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Aluminum extrusions as an alternative to wood?

Aluminum can be a capable replacement for wood, for a different number of reasons. From building exteriors, kitchen cabinets, windows, and even doors can be made to look like wood. So, you might wonder, how do producers create this unique wood effect on aluminum? That’s the million-dollar question. 

There are mainly two processes that are known to give aluminum that appealing look and feel.

Powder coating- This is amongst the most and most prevalent type of aluminum extrusion finishing

Sublimation- These techniques are typically used when imprinting patterns after powder coating is made.

After completing the above processes, you will now have the perfect wood alternative with all the properties and benefits that come with aluminum extrusion. For this part, we are going to have a detailed look and discussion about the above processes.

Wood grain powder coating aluminum extruded

Wood grain powder coating aluminum extruded

The process of the wood creating the effect

To create or have the perfect wood textures, manufacturers usually use the techniques as mentioned earlier to create the ultimate wood texture.

Powder coating

The powder coating technique is usually broken or divided into three sections:

  • Basecoat: The powder’s base coat is usually applied to the aluminum extrusion to boost the adhesion; the powder is normally electrostatically charged.
  • Curing: All of the profiles are inserted onto the curing oven, it stays in the oven for approximately 10 minutes, which is kept at a maximum temperature of 200 degree Celsius
  • Cooling down: After the completion of the curing process, they are removed from the oven and allowed to cool. Once they are all fully called, then the sublimation process can begin.

The sublimation process has four key steps:

  • Film wrapping: A film design with decorative patterns; in this instance, the wood grain is completely wrapped around the aluminum coating.
  • Air removal: The remaining air between the profile and the film is removed; this is also to ensure that the film remains firm against the aluminum coating
  • Curing: The wrapped extrusion profiles are inserted into the oven for the curing process to begin. As it slowly heats up, all the wood grain patterns from the thin film are transferred onto the aluminum.
  • Cooling down: All the extrusion profile is removed from the oven; the thin film coating is also removed. All of the wood patterns are fully transferred to the aluminum extrusion profile at this stage of production. Cooling is done

After the completion of sublimation and powder coating, your parts and products are now ready for shipping. Most of the aluminum extrusions are designed with interlocking and complex shapes, the wood grain’s advantage gives it a more pleasant and natural look with all the benefits that come with using aluminum.

For those who are looking into wood-look extrusions, it’s a simple and straightforward process that can be done locally here in China. The best news yet is the wood options come in a wide range of pattern options providing you with a vast pool of options to select from.