Drawn Aluminum Tubing
Drawing is a metalworking process which aims at diameter reduction. Tube drawing is where a large size tube is shrunk in diameter to a smaller sized tube, by drawing the tube through a specially shaped die. Tube drawing is used as a variant of extrusion, mostly because the unique shape of the die used, and the fact that the stock bar or billet already has the desired shape of the final product, only that its bigger in diameter. Extrusion is used when the billet needs to undergo an extensive shape change to achieve a preconceived design.
Aluminum undergoes tube drawing for a variety of reasons. The most obvious ones are to increase the quality of the tubing, increase its strength, obtain a better surface finish, and of course, reduce its circumference to the desired diameter. From this, one can conclude that drawn aluminum tubing is more expensive than extruded aluminum tubing, but with regard to other factors such as the quality of the aluminum used, and the pre and post-finishing routines carried out.
To obtain drawn aluminum tubing, different drawing methods are used, depending on different factors. The first is tube sinking, where there is no use of a mandrel in the aluminum tubing being drawn. It is the most cost effective method, but with the surface finishes being compromised. Because of the low production cost, drawn aluminum tubing that has undergone the process is used in making of low cost furniture. If better surface finish is desired, rod drawing is used. It’s a more complicated process, especially since a mandrel is used, which means an additional cost to remove it after the extrusion process is complete. When an inner surface finish is desired as well, tethered plug drawing is used. It is limited to straight tubes only though.
Drawn aluminum tubing suppliers provide products with different shapes, and made of different alloys. Needless to say, the customer is given the power to choose the alloy they want, together with the shapes, which are mostly coiled, round or square. There are other requests that can be made, like heat-treating for instance, if the drawn aluminum tubing is to be used with hot water. Anodizing is done on most products, though for certainty, it is always best if the customer highlights this.
Some of the applications of aluminum tubing are use in the automotive engineering industry, making of fluid lines, conveyors, refrigeration lines and furniture.
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