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A Guide to Aluminum Extrusion


Manufacturing Services & Engineering
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Aluminum extrusion has come a long way since its inception in the early 1900s. Initially developed to meet the demands of the Industrial Revolution, the process has been refined and diversified over the last century, with advanced technologies making it increasingly precise and efficient.

Sur-Seal designs custom aluminum extrusions that minimize material waste, deliver a consistent product and ensure exceptional performance. AS91000- and ISO9001-certified, we also offer custom plastic extrusions.

Our extensive knowledge and expertise allow us to produce custom extrusion products across the country for industries that include:

Ready to bring your project to the next level with custom aluminum extrusion products? Don’t settle for off-the-shelf solutions — we’ll tailor solutions to your specific needs.

Contact Sur-Seal online today or call 513.574.8500 to shape your future with us!

What Is Aluminum Extrusion?

An easy way to understand aluminum extrusion is to picture a cake decorating or piping bag. As you squeeze icing or frosting out of the tube, it comes in various shapes based on the nozzle you use. Aluminum extrusion works similarly, using lightweight, versatile, and durable aluminum instead of frosting.

A relatively quick process, aluminum extrusion is cost-effective and efficient, producing strong yet light parts. It’s a popular method used on various items, including aluminum frame extrusions for the automotive, construction, and aerospace industries. For instance, car bodies, window and door frames, and airplane parts are all made using the process.

Like a high-tech Play-Doh factory for metal, aluminum extrusion is ideal for transforming raw aluminum into essential components for countless everyday products.

Aluminum Extrusion Shapes, Uses & Customizations

Sur-Seal’s teams are skilled at creating custom dies that comply with strict tolerances and deliver consistent thickness throughout the production run. Our custom aluminum extrusions are available in many different shapes for numerous uses.

  • Aluminum extrusion shapes: Aluminum extrusion is not a one-size-fits-all process. Its impressive array of shapes is suited to multiple applications, including rods, tubes, angles, and custom-designed profiles. The possibilities are nearly endless.
  • Different uses for aluminum extrusions: From consumer electronics to renewable energy infrastructure, aluminum extrusions serve various uses across various industries. For instance, aerospace aluminum extrusions contribute to an aircraft’s durability and efficiency.
  • Aluminum extrusion customizations: The sky’s the limit with customizing aluminum extrusions. You can choose different types of aluminum alloys to suit your project’s needs, add custom finishes like powder coating and anodizing for added durability and aesthetic appeal, and get the most out of your products with sophisticated cutting techniques.

The Aluminum Extrusion Process

Here’s a brief overview of how the aluminum extrusion process works:

  1. A cylindrical block of aluminum, or billet, is heated until it’s soft but not liquid.
  2. The softened billet is pushed or “extruded” through a shaped opening called a die.
  3. An aluminum piece that’s the same shape as the die it was forced through emerges.

The two standard methods of extruding aluminum are direct and indirect extrusion. Both involve pushing heated aluminum through a shaped die, but the billet is pushed through a stationary die in direct or forward extrusion. In indirect extrusion, the die pushes itself against a stationary billet. Direct extrusion is the most used method.

Next Steps: After the Extrusion

Once the aluminum is extruded and in its desired shape, it’s left to cool, stretched for straightness, and cut into manageable lengths. Other steps can include:

  • A heat treatment to enhance the piece’s strength and hardness.
  • A surface treatment to improve corrosion resistance, surface hardness, or aesthetics.
  • An aging process that changes the metal’s structure and makes it stronger.
  • Additional fabrication steps like drilling, welding, or milling.

The final steps include inspections and tests to ensure the extruded pieces meet quality standards and specifications.

Importance of Aluminum Extrusion

Aluminum extrusion is a cornerstone technology in modern manufacturing and construction for many reasons, including its design flexibility, exceptional strength-to-weight ratios, and energy efficiency. And because aluminum is highly recyclable without losing its core properties, it’s a terrific sustainable choice in an eco-conscious world.

All in all, aluminum extrusion is a fundamental technology for modern development, touching nearly every aspect of our lives.

Sur-Seal delivers superior quality for our clients from engineering to manufacturing and testing. Our teams adhere to strict quality and safety standards and are passionate about finding optimal solutions for our clients.

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