The extrusion process requires attention to many little details. Any missteps or inadvertent omissions can lead to a poor quality product. For that reason, it’s important to gain as much extrusion knowledge as possible, so you can differentiate the various levels of quality. Patrick Metals understands what needs to be done so that every piece meets the highest tolerance standards, demonstrates strength in all the right places and displays the kind of smoothness that eliminates unsightly waves and twists.

Our mission is not only to create superior extruded products, but also to share this professional knowledge with our customers – so that you can be confident you are getting the best possible value for your money. This detailed primer on extrusions, aluminum alloys, the tempering process and more is our friendly gift to you. We invite you to review this relevant information at your convenience and to use this new knowledge in making your future extrusion specifying decisions.

Patrick Metals offers a full line of alloys that work effectively as bus conductor extruded products. Each has its own unique characteristics and special applications and uses. The most popular alloys that we provide include 6005, 6060, 6061, 6063, 6101 and 6105. Here is a brief description of their properties. (click on an Alloy below for more information)

Alloy 6005

Alloy 6005 is a wrought alloy that is commonly heat treated to create tempers with heightened strength but lower ductility. This medium strength alloy features excellent corrosion resistance and has good finishing characteristics, handling common anodizing methods very well. It can sometimes be used interchangeably with 6061 because of their similar properties. The most common temper for 6005 is T5, which denotes cooling from an elevated temperature for the shaping process, followed by artificially aging. Typical applications for alloy 6005 include: automotive connector stock, ladder structures, handrail tubing and seamless tubing.

6005 Tempering Conditions
Standard Tempers
F As fabricated, with no special thermal controls or mechanical property limits
T1 Cooled at an elevated temperature and naturally aged for additional strength
T5 Cooled at an elevated temperature, then naturally aged to enhance strength

Alloy 6060

Alloy 6060 is a wrought alloy in the aluminum/magnesium/silicon family. Closely related to 6063, it is typically heat treated for higher strength with lower ductility. It is suitable for anodizing and decorative finishes, giving it a certain amount of versatility. This popular alloy is also known for its corrosion resistance and weldability, and it exhibits good cold formability, especially in temper T4. Alloy 6060 is used frequently for complex shapes and cross sections. Common applications for alloy 6060 include: Lighting and architectural sections, interior fittings and frame sections, railings, fences, electro-motor housings, truck and trailer flooring, office equipment and irrigation, heating and cooling pipes.

6060 Tempering Conditions
Standard Tempers
O Annealed, to achieve lower strength temper
T4 Solution heated treated and naturally aged
T5 Cooled at an elevated temperature and naturally aged for additional strength
T6 Solution heated treated and naturally aged, with press quenching required
T64 Solution heated treated, precipitation hardened, and under aged to improve formability
T66 Cooled from an elevated temperature and artificially aged to a higher level of mechanical properties. Press quenching required.

Alloy 6061

This precipitation-hardened alloy features the highest strength of all 6000 series alloys, trading its surface finish for that strength. Although it is more difficult to extrude than the other popular alloys, it has good mechanical properties and exhibits easy weldability, making it a common choice for general purpose use. At Altec we produce wrought alloys such as the 6061 in a wide variety of tempers, for use in standard and custom orders, both solid and hollow shapes, including rods and bars, seamless and structural pipe and tube. Common applications for alloy 6061 include: aircraft construction, boats and watercraft, bicycle frames, heat exchangers, air coolers and heatsinks.

6061 Tempering Conditions
Standard Tempers
F As fabricated, with no special thermal controls or mechanical property limits
O Annealed, to achieve lower strength temper
T1 Cooled from an elevated shaping process and naturally aged for additional strength
T4, T4511 Solution heat treated and naturally aged
T51 Solution cooled from an elevated shaping process, then artificially aged for enhanced accuracy, especially important for close tolerance specifications
T6, T6511 Heat treated, then artificially aged

Alloy 6063

The most common of all extrusion alloys, 6063 is a medium strength alloy that displays a favorable surface finish, as well as good corrosion resistance, including stress corrosion and cracking. It also offers weldability, good formability and solid anodizing qualities in both matte and lustrous finish tempers. We produce 6063 primarily in rods, bars, tubes and profiles. Since 6063 is often designated for aesthetic applications, it may require special packaging to protect exposed areas. Common applications for alloy 6063 include: doors and windows, architectural fabrication, pipe and tube for irrigation, trims, heatsinks, road and rail transport.

6063 Tempering Conditions
Standard Tempers
F As fabricated, with no special thermal controls or mechanical property limits
O Annealed for the lowest strength temper
T1 Cooled at an elevated temperature and naturally aged for additional strength
T4 Heat treated, without cold working afterward, and naturally aged to a substantially stable condition
T5, T52, T53, T54, T55 Cooled from an elevated temperature shaping process, and then artificially aged
T6 Solution is heat-treated, then artificially aged. The mechanical property limits are not affected by cold working.
Special Tempers
T4S6 Provides maximum formability in the naturally aged condition to T6
T6S5 Results in good formability and meets standard 6063 – T6 minimum properties levels

Alloy 6101

Alloy 6101 is a heat treatable wrought alloy that is popular for extrusions requiring moderate strength with optimum electrical conductivity. Though similar in many ways to Alloy 6103, it has key chemical differences that make it particularly effective as an electrical conductor. We produce 6101 as extruded rods, bars and beams, primarily in bus conductor applications featuring sharp radius corners, but also for other electrical uses. Because 6101 is available in a variety of temper conditions, there is no need for additional heat treating. These various tempers allow a generous amount of design flexibility through their different strengths and levels of formability and conductivity. You can easily extrude and weld alloy 6101, which exhibits corrosion resistance, bendability and, of course, both electrical and thermal conductivity. Alloy 6101 meets ASTM B 317 specs for a variety of tempers featuring different conductivity levels and mechanical properties. Common applications for alloy 6101 include: electrical bus conductor products, power transmissions and power stations.

6101 Tempering Conditions
Standard Tempers
F As fabricated, with no special thermal controls or mechanical property limits
T6 The solution is heat treated and aged by artificial means to maximum mechanical properties.
T61 Over-aged tempering and a higher degree of conductivity, but featuring lower mechanical property levels than T6
T63 Known as an “in between” temper, with conductivity somewhere higher than T6, but lower than T61
T64 This partially annealed temper is best for optimum formability, with highest conductivity.
T65 Medium strength and conductivity, with a controlled variance of tensile and yield strengths to keep bending reproducibility under control
Special Tempers
T61P Same conductivity as standard T61, but with a maximum available on the yield strength for consistency in bending performance
T64P Same conductivity as standard T64, but with a maximum yield limit for better consistency as it relates to bending performance

Alloy 6105

Alloy 6105 is one of the least used alloys in the 6xxx series. Supplied in heat-treated form, it is a wrought aluminum/magnesium/silicon composition. This alloy offers good corrosion resistance and medium strength, though its tensile strength and yield strength are ultimately determined by its heat treatment process. That being said, most of the alloy’s applications require only moderate strength, with minimal impact or risk of overloading. In addition, alloy 6105 can be brazed, using various commercial methods, and shows good weldability, though welding heat can reduce the alloy’s strength. Popular applications for alloy 6105 include: automobile connector stock, ladder structures and other structural members, hand rail tubing and seamless tubing.

6105 Tempering Conditions
Standard Tempers
F As fabricated, with no special thermal controls or mechanical property limits
T1 Cooled at an elevated temperature and naturally aged for additional strength
T5 Cooled at an elevated temperature, then naturally aged to enhance strength

A temper designation system is used for all forms of wrought and cast aluminum alloys, with the exception of ingot. The system derives from the sequences of basic treatments that help to produce the different tempers, with the designations consisting of certain corresponding letters. Some 6000 Series alloys achieve the same specific mechanical properties, whether furnace solution heat treated or cooled from an elevated temperature shaping process. In these cases, the temper designations T3, T4, T6, T7, T8 and T9 are used to reference either process. Here are some of the basic temper designations:

F Fabricated This applies to products that, in the process of shaping, no special control over thermal conditions or strain hardening is employed. For wrought products, there are no mechanical property limits.
O Annealed These are wrought products that are annealed (heat treated) to arrive at the lowest strength temper, as well as cast products that are annealed to improve ductility and dimensional stability.
H Strain-Hardened These are wrought products only, strengthened through strain-hardening, with or without supplementary thermal treatments to achieve some reduction in strength.
W Heat-Treated This is an unstable temper applicable only to alloys that spontaneously age at room temperature after solution heat treatment.
T Thermally Treated This process is conducted to produce stable tempers other than F, O or H, and applies only to thermally treated products with or without strain-hardening. The T is always followed by one or more digits.

Patrick Metals offers a wide range of dies, available from our standard shapes catalog or as custom designs to your exact specifications. We have many years of experience designing and creating dies for a variety of applications. A member of our quality die-making team will be happy to discuss the characteristics of the die best suited for your application. In brief, here are the two major categories of dies that we offer for your extruded component:

  • Solid Die – Solid dies produce shapes without any voids. A solid die is a steel disc with a hole that matches your desired shape.
  • Hollow Die – Hollow dies produce shapes with enclosed voids. A hollow die requires more machining than solid dies, leading to a more expensive product.