How is aluminium fabrication used in the automotive industry?
The automotive industry is one that makes great use of fabrication engineering in many processes. Of all the metals involved, aluminium is amongst the most used due to its beneficial properties.
Find out how aluminium fabrication works, its uses in the automotive industry, and how it can be applied in a range of manufacturing projects.
Aluminium Fabrication Explained
Prior to fabrication, raw aluminium can be formed using the following processes:
- Casting – molten metal allowed to cool in a desired shape.
- Forging – the shaping of metal using compressive force. Can be done at a range of temperatures.
- Rolling – metal is passed between specially designed rollers that shape aluminium by rotating in opposite directions.
- Extrusion – forcing metal through an opening to create a shape.
Aluminium fabrication then shapes the metal according to designs through bending, cutting, welding, drilling, or a combination of all four. Within this process there are many options available to businesses for how they want to go about aluminium fabrication.
Bespoke metal fabrication can be used to manufacture a vast range of products. However, aluminium has many properties which make it especially useful for manufacturing technical products like cars. It’s impermeable, lightweight, corrosion-resistant, flexible, and has a high level of conductivity.
Automotive applications of Aluminium Fabrication
The automotive industry is one of the biggest in the world, particularly when it comes to manufacturing. The global automotive manufacturing industry was worth $2.86 trillion in 2021, despite the Covid-19 pandemic causing a dip in car sales during 2020. The sales of electric cars are also predicted to rise to the point where they’ll contribute to 26% of all car sales. This is significant, as electrically powered vehicles use more aluminium than petrol vehicles due to their use of sensitive electrical components.
The main aluminium alloys you’ll find being used in automotive manufacturing are: 1100, 2024, 3003, 3004, 3105, 4032, 5005, 5052, 5083, 5182, 5251, 5754, 6016, 6061, 6181, 7003 and 7046. These numbers refer to the metal’s temper grade. Here are the auto parts that aluminium fabrication is used for:
Aluminium alloys are lightweight and as such, they’re used in car bodies to improve fuel efficiency. They also help protect the vehicle from weather conditions and maintain surface finish.
As aluminium is flexible, customisation options can easily be applied to bodywork with fabrication techniques like welding. Examples include spoilers and body skirts.
Electrical components often use copper for its high conductivity. Aluminium’s electrical conductivity is lower, however, it has the added benefit of being lightweight. Aluminium fabrication can be used in the following auto systems:
- Interior and exterior lighting
Parts that are responsible for the functionality of a vehicle are designed to withstand stress, resist wear and tear, and malleability. Aluminium is therefore used in:
- Engine parts
- Transmission system
- Fuel supply systems
- Power steering
Metal parts in car interiors like seats, flooring, airbags and insulators are typically made of aluminium. For this, 1100, 3105 and 5052 alloys can be used.
Experienced Aluminium Fabricators
If you’re looking for aluminium fabrication near me in the north of England, FEM can help. We offer bespoke metal fabrication services for businesses across a variety of sectors, in many types of projects. Have a look at our case studies. FEM experts can also carry out machining, design, and help with project management.
Get in touch for a free quote today.