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Rolled Aluminium – One Of The Most Versatile Materials

ByDave Stopher

Nov 16, 2021

Lightness, durability and strength are synonymous with one popular material – aluminium. These characteristics, combined with a few others, make rolled aluminium one of the most adaptable materials and is used in some of the largest markets including construction, building, packaging and transportation to mention just a small selection.  

The Processes Involved in Making Aluminium Rolled Products

Did you know that aluminium is one of the most cost-effective and energy-efficient materials? When producing end products, only 5% of the energy is required to create the primary material. It is one of the world’s most energy-efficient materials and countries all over the world have begun to implement its use in their products. Norway, for instance, started its climate and energy-efficient aluminium production plant back in 2018, for this exact reason. 

Conventional Rolling

When creating rolled products, there are many processes involved and one of the common ones is the conventional type of rolling. Usually, the starting raw material comprises heavy slabs of up to 30 tonnes each. These are heated to extreme temperatures of +/- 520°C and passed through a hot rolling mill repeatedly until the mandatory thickness is achieved.  

This can be as thin as 3mm and can be coiled up and prepped for cold rolling. This process is done several times and the slabs are passed through single or multiple cold rolling mills to reduce the metal’s thickness. This technology perfects the process and helps companies effortlessly create aluminium rolled products such as the above mentioned cold-rolled strips, discs, stamped shapes, advanced foils and thin strips, sheets and more. 

This operation changes the material’s structure and characteristics, making it ductile and soft, thus making it one of the best choices for creating a wide variety of consumer products. 

Twin-roll casting (TRC)

With this type of activity, the molten metal is pulled through two counter-rolling rolls. It helps to solidify the aluminium and relies on heat transfer. Once rolled out, it has fast cooling rates. This process is usually used to create tin foil and building sheets such as the ones used on property rooftops and foils used in kitchens. 

Strip Casting

One of the most cost-effective types is strip casting, which eliminates the need for hot rolling which sometimes can require a high capital. It is a popular practice particularly in the automotive sector and has been used for over 50 years.  

Depending on the thickness of the sheet, the time frames would range. Because sheets used in the manufacturing of vehicles can be expensive, this process helps to develop low-cost aluminium alloy sheets which can handle the same requirements.   

The Many Uses For Rolled Aluminium

Rolled aluminium is widely used in many industries, for example: 

Aviation: aircraft structures, fittings and cladding. 

Marine: interior fittings, hulls, superstructures. 

Road: cars, buses, trucks, tippers and tankers, traffic signs and lighting fixtures. 

Chemical: chemical carriers, processing plants and vessels. 

Food: handling and packaging of many food items. 

Packaging: bottles, cans, non-food products, containers and packs, wrapping and barrels.  

And many more.