How Are Steel Extrusions Made?

steel extrusions

Steel extrusions, whether they come in the form of tubes, rods, angles, or channels, are the unsung heroes of countless construction projects. Their inherent strength and durability make them an exceptionally long-lasting option, while their versatility makes them suitable for all kinds of applications.

Despite being so widespread, however, not many people know the process behind how steel extrusions are actually made – the process aptly called ‘extrusion’. Lucky for you, that’s what we’re here to reveal today!

At MG Metals, we specialise in supplying a wide range of stainless and mild steel extrusions, each custom-cut for the needs of your project. Below, we’ll go in-depth on the process behind how these universally useful pieces are made.

1. Billet Preparation and Heating

The first step in the steel extrusion process is to prepare a billet, a small piece of metal that’s rectangular or circular in shape. This billet is heated to a specific temperature, typically around 1,100°C, which makes it malleable and easier to work with. Heating is done using a variety of methods, such as induction heating, flame heating, or furnace heating.

2. Extrusion Pressing

The heated billet is then placed in an extrusion press, which consists of a container for the billet and a ram or screw mechanism to apply pressure. The press exerts a very high pressure on the billet, forcing it through a specially designed die. The die has an opening that shapes the steel into the desired cross-sectional profile.

3. Die Designing

The die is a key component in the extrusion process. It’s a tool with an opening that defines the shape of the final product. Dies are typically made of hardened steel to withstand the high pressures and temperatures involved in the extrusion process. Dies can be designed for a wide range of shapes, including rods, tubes, channels, and more.

4. Extrusion Cooling

The extruded steel then goes through a cooling process to harden it and improve its mechanical properties. This can involve air or water cooling, depending on the specific requirements of the steel and the extrusion process.

5. Steel Cutting

The extruded steel is then cut to the desired lengths. This can be done while the steel is still hot or after it has cooled. Various methods can be used, such as sawing or shearing.

6. Heat Treatment (Optional)

Depending on the steel’s intended use and properties, heat treatment may be applied to improve its mechanical or physical characteristics. Common types of heat treatment include annealing, normalising, quenching, and tempering.

7. Finishing

The extruded steel may go through some extra steps to improve its strength or appearance. Surface treatments, like pickling, passivation, and galvanising, along with coatings such as paint, powder coating, and electroplating, are common ways to do this.

Shop Premium-Quality Steel Extrusions By MG Metals

MG Metals is the UK’s leading provider of custom-cut steel components. We specialise in delivering precision-cut pieces that perfectly meet your specific requirements, no matter how complex.

We understand that time is of the essence, so we strive to process and ship your order within 2-5 days. This way, you can get on with the next phase of your project in as short a time as possible.

Get a quote on steel extrusions online or call us on 01794 521070 today. Our team of experts are always happy to help you find the perfect solution for your needs, so don’t hesitate to get in touch!