Aluminium encyclopaedia

Processing

Processing technology covers all treatments used to manufacture finished products from items that have undergone prior manufacturing.

Processing of aluminium means the manufacture of products (for example windows for building construction, rail vehicles or heat exchangers) from semi-finished products (rolled products such as strip or sheet, extruded products such as profiles) and cast products.

The basic working processes are heat treatment, joining (for example adhesive bonding, riveting and welding), surface treatment (such as anodising and coating) and machining (sawing, drilling, turning, milling and cutting).

Formability expresses the sum total of those material properties that are important in processing and thus influence the choice of process and also the quality of the products. For example, hard, brittle and high melting point metals (such as molybdenum and titanium) can only be drilled, welded or deformed with difficulty - they are thus relatively difficult to work. Thanks to their properties (high strength, low hardness and density, low melting point), aluminium and its alloys are; by contrast, said to have good workability - they can usually be easily drilled, joined, sawn, welded and worked.