used to cover the ends. The frame profiles need only be cut at 90 degreees to ensure a snug fit. Where corners are visible. a large radius (as shown by the broken line) gives an attractively rounded design. involves bolted to the insides of the frame profiles.

The plate and joint combination represents a very stable solution. A corner joint that can be used in. Corner joint using pre-mounted bolts in two of the profiles.A U-section with a punched or sawn cut. The frame is locked using a joint on either a long or a short side. The bolts are tightened from above using a special tool. Joining with other materials . for example. This can then be folded to give a fame with slightly rounded corners. a table. The saw cut should go down into the base of the profile.

which form snap-fits with the aluminium profiles. etc. A standard method of glazing windows and doors. act as spacers for the glass. profile. Rubber profiles. A small deformation (catch) in the plate or the channel ensures good locking. special plastic profile (the yellow profile) A snap-fit joint can be used with formed plates. metal sheets and Protrusions punched into the profile/plate other plates can be fitted in channels in the ensure radial locking.Printed circuit boards. in place using a sprung. This method can also be used for other plates. can be locked profile's arms actively grip the plate/sheet. Rattle-free locking through having the Glass and metal plates. The "Christmas tree model" is a simple A snap-fit using track in the wooden .

d. from a rolling steel wheel). Special screws with "snap-fit heads" can Short snap-fit brackets can be be used when jointing with woods or metal screwed/nailed into wood strips. . To deal with high local surface loads and reduce wear (e. it is often uneconomic to build extra thickness simply to provide longer threads. A snap-fit joint bewtween aluminium and plastic profiles. plates. a steel strip can be inserted in profiles. board. Riveting Examples of blind rivet nuts and press nuts. In a long profile.solution when jointing with wood.

Self-punching rivets countersink and join in a single operation. Sliding pop riveting in a longitudinal profile channel. can join different materials of different . Riveting without rivets : This method. for example. The bling rivet nut is fitted from the outside using a special rivet gun.Using blind rivet nuts or press nuts. Press nuts: These are fitted from the back using. which is highly suitable for long runs. all that is required is a hole. an excentric press. Pop riveting at the end of a screw port.

it is more costefficient not to have screw ports in this but in a purpose-designed end cap. This end cap wedges into the main profile. The places where metal has been cut become particularly prominent if the profile is surface treated. If the end cap and the profile have the same nominal outer dimensions. If the main profile is long. A crimping press is used. . There is a strong press-fit between the end cap's arms and the channels in the main profile. One solution is to make the end cap slightly bigger than the main profile. End caps Screws and screw ports are the most common method of securing metal or plastic end caps to box profiles.wall thicknesses. Slight displacement of the holes in the main profile (relative to the screw ports) ensures that a force is set up pulling the end cap into the main profile. any departures from tolerance specifications are clearly visible.

Two end caps can be held together using long screws or draw bars. Cast metal or plastic end caps are suitable for long runs where the shape of the main profile is complex or where a highly rounded end cap is required. Aeroplanes have used bonded joints since the mid 40’s. Of course. The result is one end cap with no visible screws. the adhesive bonding of aluminium in the aero-industry has attracted the most detailed research. removable . for example. Nowadays. for example. This plastic end cap is held in place by stamped catches in the profile. Though.Channels in the main profile for the fitting An end cap with sprung arms . fascias. Screw ports with adequate clearance are a suitable way of giding the screws. . Volvo’s roof rack rail is just one of these. far more cars are produced than aeroplanes. aluminium is the metal that is most frequently bonded.the cap is of an end cap with a sprung arm. there are many more down-to-earth examples of the use of bonded aluminium joints. This is a good solution in. the bonding of aluminium is even used for load-bearing components in aircraft. Adhesive bonding After steel.

Adhesives cope best with shearing forces. Nor is it risk-free to simply start bonding without adequate information. it can sometimes be diffi cult to fi nd an adhesive with a lower surface tension. This can be compensated for by designing profi le solutions that provide large contact surfaces. the joint surface must be known. The illustrations above give some ideas and guidance on joint design.1] A variant of the “adhesive trap” and “locking hook” method Joint design Adhesive bonding involves the formation of a plastic or rubber load-carrying element. The material in the cured adhesive bond is not as strong as the aluminium. If the other material is a plastic. Joints subjected to tensional forces are often unsuitable for high loads.Many different adhesives. [bild 58. it has to have a lower surface tension than the material being bonded. [bild 58. For good and consistent bonds. they may be the best solution. To bond aluminium profiles to another material. To do this. the adhesive will form droplets rather than spread evenly over the surface. Otherwise. All adhesives wet aluminium. pretreatments and bonding methods have been developed. The adhesive must wet the entire surface that is to be bonded. Where tongue and groove type bonded joints are a possibility. Selecting the right one is not always easy. there will be no attraction between the adhesive and the aluminium profile. reproducible and clean.1] Tongue and groove with a channel into which the “locking hook” can be hammered or rolled.5 nm (one half of a millionth of a millimetre). Peeling and cleaving forces concentrate stress on a small part . If the surface is contaminated or is made up of low strength oxides exceeding this critical “thickness”. Essential knowledge The intermolecular forces that determine whether bonding is possible exert their pull over a maximum range of 0.1] Traditional tongue and groove. the adhesive must be able to wet this material too. Aluminium profiles can be easily worked into a wide range of shapes. [bild 58.

Thus.Contact between adhesive and hardener (without preliminary mixing). This leads to (sometimes unnecessarily) high stress on the adhesive and the surface that has been bonded to. the greater the concentration of any subsequent stress. The tape holds the components even during curing – other forms of clamping are unnecessary. etc. stress is greatest at the edges of the joint. To be able to mould itself to the surface structure of the profi le. .Heating . There are also double-sided PSA tapes that can be heat cured. it is important that the adhesive has time to mould itself to the surface’s micro-profi le. the adhesive must have good liquid properties. As a rule. Thus. heat resistance. never choose an adhesive that is stiffer than necessary.).of the joint and should be avoided whenever possible Choice of adhesive Bonded joints distribute stress relatively well. Double-sided PSA tape should be regarded as a drying adhesive that never dries. However.Exposure to moisture The adhesive is liquid . Drying Cooling Curing by Solvent -Mixing . Drying Solvents and water vaporise. The change from liquid to solid is effected in three different ways.In the abseence of oxygen . Fast setting. It must also harden into a material that can transfer stress in the environment where it is used. Furthermore. adhesives containing solvents or water are unsuitable where: – gap filling is required – both the materials are unable to let the solvent escape. if the stress is low. double-sided structural PSA tape may prove suitable for joining aluminium profiles together. very rarely is stress evenly distributed across the entire surface area of a bonded joint. The stiffer the chosen adhesive. it may be advisable to first apply a low-viscosity primer. In such cases. The choice of adhesive is determined by the way in which the adhesive works and what is required of the bonded joint (filling/sealing. Thicker bonded joints also reduce the concentration of stress at the edges of the joint. However.Illumination (UV or blue light) when it is hot . Double-sided PSA structural tapes formed entirely of the adhesive substance itself are available in thicknesses from 0. The material forming the joint is the same as that in the roll.1 to 6 mm. toughness. high-viscosity adhesives rarely permit this.

Cooling Some thermoplastic adhesives have good plasticity when hot. applying foil coatings to aluminium profiles. Elastic epoxy adhesives normally give a bond that is relatively heat-sensitive. Curing by contact between hardener and adhesive (adhesive on one surface – hardener on the other) These types of adhesives are usually referred to as SGA adhesives. In the bonding process. They have excellent peel and impact strengths. the thermoplastic hot-melt adhesives usually set too quickly on aluminium. They cure (often with negligible contraction) in one of the following ways: Curing by mixing of the components Typical of this group are the epoxy and polyurethane adhesives. durable bonds. have excellent properties after curing. Curing Curing adhesives make up the large group of structural adhesives. Hot-melt adhesives are the most widely used. An adhesive solution or a water-based adhesive is applied to the material and left to dry completely. Many thermoplastic hot-melt adhesives become brittle in cold environments. In principle. They are used for. There are also 2-component silicon adhesives that cure relatively quickly at room temperature. epoxy and polyurethane based adhesives. compared to thermoplastic hot-melts. 2-component. Epoxy adhesives with an elongation at fracture of up to 120% are now available. They have very good gap fi lling properties. . Moisture-curing hot-melts are applied at lower temperatures and. Modifi ed acrylic adhesives are now also becoming more common. This results in poor contact with the aluminium surface.Testing of a simple overlap joint has shown a strength after curing of around 10 N/mm2. Moisture-curing hot melts and heat-reactivated adhesives can both give strong. The curing times are also considerably reduced – the curing time halves for each 10°C rise in temperature. Two-component polyurethane elastomers give “rubber-like” joints that remain elastic even at low minus temperatures (°C). but are not particularly suitable where a gap fi lling adhesive is required. Hot-melt adhesives also have very low creep and heat strengths. so that it wets the opposite surface. Heat-reactivated adhesive is also used when coating aluminium profiles with foil. the adhesive is heated. they can be cast. Using epoxy adhesives. However. higher strength bonds and improved durability are achieved by curing at elevated temperatures. There are both stiff and elastic. These adhesives have been largely replaced by modifi ed acrylic adhesives. amongst other things.

. This type of adhesive is used in. The aero-industry makes extensive use of heat-hardening adhesive films. elastic. there are “rubber-filled” (black) cyanoacrylate adhesives with good peel and impact properties. One-component polyurethane elastomers can also be cured by the humidity of the air. curing times of approx. Epoxy adhesives that harden in UV light have also been developed. etc. These require heat curing at a minimum of 100°C. the most common adhesives are the 1-component epoxies. elastic cyanoacrylates are also available. a plastic is to be bonded to an aluminium profile. Acrylate adhesives are often limpid and very suitable for bonds between aluminium profi les and glass (most of them perform less well with transparent plastics). These require at least 30 minutes to harden at a minimum of 125°C. Cyanoacrylate adhesives may be suitable where. Acrylic adhesives of this type that adhere to untreated polyolefi nes (e. 60 seconds are possible. they have low peel and impact strengths. fi lled. Heat-curing polyurethane elastomers have been mentioned above. Some of these adhesives can be irradiated prior to bonding and will then cure relatively quickly. for example. Curing by contact with moisture Cyanoacrylate adhesives harden very quickly in contact with moisture. Normally. With induction heating of aluminium profiles. One-component polyurethane elastomers can be heat cured at 70°C – 90°C (in 10 – 30 minutes). There are many types of these .limpid. PE and PP) are now also available.g. Cyanoacrylate adhesives are best suited for small joint surfaces and thin bonds. Curing by heating Here. Two-component MS polymers are primarily chosen for work environment considerations. for example. but these are not particularly suitable as structural adhesives for metal. on a large scale. There are also polyurethane elastomers that harden both with moisture and heat. the bonding of car windows and. Colourless. As an alternative to polyurethane elastomers. A bond between two aluminium surfaces takes longer to harden than a bond between aluminium and plastic or rubber materials. Two-component type polyurethane elastomer adhesives are also available. These also harden with moisture. for aluminium profi les in container and vehicle body manufacturing. However. hard. there are the so-called MS polymers. 350 nm) or blue light (wavelength > 400 nm). Curing is comparatively slow (hours) and dependant on relative air humidity and joint geometry. low-viscosity.which are mixed direct from their packaging and can be used to form thick joints. Curing in UV light There have long been 1-component acrylate adhesives that cure in tenths of a second when exposed to UV light (wavelength approx.

anodising. Used in a dry environment. Long-term strength Aluminium surface at x 25. an untreated aluminium profi le can give an excellent bond. the problem is not the degradation of the adhesive or the failure of adhesion. This results in a bond with in-built weak points (air pockets) where the adhesive’s properties are not being exploited. In humid environments. Bond lifetime depends on the synergistic effects of stress. However. Variants of these adhesives that do harden without an activator on aluminium surfaces are now available. silicon adhesives can give heat-resistance of around 250°C without heat curing. this air will eventually be replaced by water.000 magnification (the red bar is 1 µm). but the effects of changes in the underlying aluminium. The highest heat-resistance (approx. This gives a lower strength bond. Temperarure limits With many adhesives. therefore.Curing in the absence of oxygen Such adhesives cure on contact with active metal ions. Any good microscope will show that there are no completely fl at or even surfaces. for example. temperature and environment. Highly viscous (slow fl owing) and fast setting adhesives will. They are normally referred to as anaerobic adhesives (or “locking fl uids”). Bonds to aluminium are as strong and durable as the aluminium oxides with which the bond is formed. Normally. 150 – 250°C) is achieved with heat-curing adhesives and heat-curing adhesive films. most probably only come into limited contact with the surface. Aluminium’s durability can be improved by. Aluminium surfaces should be regarded as passive. Aluminium that has had no surface treatment has a large percentage of magnesium in its surface. the need for surface treatment is even greater. Aluminium surfaces should normally always be treated in some way. An activator has to be used in such cases. Where the water is salty. the practical maximum temperature at which stressed bonded joints can be used is between 60 and 80°C. Basic principles for long-lasting bonds . They are not particularly suitable for aluminium. The same bond outdoors in a coastal climate may have a far shorter life.

likely stresses and costs. but Boiling water for 5 moderately 10 min. Highly stressed joints in dry environments. strong oxides. Thin.g. cannot withstand strongly corrosive environments.g.) Minimum requiement for ensuring a clean For moderately stressd joints in Cleaning/ degreasing and defi ned bonding dry surroundings. Primer also “impregnates” and strengthens porous oxides. Safer than degreasing. after pickling strong oxides. after chromating. surface. Lightly stressed joints using flexible adhesives in humid. anodising) is contemplated. Long used in the American aeroindustry. be obtained before starting any form of treatment. of course. Fine grinding/blast cleaning Removes weak surface layers e/g/ oxides. The main purpose of priming prior to the bonding of aluminium is to fill (seal) the surface when high-viscosity and/or fast setting adhesives are to be used. Some of the most common (and some of the more unusual) are presented here. Phosphating/ chromating Hydrochloric acid at 20°C for 30 seconds Etching in chrome/ sulphuric acid Anodising in Corrosion resistant. Lightly stressed joints in Gives resistant. even in corrosive surroundings. Priming becomes more important where the aluminium is to be used in a corrosive environment and no surface treatment that improves corrosion resistance (e. Unstressed joints in fresh water. porous oxides. corrosive environments. Thick very resistant . However. Pretreatment operations in bonding Process Result Use (max. This helps crystallise the demands really being placed on the adhesive. Moderately stressed joints.The basic principles for long-lasting bonds are well fi lled joints and resistant oxides. e. It also makes it easier to specify exactly what is required to the adhesive manufacturer. Highly stressed joints outdoors. Quick. can impart a dark-colouring to the aluminium surface. A large number of pretreatment processes have been developed for aluminium. Choice is determined by the environment where the aluminium is to be used. but weak. Lightly stressed joints using elastic or very low-viscosity adhesives in corrosive environments. Full details of the processes and any risks to the work environment should. Relatively uncommon process. Requirement specification It is advisable to draw up a requirement specification for the properties of the final bond and the use-related aspects of the adhesive.

before all welding of aluminium. corrosive environments Used in the European aero-industry since the 40’s. Is used stressed joints in corrosive together with lowenvironments. strong Highly stressed joints. Although many welding methods are possible with aluminium. Oxide formation When welding aluminium. oxide-free joint surfaces are a for faultless welded joints Weld porosity formation . Porous. Anodising in phosphoric acid Fusion Welding Aluminium is eminently suitable for welding. the metal’s reaction with oxygen. Refinements in welding machines. 2.050°C) and can easily cause welding defects. corrosive environments. The oxide weld pool and may form inclusions. has a high melting point (approx. on practice. viscosity primer. Thus.sulphuric acid oxide. very resistant Optimum pretreatment for highly oxide. and the oxide rapidly generated therein. Best with elastic adhesives. even in oxide. have to be The oxide is strong. it is important to remove oxides fro This may suitably be done using a stainless steel wire brush. equipment and materials have resulted in welding acquiring increas jointing method. Thoroughly cleaned. Anodising in chromic acid chromic acid Medium-thick.

in a fi llet weld or when w work pieces. The minimum requirement is 99. Argon and helium are inert gases and do not. In special cases. The position of the work piece is easy to control. A higher current density than in TIG welding gives higher weld high welding speed has a positive effect on distortion and shrinkage (narrower heat-affected zone). TIG welding can be position and. Solvent The adhesive is liquid when it is hot Methods Nowadays. This method noticeably increases also advantageous from a work environment point of view. Filler metal is added in the form of a wire fed through the welding torch. Certain problems may arise with very thin materials and unev . form c compounds with other substances. TIG welding TIG welding is suitable for material thicknesses down to under 1 mm. Robot welding Robotised MIG welding can be used with advantage in long production runs. Argon (Ar) and helium (He) are use gases in the MIG and TIG welding of aluminium. The economic threshold for using mixed ga thickness of 10 – 12 mm. Filler metal is normally used and is introduced from the side. Besides playing a part in the electrical proc gas also has the jobs of protecting the electrode and the weld pool from oxidation and of cooling the electrode. work piece or air is highly soluble in molten aluminium. MIG welding is used for material thicknesses from 1 mm upwards.Contact between adhesive and hardener (without preliminary mixing). when performed correctly. gas arc welding methods. thicknesses unde welded using a pulsed MIG arc.5% argon or helium. the hydrogen forms bubbles that may become trapped and form voids.Exposure to moisture .The risk of void formation must also be taken into account.Illumination (UV or blue light) . Most aluminium alloys can be welded Drying Cooling Curing by -Mixing . MIG and TIG in particular. gives the most fault-free welds. an mechanical TIG welding. MIG welding As a rule. MIG w performed in any position and for all joint types. As welds in aluminium are prone to the formation of oxide inclusions and voids. The welding speed is relatively high. TIG welding can be recommended where the gap width varies. e.Heating . Where there is a high penetration requirement. dominate. It loses this solubility almost compl solidifi es.g. The hydrogen contained in moisture and contaminan welding materials. As the weld pool sets. Th from the optimum position and gives good results. In practice. the shielding gas must also me requirements.In the abseence of oxygen . there is an upper limit of arou preparation is then necessary. therefore. an argon-helium mixture can be used in MIG welding.

filler metals should be stored so that the risk of oxidation and the form coatings is avoided. almost black.5 AlSi5 AlMg5 Parent Chemical metal designation B EN-AW Al99.0 Al99. colour. AIMg5 generally gives the greatest streng stable as regards cracking and easier to use when welding hardenable alloys.5Mg1.7 A) AlSiMg AlSiMg( AlSi1Mg AlSi1Mg .Welding economy Measured on cost per length.5Mn0.7(A) AI99.5Mn AlMg5 AlMg5 AlMg1(B) AlMg2 AlMg2.5 AI99. Si alloyed fi ller metals cannot be used.5 AI99. If the welded assembly is to be anodised.7(A ) AlMg4.8(A ) ) Al99.5Mn AlMg4.7 AlMgSi AlMg0.8 A199. the silicon is imparts a dark grey.5Mn AlSi51) AlMg3 AlMg5 AIIMgSi AIIMg0. MIG welding is normally cheaper than TIG welding. Parent metal A Sapa Swedish Chemical standard designation ENSS-EN-AW AW 1090 1080A 1070A 105A 1050A 1200 3103 5005 5251 5052 5754 5083 6060 6063 6063A 6005 6005A 6082 7021 6060 6063 6063A 6005 6005A 6082 7021 AI99.7Si(A) AISi5 AISiMg AISiMg(A) AISi1MgMn AlZn5.5 AlMg3 AlMg4.5Ti AI99.90 AI99.90 Al99.5Mn0.7 A199.5Mn AlSi5 AlSi5 AlMg4.5(A AlMn1 Al99.8(A) AI99.5 AlSi5 AISi5 AISi5 AlMg3 AlMg51) AlMg5 AlMg4.5Ti AIMn1 AIMn1 AIMn1 AISi5 AIMg52) AIMg52) AIMg52) AIMg3 AIMg5 AIIMg52 AIIMg52 AIIMg52 AIIMg5 AIIMg5 ) ) ) AIIMg4.7Si AIIMg0.7 AlMg0. In order not to compromise weld quality.0 AIMn1 AIMg1(B) AIMg2 AIMg2.5Mn AIIMg4.5 AIMg3 AIIMg4.5Ti AI995Ti AI99. When anodising.5(A) AI99. Equipment costs are identica Filler metals The table below gives recommendations for appropriate fi ller metals.

This will mean fewer welds and improved strength. in-built root backing and the minimisation of the number of welds required are all examples of proactive aluminium pro In many cases. Someti be located in a low stress section of the cross-sectional area. the heat treatment to which the material is subjected affects the structure locally around the weld.Swedish standard SS-EN-AW 1090 1080A 1070A 1050A 1200 3103 5005 5251 5052 5754 5083 6060 6063 6063A 6005 6005A 6082 6060 6063 6063A 6005 6005A 6082 Sapa 1050A 1) 2) Unsuitable where there is to be subsequent anodising. Wi profiles. Less suitable material combinations. Th schematic representation of how strength and hardness vary with distance from a weld in a hardenable alloy. Strength In welding. Edge preparation. However TIG welding with stated filler metal is possible. . it is easy to compensate for decreased joint strength by increasing the wall thickness locally. aluminium profi les can be designed in a way that reduces the required number of welds. material compensation. Furthermo can be directly incorporated into the profile’s design Profile design with regard to fusion welding Appropriately designed profiles can greatly simplify welding.

Placing welds in lower stress sections of the cross sectional area. This results in fewer welds. and butt rather tha fillet welds. Friction Stir Welding (FSW) .

FSW gives: # Increased strength. The homogeneous crystal structure in the centre section of an FSW joint – x 220 magnification. # Increased repeatability – production has few variables and these are easily controlled. In FSW. # Reduced thermal deformation – only low thermal stress in the material. An established technology A cross-section of a joint – x 13 magnification. Compared with fusion welding. hence the flat surfaces. the result is tight tolerances. This forms a new. in principle.Friction Stir Welding (FSW) exploits aluminium’s ability to withstand extreme plastic deformation at temperatures that are high. # Increased leakproofness – entirely void-free. . but not above the melting point. # Joints that are. the clean metal surfaces of the profi les that are to be joined are heated by friction generated by a rotating tool and pressed together at very high pressures. homogeneous structure. impermeable joints of a higher strength than fusion welded joints. flush with the surface.

hence the flat surface. to all intents and purposes.3 metres. No filler metals or shielding gases are used. FSW takes place at a temperature below the metal's melting point. we often use fusion welding (MIG).Using FSW rather than traditional fusion welding to join panels together gives. The joint is in principle. The results include very little thermal deformation. we must stress that. The strength properties are also very good. amongst much else. flush with the surface and the FSW weld is. Strength is also increased (see the Royal Institue of Technology's tests. The FSW weld – homogenous and void-free with no oxide inclusions To paint a clearer picture of FSW. we have chosen to compare it with the most commonly used method of welding – fusion welding. . pages 72-73). At the same time. The Sapa panel below is 3 x 14. increased flatness and straightness. completely void-free. The old does have its place alongside the new. A rotating tool is pressed into the metal and moved along the line of the joint. in our production of added-value aluminium profi les.

the adjacent pictures are of very high quality fusion welds. results often vary. flush with the welded material. These can be easily controlled to ensure the same results from one weld to the next. The oxide rapidly formed in this reaction can cause weld failure. in principle. The material being joined never reaches its melting point. No filler metals are used. but the profiles weld together in a way entirely analogous to the extrusion of hollow profiles. Fusion welding is a more complicated process. The filler metal and the parent metal are melted and produce a weld bead that has a solidification structure different from that of the rest of the metal. FSW uses no fi ller metals or shielding gases.Fusion welding. its chemical composition differs from that of the welded material. . The MIG weld rises above the surface. The joint is formed under the influences of friction generated heat and extreme plastic deformation. uses fi ller metals and shielding gases. Precipitation in a MIG-weld. Consequently. In MIG and TIG welding. MIG for example. The result is a homogenous and void-free weld with no inclusions. MIG FSW To give a fair comparison. FSW stands out in having only a few variables. The FSW weld is. There is also a risk of void formation. Precipitation in an FSW weld. Furthermore. attention has to be paid to the metal’s reaction with oxygen. The oxide is heavier than the weld pool and may form inclusions.

9 0.7 0.8 T4 T5-T6 T5-T6 Ultimate tensile strength.7 0. R (w). Condition Rm of parent Ageing (W) metal after T= Rm before welding (pm) welding T4 Arc FSW Natural welding 2) 1) ageing 0. Experience and extensive testing have shown that an FSW weld is usually stronger than a fusion weld. pages 72 – 73). The table below shows the standardised values for arc welded butt joints as per SS-EN 288-4 (see also the tests carried out by the Royal Institute of Technology. the values for fusion welded joints are used in calculating the strength of standardised designs. no standards for FSW joints.7 0.6 0. Since there are. of the welded test rod normally has to satisfy the following: Rm (W) = Rm (pm) x T where Rm (pm) is the prescribed minimum ultimate tensile strength of the parent metal and T is the joint’s weld factor. Strength An FSW weld viewed from above.9 0.A MIG weld viewed from above. as yet. . The values given for FSW joints are based on a large number of measurements and should be regarded as guideline values.9 Artificial ageing Natural ageing Artificial ageing 0.

Limitations FSW requires the work piece to be held securely in place.1. of course. Repairs can. For example MIG or TIG. corrosion resistance is unaltered. welded in place by FSW. The machined interior is closed with a cover. Strength of FSW joints . FSW joints have also been tested using the water pressure test. Corrosion resistance The chemical composition of the material in the joint is identical to that of the original material. Helium leak testing was used to assess leakproofness. This means. Repeatability The experience Sapa has gained in series production since 1996 shows: – Very small variations from joint to joint throughout a production cycle. its strength. Thus. be carried out using traditional methods. leakproofness and flatness. that repair welding of finished constructions is rarely possible with FSW. The results are unambiguous – FSW gives a joint that can be used in components with the severest demands for leakproofness. amongst other things.000 units passed helium testing for leakproofness. The result was no loss of impermeability owing to weld failures. – Very small variations from joint to joint in repeat customer orders. Guideline values only. Leakproofness The pictures on the right are of heat sink units based on solid profiles that are then CNC machined by Sapa. in principle. This is true of all variables – the joint’s structure. 2. All 25.

aluminium profi les can be designed in a way that reduces the required number of welds.Reference: The Royal Institute of Technology. Influence of Welding Speed on the Fatigue of Friction Stir Welds and Comparison with MIG and TIG. Profile design with regard to fusion welding Appropriately designed profiles can greatly simplify welding.Comparison with MIG and TIG . professor. To the same high quality standards as those applying in the aero-industry. Sometimes. material compensation. (both of the Institution for Materials Science at Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology) in the December 2001 research report. This will mean fewer welds and improved strength. Test materials welded at two different speeds were included in testing. The dimensions of the test pieces were as per SS-EN 284-4. Test material and test methods Test mateial and test methods This extract from the report gives values for extruded profiles in alloy SS-EN AW 6082 (AlSi1MgMn) Ð temper T6. and Rolf Sandström. Sweden FSW welds have higher fatigue strength than MIG and TIG welds. welds can also be located in a low stress section of the cross-sectional area. material thickness 4 mm. FSW was carried out by Sapa in a plant used for series production. the main direction of stress being across the weld. TIG and pulse MIG welding were used. Fatigue testing was carried out with a stress ratio ( min/ max) of 0. Vickers hardness was measured with a load of 10 kg. in-built fastening. graduate engineer. integral root backing and the minimisation of the number of welds required are all examples of proactive aluminium profile design. This is the finding documented by Mats Ericsson. In many cases. fusion welding was carried out by CSM Material Technology.5. Edge preparation. .

400 mm/ min. Yield Tensile longation SS-EN-AW strenght strenght A50 mm Reference 6082 Rp0. This is because fusion welding involves higher working temperatures. This is clearly more marked in the MIG weld. Comments: In both welds. the HAZ is a little wider.RS1) ME. 700 mm/min. No significant difference was observed between the HAZs of the two FSW welds carried out at different speeds.RS 1) ME.The graph shows the variations in Vickers hardness across a cross section of an FSW joint (green) welded at a speed of 1. averages of the results in the report in question. Speed B. Consequently. speed B 2) 250 147 145 150 150 295 221 219 245 245 6 5.7 5. hardness in the heat-affected zone decreases.4 5. . speed A 2) FSW.2 5. Fatigue strength MIG-weld: This SEM micrograph (x 25 magnification) shows the fracture surface. "foreign" filler metals and a less favourable structure in the weld.RS 1) 1) Mats Ericsson and Rolf Sandström. 2) Speed A.RS1) ME.1 SS-EN 755-2 ME. 1. More heat is supplied in TIG welding than MIG welding. Fatigue fracture developed at several points in the root (to the right).400 mm/min. and across a MIG weld (grey). values for profiles t < 5 mm Pulsed MIG TIG FSW. Hardness is lowest (just under 60 HV) around the centre of the MIG weld.2 Rm (%) (MPa) (MPa Min.

60 MPa. TIG welds (blue) and FSW welds (green). TIG approx.000 cycles. FSW: Fracture surface through the fine-grained section of an FSW weld (root to the right). MIG-weld: as above (2. FSW approx. 400 mm/ min). the stress ranges were: MIG approx.500 magnification) Fatigue striation in the area close to the root edge. Comments: The FSW weld shows the best values throughout. For failure at 500. 90 MPa at 700 and 1.The graph above shows the results of fatigue tests on MIG welds (grey). . In the study. 400 mm/ min (a shade higher at 1. TIG welds gave considerably better results than MIG welds. 70 MPa. Fracture probably developed close the root.

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