Aluminum sheet is the most commonly used form of industrial aluminum. It is used in several applications including construction for building facades, packaging for can bodies and ends, transportation for auto body sheets, and aerospace for the skins of planes.
Take-Away Facts About Aluminum Sheets
The process for creating aluminum sheets starts with aluminum plate.
Producing Aluminum Plate
The rolling for this starts with preheated sheet ingots. These will usually weigh over 20 tons. Because the size of the rolling mills that are used today have increased, so has the size of the ingots. However, the traditional ingot is about six feet in width by 20 feet in length.
The ingot will be heated to the preferred rolling temperature and then fed into the breakdown mill. At this point, it will be rolled in a back-and-forth motion until the thickness is reduced to just a few inches.
The slab will then be subsequently cold rolled, or it can be heat treated, which can help increase the total strength. The highest strength alloys will be heat treated and then quickly cooled to the room temperature. At this point, they are stretched to fully straighten and relieve any internal stress that was built up during the rolling and the heat-treating process.
The plates will then be aged naturally at the room temperature. Another option is to artificially age them in a furnace. This is going to help create the desired combination of corrosion resistance and strength. After that, the plate can be trimmed to the desired size. When a plate is created in this manner, it can be used at the full thickness; however, the are more commonly machined into various complex and simple shapes.
Making the Move from Aluminum Plate to Aluminum Sheet
To produce aluminum sheet, the process begins the same way the plate production process does. However, as the slab is continually rolled through the mill, the thickness is reduced and then wound into
a coil when it reaches the end of the line. The coils will then be cold rolled using one or multiple passes at the cold rolling mills. Coils can be heated in the furnace to help soften it for additional cold rolling or to produce the required mechanical properties. Cold rolling is the final step for some aluminum sheets; however, there are other types, which are called “heat treatable” that will be to additional elevated-temperature processing, which helps to increase the total strength.
There are some sheet products that will continue to be produced using an ongoing casting process where molten metal enters into the caster. This produces the hot rolled coil, which bypasses the ingot casting and the hot rolling steps in the process.
Applications for Aluminum Sheets
Aluminum sheets, which are the most commonly used type of aluminum, is found in all the main markets in the aluminum industry. With packaging, aluminum sheet is used for manufacturing packages and cans. In the transportation industry, aluminum sheet is used for manufacturing panels for tractor trailers and automobile bodies.
You will also find aluminum sheets used in the production of cookware and appliances. For building and construction industries, aluminum sheets can be formed into an array of products including awnings, carports, roofing, gutters, and siding. With sheet aluminum, it can be color-anodized to blue, red, gold, black, and hundreds of more colors. It can also be etched to a matte looking finish or polished to a beautiful sparkling brightness. If desired, aluminum sheets can also be textured so it resembles wood and then painted.
Types of Aluminum Sheets to Choose From
When it comes to aluminum sheet, there are several options to choose from. For example:
As long as you make a purchase from a reputable company, you will find that the type of aluminum sheet you require for a project can be cut to order and customized based on your needs and specifications. Because aluminum sheet is one of the most popular options in this industry, knowing what it is available as and how to use it is paramount.
Working with a Reputable Supplier
When you are ready to purchase aluminum sheet for any project, take time to find a quality supplier that can provide information, insight, and information about the products being offered. Also, a quality company can answer any questions you may have about the application you are using the aluminum sheets for.
By knowing what options, you have and how aluminum sheets can be used, you can ensure the best possible results are achieved. In the long run, this is going to pay off and provide you with the desired outcome for your project. Our team offers an array of aluminum sheet options and will ensure you get the materials needed for an affordable price.