March 18, 2014
There are many benefits to using T-slotted aluminum extrusions over welded steel. In addition to being cost effective, aluminum extrusion is much easier to work with and offers engineers flexibility, even after the initial design. Aluminum is also strong enough to handle most manufacturing and assembly applications. Here are some other advantages to using T-slotted aluminum extrusion over welded steel:
First, aluminum extrusion costs less than welding steel. The price of aluminum and steel fluctuate based on global supply and demand. While aluminum typically costs more, in terms of raw materials, you have to take labor costs into consideration. Steel frames have to be welded, which means holes have to be drilled and tapped. The frame also has to be painted. On the other hand, aluminum extrusion is modular. It has T-slots on all four sides so you never have to drill or tape holes.
Aluminum extrusion also gives engineers flexibility after the initial design of an automation project has been completed. With steel frames, you have to be very accurate up front before you start cutting the tubes. Therefore, you can’t make any mistakes with steel welding. Need to add, move or subtract a rail? No problem, just modify as required and you are all done!
Easier to work with
Aluminum extrusion is more versatile and more flexible than welded steel, which makes it easier to work with. The key features that allow this are the extrusion’s modular T-slot design. It’s as simple as inserting a connector into the T-slot and tightening. There’s no need to clamp, weld or paint. All you have to do is piece together and tighten the connectors with basic hand tools. T-slots let you attach components at any time and any location – it doesn’t get much easier than that.
Strong and corrosion resistant
Some engineers question the structural integrity of aluminum material. However, profiles can be made as strong as needed. There are many different profile sizes with varying wall thicknesses so picking the right profile based on the application will make for a successful solution. Cold-weather applications made with aluminum fair particularly well as the aluminum actually becomes stronger as the temperature drops. Anodized Aluminum is also corrosion resistant, which means that it will not rust and it holds up well in an exterior environment.
It’s cleaner too
With aluminum extrusion, the finish is much cleaner than welding. As you may know, welding is the process of joining two materials together by causing coalescence. This can be potentially hazardous and extremely dirty. Obviously, welding creates a permanent joint. Therefore, if the outcome is not right, parts will need to be fixed or replaced later. With aluminum extrusion, parts come together and apart easily and without the mess or hassle. Plus, there is no additional time needed to refine the welded joints.
Considering using aluminum extrusion for your next project? The staff at Framing Tech welcomes the opportunity to earn your business! Please contact us, you can call, email or stop in for a tour today and our sales engineering team will be more than happy to provide you with assistance.