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Posted by Judie Langford on Feb 4, 2015 in Business

Why is 6061 Aluminum the Most Versatile Alloy in Manufacturing?

Why is 6061 Aluminum the Most Versatile Alloy in Manufacturing?

Aluminum is a soft, lightweight metal that is highly conductive to heat, cold and electricity. Scientists have developed aluminum alloys to add positive mechanical properties such as strength and weldability for use in manufacturing a wide variety of precision parts. With these additions, aluminum has become even more versatile than ever. One of the most commonly used alloys in 6061 – it can be found in all kinds of products we commonly see and use.

6061 Aluminum Properties
Also known as “Alloy 61S,” this popular alloy has Silicon, Manganese, Magnesium and Zinc as well as 96 to 98 percent aluminum. This creates a strong metal with elongation properties for shaping and tooling this material. The addition of silicon and magnesium makes the material especially suitable for heat treatments for shaping and processing metal for useful parts.

Twenty Most Common Applications
1. Automobile parts such as brake components
2. Valves
3. Couplings
4. Scuba tanks are lighter and can hold more volume of air
5. Aluminum cans for beverages and foodstuff
6. Stock shelving
7. Commercial storage units
8. Rain gutters
9. Industrial parts
10. ATV parts
11. Aerospace and aircraft components
12. Marine fittings
13. Bicycle frames
14. Camera lenses
15. Driveshafts
16. Electrical fittings and connectors
17. Precision parts requiring tight tolerances in the cutting edge
18. Aluminum docks and gangways
19. Firearm sound suppressants
20. Fishing rods and reels

The extrusion process heats the metal into a “roll” and is then pushed through a die to make a long, continuous rod in various shapes and configurations. One common extrusion are the rain gutters installed on the roof edges of buildings. Other uses include struts for shelving, boxes and other applications.

The alloy is a particular favorite with metal engineers to heat the material and forge it through a die. This produces highly complex industrial parts. It is especially popular for producing automotive and ATV parts to make vehicles lightweight without sacrificing strength.

Most Common Alloy Available Today
Developed in 1935, the 6061 Aluminum Alloy is available in:
1. Bars
2. Plates
3. Tubes
4. Rods
5. Pipes

6061 Aluminum excels in applications requiring corrosion resistance to seawater, and atmospheric conditions – yet it can be anodized, and provides a good surface finish – making it truly a very versatile alloy.

Howard Precision Metals, Inc. is your expert provider of aluminum precision cutting. Visit