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Designing extrusions and extruded components

aluminium alloy extrusion

Extrusions are components that have the same cross-section along their entire length, formed by either pushing or pulling material through a die. When the material is pulled through a die, this is commonly called a pultrusion. Pultrusions are usually items that have multiple material compositions, often containing glass fibre that can't be pushed through a die, so they are pulled instead.

Extrusions require the production of a tooling die and depending on the complexity, sometimes more than one die is used. Liquid material is pushed through the die, and it solidifies as it exits, forming an extruded solid. This is carried by rollers and cut at pre-defined lengths. Extrusions can be made in a range of materials, commonly plastics, aluminium alloys and rubbers.

The profile of an extrusion

Extrusions can be used for many applications, but the most typical one is to produce structural elements. The profile of an extrusion is usually designed with location features to help aid fixing screws and other fasteners.

Some extrusions are used for cosmetic finishing or as cosmetic trims. These are usually simple profiles that have minimal post-production finishing. Other extrusions can be highly complex often requiring a great deal of thought to ensure they have as many features as possible. Extrusions are seldom used on their own. They usually form part of a complete assembly.

rock core analyser

Industrial enclosures designed for Oxford Instruments

We were asked to design a range of heavy-duty, scalable industrial enclosures for one of our clients, a leading provider of high technology imaging and analysis products. Having considered the possible applications, we set out to design the enclosures around an extruded frame. Designing a custom extrusion profile, we were able to fulfil the scalable requirements and provide an opportunity for multiple enclosure designs in a variety of sizes. The extrusion we designed was used to produce various rack and rock core analyser enclosures. We incorporated several features on the extrusion to allow panels to be fitted to it and channels for screws on the ends and perpendicular faces.

The cost of extruding

Tooling costs are relatively low, but most suppliers will have a minimum length order quantity. Most suppliers can also cut extrusions to specified lengths and provide post-extrusion processing, including spray or powder-coat finishing.

extrusion sample

An extrusion with an acrylic finish

We can design custom extrusions for any application. If your project requires a custom extrusion, get in touch with us today to see how we can help you.