19 Feb 2016

Extrusion Process Used to Manufacture Aluminum Bleachers Grows in Popularity

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manufacture aluminum bleachers

Extrusion process is used to manufacture aluminum bleachers

Aluminum bleachers – you know them, and more than likely have used them many times during your lifetime. They are everywhere.

Sure, aluminum bleachers are normally thought of as being used for watching your favorite sporting event, or for quick, convenient seating in a public venue.

But let’s be honest. Aluminum bleachers have been a part of our lives for all of us without so much as a second thought.

You’ve climbed them to reach your preferred seat. They are used as impromptu meeting places. You placed your food and drinks on them and probably spilled a drop or two. You’ve used them as platforms to cheer and scream for your favorite team. As an athlete, you’ve ran up them as makeshift exercise equipment.

Yet, with all this activity happening on and around them, aluminum bleachers take all that is given from crowd after crowd, and remain steadfast in their ability to always be there when it comes to seating needs for watching an event.

They are, after all, the most used and most cost-effective way to maximize the number of seated viewers for any particular space.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway holds the honor of having the largest number of bleacher-type seats, more than 257,000 of them in fact.

In addition, the Speedway has an option of adding enough temporary infield bleachers to raise the seating capacity to a staggering 400,000 plus.

Now that’s a lot of bleachers!

How to manufacture aluminum bleachers using extrusion technology


Yes, the multipurpose invention known as the aluminum bleacher seats so many people for so many different events. But what do you really know about them?

What is the process to actually manufacture aluminum bleachers? How do they come to be? And how is something so relatively light in weight so sturdy?

Well, sit back (pun intended) and let us give you an overview of the process of making aluminum bleachers.

aluminum plank

Aluminum plank

The whole process to manufacture aluminum bleacher starts with heating up “logs” of aluminum, called billets.

At higher temperatures, the billets will still be in a solid state, but they will have a remarkably malleable, almost plastic-like consistency.

After warmed through, the aluminum is swiftly sent off to the next stage, where it is then cut into more manageable lengths.

These pieces then are ready to be milled and shaped at their next stop, the extrusion process.

The extruder is akin to a more serious, more detailed Play-Doh fun factory for adults.

While pushing the billet with a whopping amount of pressure, the extruder forces the still malleable aluminum through a die forming the aluminum planks into the initial stages of becoming an aluminum bleacher. That’s how it all starts.

Here’s the key point of the extrusion process. The big advantage of aluminum extrusion manufacturing is that just like Play-Doh, this technique results in a faster way to create more consumer, construction and industrial products, such as aluminum bleachers. That process can be used to also quickly create multiple versions of a product – such as 3 row bleachers to more involved 10 row elevated aluminum bleachers.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that of all the metals on earth, aluminum is the one that is extruded the most.

The scale of production created by extrusion technology is downright awesome. According to the Aluminum Extruders Council and Aluminum.org, it is estimated that in 2014 there were 4.9 billion pounds of extruded aluminum used in the US and Canada.

Not only is that number enormous, but the use of this product is trending upward, a good testament to its success. Those shipments increased 7.6% over the number of pounds in 2013.

The main market for extruded aluminum is in building and construction – walls, doors, windows, store fronts, entrances, aluminum bleachers, etc.

The second largest segment is in transportation. More and more auto manufacturers are enjoying the many benefits of this wonder metal. One critical benefit is aluminum’s light weight, which fits in nicely with improvements in gas mileage.

Total shipments of extruded aluminum to car makers in 2014 increased by an astonishing 10% over 2013. Another factor driving this (another pun) is the government-mandated Corporate Average Fuel Economy target of 54.5 mpg set for 2025.

In fact, aluminum’s great characteristics are out of this world. Boeing built a truss to house the International Space Station with extruded aluminum tubing.

As you can see, the metal and technology to manufacture aluminum bleachers in all those stadiums is a magical one. There is an abundance of the basic bauxite ore raw materials in the ground. It’s recyclable so it saves those resources and can be reused for less. And the final product is strong, lightweight, non-corrosive and is relatively easy to mold and produce. That’s certainly a winning combination.








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