Machine shops make plastic and metal parts for large manufacturing machinery. Materials are welded, ground and drilled to make the desired parts for industries such as automotive, aircraft and power generation. These environments expose the equipment to mineral particles like salt, silica and coal dust that can damage some alloys. The machining industry needs alloys that:
- Perform well in demanding environments.
- Provide low friction.
- Have excellent wear resistance.
- Make equipment more reliable by eliminating unexpected repairs.
- Support increased uptime.
- Carry more load.
- Last longer.
- Require less maintenance.
Aluminum is a workable, strong metal often used for industrial applications, making it common in many machine shops.
Common Aluminum Alloys for Machining
Aluminum alloys are among the best for machining because it:
- Is highly machinable since it is easy to shape and chips easily.
- Is a low-cost material.
- Suits different machining applications based on its composition.
- Prolongs tool life.
- Is lightweight.
Different metals in aluminum alloys affect the alloy’s machinability. Here are the most common metals in aluminum alloy compositions:
- Magnesium: Magnesium decreases the friction between the cutting tool and the chip to tighten the chip’s curl. It also makes the alloy stronger and improves its ability to be hardened.
- Copper: Copper improves the alloy’s ability to be hardened as well as its overall strength. An aluminum/copper alloy is not the best choice for welding applications.
- Silicon: Silicon increases the friction and abrasion on the cutting tool. Aluminum-silicon alloys are ideal for casting because the silicon lowers the alloy’s melting temperature and increases its fluidity.
Each aluminum alloy has unique mechanical features, giving you many options to choose from when deciding which you need for your machining part. Choose the right aluminum alloy for your applications by considering these factors:
- Corrosion resistance
- Heat treatment
Where Alloys for Machining Are Used
The mechanical properties of aluminum alloys make them excellent materials for parts made for further machining, including:
- Bushings: Bushings — also called sliding bearings or plain bearings — are a type of spacer placed on shafts that reduce the friction between the support members and the rotating shafts. Since aluminum is a stiff and strong metal, aluminum alloy bushings offer rigidity. In machine shops, these parts are frequently used on large presses.
- Bearings: A bearing reduces friction between moving parts to ensure only the desired motions are being made. Bearings made from aluminum alloys have excellent thermal conductivity, corrosion resistance, wear resistance, fatigue strength and load-carrying capacity.
- Wear plates: A wear plate reduces friction between two parts to prevent them from getting worn down quickly. The aluminum alloy is laid over a shock-absorbing metal plate and offers high tensile strength, low friction and formability.
Request a Quote From Warner Brothers Foundry Company Today
For more than 65 years, Warner Brothers Foundry Company has served the machine shop industry with top-notch alloys for machine parts. We produce high-quality metal castings that will exceed the expected mechanical properties for specialized alloys. For more information, call one of our representatives at 586-773-0858 or complete our online contact form.