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Aluminum Rolling Mills

What Is An Aluminum Rolling Mill?

Aluminum rolling mills go through the process of shaping raw aluminum into finished plates, sheets, and coils for countless applications. Aluminum is incredibly popular for manufacturing across many industries, including packaging, engineering, consumer goods, and more. This metal offers naturally beneficial characteristics, including:

  • - Corrosion resistance & recyclable

  • - Highly ductile and malleable

  • - High tensile strength

  • - One-third the weight of steel

  • - 100% recyclability

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How Does the Aluminum Rolling Mill Process Work?

Aluminum can be rolled into different sizes and lengths. From heavy plates several inches thick to paper-thin foils, rolling mills produce a wide array of aluminum products. Completed aluminum coils are cold-pressed to achieve a smooth surface. Plates and sheets are available in a sleek finish and can be manufactured with perforated, expanded or diamond plate patterns.

Aluminum products can be heat-treated, painted, and alloyed for added functions and features. The primary difference between plates, sheets and foil is thickness:

  • Foil: Up to .0079" thick

  • Sheets: From .0079" to 1/4" thick

  • Plates: 1/4" thick and up

Types of Aluminum Products that Rolling Mills Produce

1. Aluminum Plates

An aluminum plate is produced from a thick slab of aluminum shaped to the desired size. Large ingots of aluminum are heated to a workable temperature and machine-rolled to the desired thickness. Completed aluminum plates typically measure several inches in length. Large rolling mills can produce aluminum plates of enormous size, with raw ingots exceeding 20 tons. Aluminum plates can be heat treated or cold-rolled, improving the final product.

Aluminum plates are best suited for rigorous use. Plates are common in the military, maritime, transportation and aerospace industries. Aluminum performs exceptionally well in cold temperatures, making it ideal for use in extreme conditions or with hazardous materials.

2. Aluminum Sheets

Shaping an aluminum sheet begins with the same process as an aluminum plate. Aluminum plates pass through a continuous rolling mill to further reduce plate thickness. The final step for the aluminum sheet is cold rolling, where aluminum sheets are compressed between two rollers, reducing material thickness up to 50%. Cold rolling eliminates surface imperfections, enhances flexibility, and improves plate strength. Aluminum sheets can be heat treated.

Aluminum sheets are the most common form of rolled aluminum products. Aluminum sheets are used for products ranging in size and application, from automobile frames to household rolls of aluminum foil. The construction, automotive, packaging industries, and other manufacturers all depend on aluminum.

3. Aluminum Coils

Aluminum coils are continuous sheets of aluminum. Both hot and cold rolled aluminum products are available. In hot-rolled production, molten aluminum is fed continuously through the roller to create a long sheet and coiled at completion. The cold rolling process produces coils by compressing sheets and plates of aluminum, spreading material, and reducing thickness.

Aluminum coils come in all sizes for many uses. Aluminum coils keep food fresh in the kitchen and a ship's hull watertight. Coils are used in electronics manufacturing, packaging pharmaceuticals, and building automobiles.

Consulting for Aluminum Rolling Mills From HARBOR

Gain a competitive advantage with the latest, most accurate, and detailed aluminum market intelligence and insight with the subscription packages and consulting services by HARBOR Aluminum Intelligence. Now offering insight into how the rolling mill industry can become more sustainable through recycled aluminum usage. Get a bird's-eye view of your entire supply chain, access the latest intelligence on global pricing, and get to the right customer and vendor.

For more information, talk to the aluminum market specialists and expert rolling mill consultants and subscribe to our aluminum rolling mill market intelligence reports.

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