Because aluminum is lightweight and flexible, it offers several benefits over other commonly used materials. When you need the strength and reliability of other metals, but cost and weight are a concern, aluminum sheet metal fabrication will often fit the bill.
How Aluminum Metal Fabrication Works
From the medical and aviation industries to military and marine use, aluminum is a popular choice of materials for custom fabrication. The process of fabricating aluminum sheet metal includes shaping the product using specialized tools to cut, drill, bend, and join sheet aluminum to create the desired structure. Forming applies force to bend and stretch the metal, cutting separates the metal into pieces, punching creates shapes and holes, and welding joins the different parts into the final assembly. Lastly, the fabricator uses techniques such as abrasive blasting, applying paint, or anodizing to complete the finished product.
Why Choose Aluminum?
Aluminum metal fabrication delivers products that are not only sturdy and versatile, but also resistant to corrosion. Steel, for example, requires a specialized finish to remain rust-free and prolong it’s useful life, while aluminum is naturally more resistant to rusting. It is also lighter in weight when compared to other metals, which allows for a faster fabrication process, a simplified method for repetitive fabrication needs, and a more versatile final product.
Another reason to choose aluminum over other metals is the fact that it is not magnetic, making it useful in a variety of electrical and electronic applications, including high-voltage hardware, magnetic compasses, antennas, computer assemblies, and more. Aluminum is also non-sparking making it an essential material when working with highly flammable or explosive substances and situations.
Aluminum is also far more durable than non-metal alternatives such as plastic. While many may choose plastic for its low cost, aluminum is also relatively inexpensive while providing a longer-lasting product. Because it is less vulnerable in high-temperature environments, resistant to corrosive chemical elements, and more resistant to wear and tear, aluminum offers a superior end product compared to plastic.
Aluminum Metal Fabrication Challenges
Although aluminum has many benefits over other types of metal and plastics, it doesn’t come without challenges. Because it is softer than other metals, it can be more prone to damage during the fabrication process. It also has a high thermal conductivity level, meaning it easily repels heat during welding. The result can be weak welds and a difficulty cutting with tools such as lasers.
The good news is that fabricators who are skilled in aluminum applications and have experience creating final products with this type of metal will be aware of these challenges and have the expertise to deliver extremely durable, high-quality finished products. For that reason, it’s critical to choose a skilled metal fabrication shop with an accomplished crew.
Attractive & Environmentally Friendly
Aluminum and aluminum alloys provide a beautiful, polished finish without requiring further finishing to achieve an aesthetically pleasing product. Additional protection can be applied using a natural oxide film, or using an anodizing process to change or enhance the surface characteristics. For example, surface textures can be roughed or smoothed, glossed or matted, and paint, lacquers, enamels, and electroplating can be applied.
Lastly, aluminum is considered one of the largest sources of “secondary metal,” or metals that have been scrapped for remelting and recovery. What’s more, recycling aluminum only requires 5 percent of the energy necessary to produce new aluminum. In other words, aluminum has substantial scrap value once your final product has exceeded its useful life, and it is easily recycled into new products rather than being dumped in a landfill and forgotten.
Your Aluminum Metal Fabrication Experts
Grounded Industrial Services is a full-service shop, and we’re equipped to handle welding and fabrication projects of all types, sizes, and applications. From household projects to heavy industrial materials, we stand ready to build just about anything you can imagine. Our team is highly-skilled and prepared to deliver your aluminum metal fabrication projects with the highest level of precision and quality. Contact us today to get your project started.