Robust long material: metal profiles
A profile is a long material with a constant cross-sectional geometry. Profiles are standard semi-finished products in the processing industry. They are mainly used for static tasks. Metal profiles have proved to be particularly suitable due to their simple production and processing, good reusability and high bending strength.
Production of a metal profile
The following processes are used to manufacture metal profiles:
- Edging and bending
- Edging, bending and welding
- Continuous casting
Edging profiles consist of thin, folded sheet steel. It is formed into the desired cross-sectional geometry on an edging or bending machine. A distinction is made between open and closed sheet metal profiles. L and U profiles are open. Q (square), R (rectangle) or round profiles are closed. The profile is permanently joined with a weld seam. A typical closed round profile is, for example, the tube welded in a longitudinal or spiral seam.
The continuous casting process is ideal for the production of profiles. In this primary moulding process, liquid metal is poured into a movable mould. The bottom of the mould is lowered at the same speed as fresh liquid metal is poured in. A circulating jet of water cools the metal and accelerates its solidification.
The most common continuous cast profiles are solid profiles with a round cross-section. They are produced as pre-material for turned components.
In addition, the various beams with L, U, I or double-T cross-sections are produced as standard using the continuous casting process. A typical example of continuously cast profiles are double-T beams.
Hollow profiles cannot be produced in the continuous casting process.
Extrusion refers to the forming of extruded profiles into a different cross-section by heat and pressure. To do this, the material is heated to the kneading melt and pressed through a die at high pressure. A typical example of extruded profiles are aluminium window frames.
Cast profiles are relatively rare, but are occasionally used. Cast steel is much more brittle than continuous cast or extruded profiles. This limits its usability.
Use of metal profiles
Metal profiles are a central building element in all construction mechanics and are used for many applications. Metal profiles can be extensively machined and thus adapted to their specific use. Typical forms of machining for metal profiles are as follows:
- Machining (drilling, tapping, milling)
- Sawing and cutting to length
Bending metal profiles is a particular challenge. Any cross-section that goes beyond simple round tubes is extremely demanding in terms of bending. For successful bending processes of profiles with angular or complex cross-sections, adapted bending machines are required. However, these then guarantee consistent quality.