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How to Improve Aesthetics While Reducing Costs

The purpose of this white paper is to show some of the advantages of using the aluminum extrusion process as illustrated by the Alex-Cube business card holder. Our papers address innovative ways to use aluminum extrusions while giving you the versatility necessary for your new project designs.

The aluminum extrusion process provides design techniques and features that are many and varied in their applications. This paper will focus on improving and enhancing the aesthetics of your product in the extrusion design at no cost. By adding certain extruded features you can improve manufacturing yields, reduce or eliminate secondary mechanical or chemical finishing operations, thus actually reducing the part cost.

The extrusion process is a semi-continuous process, which occurs at a temperature slightly below the melting point of aluminum. Each extrusion cycle can produce an extrusion up to 200 feet long, exiting the extrusion press at approximately 950° F. These factors can have a definite impact on the cosmetic appearance of the extrusion, especially on large flat surfaces. At these elevated temperatures the surfaces are prone to scratching and abrasion.

One method of minimizing this impact is to build features into the extrusion die to break up these flat exposed surfaces. The features include such things as scallops (M), raised knobs (L), appearance lines (K), and drill lines or appearance grooves (C). Please refer to the Alex-Cube business card holder that you received previously and the enclosed drawing. These distinctive characteristics used independently or in combination with each other reduce the contact area, thus minimizing scratching. These features also add significant dimension to the part, improving the aesthetic appearance. The extruded features simply increase the “perceived value” of the design and finished product, again at no additional cost.

Design checklist for aesthetics:

  • Alloy selection
  • Wall thickness of profile
  • Wall thickness transition areas
  • Extruded features to break up wide flat surfaces

If you have experienced cosmetic problems in the past, or are looking to enhance the aesthetics of your next design, consider the many advantages of the aluminum extrusion process and the ideas presented here. If you have questions or need assistance with your designs, please contact your sales specialist.