How to customize your aluminum parts?

Understand how your parts are made, you would understand much better how your supplier could be helpful to your manufacturing business.

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Now you’ve passed the design phase and wanna produce the parts, and you have been talking with potential suppliers and would like to choose the right one. It would be beneficial for you to learn how your parts are made from aluminum extrusion, including the design evaluation and modification, necessary toolings, method of processing, ways of delivering.

Sign an NDA

If your design is confidential and you are worrying if the design will go public to all of your competitors, the first thing you need to do is to sign an NDA (Non-disclosure Agreement) with the supplier before sending the part design. It is a way of protection for your intellectual property.

Send parts file for evaluation and confirmation

After signing the NDA, your supplier will get your parts file and start evaluating the feasibility and confirming with you the drawings. All dimensions and tolerances will be confirmed, and then an extrusion drawing will be present for confirmation by both sides. It is the preparation for the tooling development.

What most are included in the drawing are:

  • Required alloy

Aluminum Alloy varies from 1000 series to 7000 series, all of which is with different properties. If you are not familiar with the alloy, pls go to our alloy page for further information.

  • Required finish

Finish, also called the surface treatment, is added to the purpose of enhancing the property of the aluminum parts. It is required for most industrial parts. Aluphant provides various solutions to it, pls check more details on our finish page.

  • Dimension and tolerances , including those for the processing and extrusion.

Note: The experienced supplier will determine the methods of post-processing for the parts manufacturing, and if sometimes you don’t have the CAD drawing for the extrusion cross-section of the parts, he will make the new drawing which is based on the original one but with additional thickness added to the original design for the purpose of post-processing.

Make the toolings for parts manufacturing.

After the technical drawing is confirmed, the supplier starts making the tooling. It is necessary for the coming production, including the extrusion and post-processing.

Extrusion Tooling:

Make sure it is 100% functionalized for stable performance during material production. There are types of aluminum extrusion, so there will be different types of extrusion toolings. The engineer will determine the type and start making the tooling accordingly.

Stocks of different extrusion tooling

Regular maintenance for the extrusion tooling to make it smooth and clean for extrusion.

Post-processing tooling:

Customized all these toolings for samples production and mass production. To ensure the parts manufacturing, all these tooling should be ready for post-processing.

CNC Machining Fixture:

It is for the purpose of fixing the parts during the machining, which could be very simple or complicated. Charges for the fixtures should be evaluated case by case. Fixtures at multiple quantities sometimes are needed to one part that is with much more complicated design during the different processing steps.

We made 7 fixtures in total for machining this part.

Bending fixture and inspection tooling:

The fixture is to fix both ends of the aluminum extrusion during the bending process. And the inspection tool is for checking the tolerance of bending. Most of the bending aluminum extrusion will be joined together in a circle or wave design, so it is important to bend all material at precise tolerance for the assembling. For this purpose, the inspection is very important as workers could quickly check if each piece of the material is within the required specification.

It is one of the bending materials that we supply to clients in Spain, who is the world brand of lighting.

Note: The bending material is required to be very precise at the angle and plainness. Thus we prefer to have an inspection tool ready before mass production to avoid quality issues. But according to our experiences, there are still other factors that lead to some failed results. It might take time for sampling before we could confirm that all factors are good enough to be under control.

Stamping tooling:

This tooling should be 100% customized as different designs have totally different patterns, such as hole patterns, wave patterns. But we always require our client to have this tooling ready when mass production begins. This is because CNC machining could be the replacement of the stamping and we could help machine some samples for the client.

Note: There are many methods of processing for your parts manufacturing and we need to evaluate case by case to confirm the best option for your specific demands. Welcome to contact us if you have a part file ready and are seeking a solution for it.

Produce the sample

The sample is for quality checking and improvement. After the drawing confirmation and tooling development, we would start producing the samples. It can be free sometimes, but in some cases, it also would be charged as we have to invest time and money. But all of the time spent is for the success of the project that you are working on.

Quality checking: to confirm dimension, tolerance, alloy properties, plainness.

  • Use gauges to check dimensions and tolerances and present dimensional report.
  • Use professional equipment to check alloy properties and present the certificate of material.
  • Use gauges and some specific equipment to check plainess

6063 alloy certificate: containing the values of each metal composition, and alloy strength.

Quality improvement: to confirm the assembling of the parts and check their real application

A component to joint or assemble with the aluminum parts is required by the supplier. It is for the purpose of checking and confirming if the sample of the parts is qualified for your application. A qualified sample would fit the requirements of material, finish, dimension specified in the drawing.

Mass production

All mass production will follow the set-up quality standard and processing flow. QC will be arranged to stay close to each step of the processing, including the aluminum extrusion, post-processing, finishing, and packing.

Produce the aluminum extrusion

It is the first step for your parts manufacturing and it will decide how perfect the parts will perform to your requirements.

  • Timing Plan: We set up timing plan for the extrusion and the accurate timing should be evaluated case by case. Some design will takes 7-12 days and some complicated design should takes over 25 days.
  • Quality criteria: According to the technical drawing that is confirmed by both sides, we set up the quality criteria for our QC man to follow. What mostly are included is dimension and tolerance checking, plainness checking, deforming checking.

Note: Pls go to our aluminum extrusion page to see how we control the quality.

Aluminum extrusion production line.

Proceed the post-processing for parts

When all extrusion is ready, the post-processing will be arranged. There are several main methods of post-processing, and we understand how to control and confirm the quality with it. We own CNC machines ( 3-axis), and we have to subcontract with other factories for stamping, bending, and welding. While we still have quality control standards for all these subcontractors.

During the post-processing, much more attention would be paid to the quality, including plainness for machining ( will decide the tolerances to be achieved). The regular checking for critical and even dimension will be arranged during the days of production. It is to make sure that we could follow each step of the machining and when mistakes are found, we could stop the production and have modifications on methods and toolings. In this way, we could save time as possible as we can to avoid falling behind the production schedule.

CNC machining center, parts could be machined with a max length of 4.5 M, and a max width of 1.5 M.

Note: If you are interested in our capacity, pls go to our CNC machining page.

Add finishing to the parts

We set up procedures for the parts manufacturing accordingly, and most of the parts would be added surface treatment after the post-processing, while some need surface treatment before the post-processing.

Regular surface treatment to aluminum parts is Anodizing, Powder Coating, and a reliable supplier could always bring you turnkey solutions to fulfill your needs.

Anodizing:

It is one of the commonly used finish for aluminum extrusion part. It can color the body of the material to enhance its ornaments, at the same time improve the wear resistance, corrosion resistance.

  • Color of anodizing could be tailored according to your sample.
  • Thickness of anodizing coating varies to max 70 um( called Hard Anodizing)
  • The cost for anodizing is quite different for parts with different length and weight.

Anodizing Production Line.

We are checking the anodizing coating thickness for small parts. Results are 35 um.

Powder Coating:

The powder coating is the coating technology that adds protective layers to the surface of the part in order to improve its durability and ornament.

  • All RAL color could be tailored to your powder-coated parts.
  • Coating thickness is 40-100 um
  • The lifespan of the coating is 5-15 years.
Powder coating line – vertical type

To confirm the quality criteria of the finish, Pls follow :

  • Send us the samples
  • Produce samll quantity of parts
  • Check and confirm the quality

Packing and delivery

When all parts are ready, we will arrange the packing and delivery. The method is different based on quantity and length, but the purpose is the same for the protection of the goods and easy unloading at your side.

Packing

  • We provide EPE/PE foam for inside pack and 5-layers carton outside for free.
  • Customized material include the plywood carton ( Non-fumigation), plastics protective material.

Delivery

Small quantity: We normally ship small quantities by DHL/FEDEX with customized packing.

Bulk quantity: To deliver the goods by sea, we work with the local professional shipping agents to get the voyage with suitable timing for your delivery.

Find the partner that scale with you.

No matter you are seeking a supplier for an existing design, or you have a plan to develop a new part, it is always better to understand how your parts are made and you could understand how the supplier could help in the future. This article is for this purpose and if you still have doubts, pls contact us through the Contact pages.

We aspire to hear from you and are glad to support you in all ways.

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Koma Su
Koma Su
Hi, I’m Koma Su, the founder of Aluphant. I’ve been engaging in the business of supplying CNC-machined aluminum extrusion for 6 years now, and the purpose of this article is to share with you the knowledge related to aluminum extrusion from a Chinese supplier’s perspective.
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Seeking improvement for your parts manufacturing? 

A professional supplier will always help optimize your parts manufacturing for cost-saving and support you all the way for the business.

Wanna make new parts from aluminum extrusion,but get constrained by the design? The Parts Design Guidance would be helpful!

We provide professional Guidance on design feasibility and modification,  with rich experiences in various solutions to fulfill your expectation.

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