Aluminium is used in numerous industries and is extremely popular amongst engineers, aircraft manufacturers, car manufacturers, in power generation and even MacBooks. Aluminium is a lightweight, yet sturdy metal making it a great candidate for machining purposes. Advanced techniques have emerged for machining aluminum over the past few years, the development of high speed machining techniques, along with with fast metal removal strategies have increased aluminum cutting speeds. For example, aluminum can be sawn at a higher speed than steel and can also be cut so as not to create burrs. Generally, machining costs are lower than with many other metals and the high speed at which some of the process can be completed, can offer significant labour cost savings.
There is one drawback to using aluminium however, aluminium is very soft and therefore is not an easy metal to work with unless you have the right tools. Cutting aluminum or drilling holes in it is difficult as the softness of the metal hinders the cutting and drilling process often distorting the metal or damaging its structure. However, its softness means it can be worked in a variety of ways including pressing, punching, sheared and welded. It requires specialist skills and knowledge and this is where aluminium machining comes in.
Aluminium machining is the process of milling, drilling, turning a piece of unfinished aluminium into a finished product. This can be an extremely complicated business and requires vast experience and accurate, powerful machinery. There are different types of machining and the type depends on the metal used (aluminium, steel, bronze etc.) and the purpose of machining the metal.
These days, the most common type of aluminium machining is Computer Numerical Control (CNC). CNC works by following a computer file that tells the machine what to do in steps (a bit like assembling flatpack furniture). Quality machining means following extremely accurate and specific blueprints made with CAD (computer aided design) or CAM (computer aided manufacturing) programs. These produce complex 3D diagrams or outlines that are used to manufacture the required item. By using aluminum parts machining, the process of machining is much more controlled and accurate and therefore helps to achieve better results when machining aluminium.
In a CNC machine, there’s one rotating tool that moves slowly over the unfinished metal removing areas in order to create a straight surface or the required shape. Through the aluminium machining process it’s possible to turn a square block of aluminium into virtually anything from a sphere to the blades of a fan.
The benefits of aluminium machining are obvious; as a cost cutting process it’s fantastic, from a quality perspective it’s second to none and machined aluminium is in great demand in various industries that are all continuing to grow despite the economic situation. There are a number of specialists to suit your needs, but when looking for a machining company ask to see samples of previous work to check quality.