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Factories and manufacturing plants often specialize in various types of metal fabrication, but the process of aluminum fabrication can differ from the processes for most other types of metals. Unlike some other metals, aluminum is often extruded during aluminum fabrication; this process involves drawing or pushing the aluminum blank through a die to create a shaped product. The process of extrusion can be done as a hot process, in which the metal is heated to become more malleable, or a cold process, in which the process is done at room temperature.
Aluminum is used on a wide variety of applications because it is lightweight and resistant to corrosion, but it tends to be a fairly brittle metal that can break when force is applied in certain ways. Extrusion is a valuable method in the aluminum fabrication process because it generally puts less stress on the metal during the fabrication process as compared to other fabrication methods, meaning the aluminum will be less likely to lose its strength. Aluminum can certainly be fabricated in other ways as well, though other fabrication methods can apply more stress to the metal, thereby making it more brittle as a finished product.
Once raw materials are made into useful parts, the aluminum fabrication can continue with cutting, grinding, drilling, or shaping to fit a specific need. Aluminum is often used for window frames, automobile components, bicycle components, building materials such as shuttering formwork, and much more. The aluminum can be cut and shaped fairly easily, making it a versatile material for construction purposes. The aluminum does not conduct heat as well as other metals, which can be advantageous or disadvantageous, depending on the application. It is lightweight, making it suitable for performance vehicles, though it can bond to steel when heated to a certain degree, potentially causing problems with various automobile components. Performance automobile wheels can be made from aluminum, and while they may not be the most durable options, they can certainly save weight and add performance.
Recycling is another important process in aluminum fabrication. This metal is 100% recyclable, so reclaimed aluminum can be melted down and reprocessed in the extrusion process or other machining processes. The prevalence of aluminum in various applications, from construction to vehicles, and even beverage containers, make it a valuable product to recycle. This is especially true because it can be recycled for a fraction of the expended energy and cost of producing it from new raw materials.