ALCA5® High-Performance Aluminium Alloy (AA5083) in Automation, Robotics, and Packaging

PCP Aluminium

The field of modern production and manufacturing has less and less tolerance for error. Consequently, machine builders require the use of metals with excellent dimensional stability, machinability, weldability and corrosion resistance to meet the stringent demands of today’s market. Aluminium alloys meet many of these criteria as they are easy to mould, machine, weld and possess excellent corrosion resistance. Particularly, the alloy AA5083 stands out as a high-performance alloy due to its dimensional stability, flatness and resistance to corrosion. In this article, we will examine why this aluminium alloy, ALCA5®, is excellent for manufacturing processes.

The process of manufacturing and production employs methods such as robotics, automation and packaging. The continuous nature of these processes and their high throughput requires materials that can function continuously without a reduction in their accuracy. Aluminium cast tool and jig plate performs favourably for these applications, and a version of the AA5083 alloy, called ALCA5® from PCP Aluminium, is widely known and used.

Compared to steel machine base plates, for example, ALCA5® is lightweight (about a third of steel’s weight) and it is made from AA5083 aluminium alloy that has been relieved of internal stresses and sawed/milled to a high level of precision and flatness. ALCA5® aluminium has a constitution of 4 - 4.9% magnesium, 0.4% iron, 0.4 - 1% manganese, 0.4% silicon, 0.25% zinc, 0.15% titanium, 0.15% zirconium, 0.1% copper, and 0.05 - 0.25% chromium.

ALCA5® shows versatility in manufacturing

ALCA5® is highly suitable for manufacturing processes that involve automation, robotics and assembly systems, packaging, and injection moulding. It has a set of properties that makes it particularly useful for these applications. It has some marked advantages over other materials and aluminium alloys, especially steel. Here are the benefits of using the ALCA5® cast precision plate.

Dimensional stability

ALCA5® is made from stress-relieved (proprietary process) AA5083 aluminium, and it has excellent dimensional stability due to its near lack of residual internal stresses. Unlike other materials that may warp over as machined due to the effects of internal stresses, ALCA5® is able to retain the same dimensions as made and throughout its service life. As such, it is a popular material in the design and manufacture of automation jigs and moulds. Since jigs are required to accurately, reliably and repeatedly control the movement of other tools in a manufacturing process, the material that constitutes jigs needs to be of high dimensional stability. Similarly, moulds churn out parts with very small tolerances at a high rate, and the material used in their construction has to be dimensionally stable and predictable even with temperature fluctuations.

Machinability

Machinability without distortion is a key feature of ALCA5®, which makes it excellent for applications that require machining with very tight tolerances, such as in the production of moulds. ALCA5® can be easily cut into intricate shapes constituting mould bases with two or more parts that form the required shape. Similar applications include the production of bearing blocks and thermoforming cavities.

Lightweight

The low density of AA5083 aluminium reduces the load of handling while retaining the dimensional accuracy required for the operations. This is particularly advantageous for the production of parts used in robotics in assembly lines as they make use of predetermined paths and extremely well-coordinated movements to complete manufacturing tasks. Examples of applications include dial plates, mounting carriages, heat plates, tooling plates, linear assembly pallets, grippers, and end of arm tooling (EOAT).

Surface finish

ALCA5® can be produced to achieve a very high surface finish, with surface roughness as little as 0.4 μm. This lends it to many machining and assembly systems that require critical dimension control, repeatability and reliability. This also ensures cost savings as there is often no need for secondary polishing and other finishing procedures.

Porosity

The ALCA5® alloy’s structure is virtually porosity-free, which guarantees its efficacy in vacuum and pressure applications, such as in plastic moulds to make products free of surface defects, in vacuum forming tools where leaks cannot be tolerated, and generally in any application that requires a solid structure.

Corrosion resistance

AA 5083 aluminium has excellent corrosion resistance and does well under corrosive environments in manufacturing. This property may be critical if it is used in uncontrolled corrosive atmospheres and marine. ALCA5® does not need additional coatings or protective treatment for applications that may require corrosion resistance such as rotary tables and tooling plates.

 

Table 1. Properties of ALCA5®

Density

2.66 g/cm³ at 20 °C

Surface roughness RMS

0.4 μm

Elastic modulus

71 GPa at 20 °C

Elongation

16 % at 20 °C

Hardness, Brinell HB

70 [-] at 20 °C

Tensile strength

283 MPa at 20 °C

Yield strength

124 MPa at 20 °C

Coefficient of thermal expansion

2.376E-5 1/K at 20 °C

Thermal conductivity

120 W/(m·K) at 20 °C

Electrical conductivity

1.57E+7 S/m at 20 °C

Specific Electrical conductivity

27 % IACS

How can you take advantage of ALCA5® cast precision plate?

The ALCA5® cast precision plate is a registered trademark of PCP Aluminium, which produce it by selecting the best aluminium ingots to make the brand of AA 5083 aluminium alloy and by also employing a meticulous production process. Continuous investment in their production process has allowed PCP Aluminium to optimise it effectively. For example, they are capable of precision milling plates up to 98” in one pass. The ALCA5® plate is manufactured to a thickness tolerance of ±.005”, and it is available in thicknesses between 1/4” to 4” and in a range of widths and lengths, up to 96.5” and 289”, respectively.

Visit the PCP Aluminium supplier page for more information on their materials listed on Matmatch and to get in direct contact with them.

Article by PCP Aluminium

PCP Aluminium is a world-class company engaged in the manufacturing of aluminium precision cast plates and cast molding blocks.


Our high-quality products meet the highest market standards. Mainly used in the manufacturing industry, especially in automotive, marine and plastic manufacturing, our unique products have the dimensional accuracy and stability that will facilitate the achievement of your machining projects while minimizing the additional operations, such as slitting, milling, roughing and other operations commonly used in your everyday applications.

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PCP Aluminium

ALCA5® is lightweight (about a third of steel’s weight) and is made from AA5083 aluminium alloy that has been relieved of internal stresses and sawed/milled to a high level of precision and flatness. It is highly suitable for manufacturing processes that involve automation, robotics and assembly systems, packaging, and injection moulding.