Aluminium Grade ALCA5® for Custom Machinery Applications

PCP Aluminium

Modern manufacturing runs on the quick and accurate production of parts to be assembled into finished products. Designing and manufacturing the product is only one part of the problem that needs to be overcome. Designing and manufacturing the machinery that will assemble these products reliably is an entirely different challenge For machine builders, repeatability, speed and accuracy are among many requirements when specifying materials of construction.  Aluminium, and especially aluminium alloy AA5083 meets many of these mechanical requirements, and we shall examine how versatile it can be in the building of custom machinery.  

“We are designing around ALCA5® for a new assembly machine we are building in the next few months.”  - Engineer, Packaging Machinery

Machinery used in production processes requires the use of materials that have excellent dimensional stability, machinability, and flatness to produce dimensionally consistent products.  The inherent corrosion resistant properties of AA5083 alloy are ideally suited for machines that require regular or even daily cleaning.  ALCA5® aluminium alloy AA5083 is a standout material as it meets these requirements. Robotics, automation, semiconductor and packaging are just a few industries that require custom machinery.  Machine parts made from ALCA5® include machine base plates, backing plates, rotary dial plates, chambers, thermal sealers, parts holders, cavities, grippers, EOAT, fixtures and more. 

The nature of these processes requires materials with a long life span without significant drop in accuracy.  AA5083 aluminium alloy  ALCA5® performs excellently and it has a composition as follows: 

Element

Weight

Magnesium 

4 – 4.9%

Iron

0.4% (max.)

Manganese

0.4 - 1%

Silicon

0.4% (max.)

Zinc

0.25% (max.)

Titanium

0.15% (max.)

Zirconium

0.15% (max.)

Copper

0.1% (max.)

Chromium

0.05 - 0.25%

Why ALCA5® is Ideal for Custom Machinery 

Custom machine builders design and build the machines used in the fields of medical equipment, automotive parts production, automated systems, material handling, 3D printing, assembly systems, packaging, and moreALCA5® cast precision plate is very suitable for these applications because of its unique set of properties which gives it an edge over other aluminium alloys (especially in comparison with the 6061 and 7000 series aluminium alloys) and other materials such as steel. We will now consider these properties and how they are beneficial to the field of custom machinery. 

Dimensional stability 

Perhaps the most standout property of ALCA5® is its excellent dimensional stability. Relieved of nearly all internal residual stresses through precise heat treatment, it does not warp or change in dimension over its service life. It is thus widely used in the manufacture of jigs, which are required to accurately control the movement of other tools in a production process and other components such as machine base plates, carriages, and fixtures 

Machinability 

Machinability without distortion is another key feature of ALCA5®. It remains flat during and after machining. This makes it a good alternative to 6061 and 7000 as both sets of aluminium alloys do not achieve the same error-free machinability. ALCA5®’s machinability makes it easier to achieve intricate aspects to meet the demands of custom machines. 

Corrosion resistance 

Many custom pieces of machinery operate in wet or corrosive environments or may directly handle products that are moist or corrosive. To be able to operate optimally, materials that are resistant to corrosion are required in the construction of such machinery. ALCA5® is resistant to corrosion as-is; it does not need any additional coatings or protective treatment. 

Lightweight 

The strength to weight ratio of AA5083 aluminium is about twice that of steel. This makes the aluminium alloy easier to handle for the precise movements which are crucial in many manufacturing processes. Many components of custom machinery such as linear assembly pallets and end of arm tooling (EOAT) depend on this quality of aluminium and ALCA5® is an excellent choice in this regard. 

Surface finish 

Surface finish is very important in the design of custom machinery. Rougher surfaces negatively impact the accuracy and repeatability in systems that require exact dimension control. ALCA5® is produced to be extremely smooth with surface roughness as low as 0.4 μmRougher surfaces also tend to wear more quickly thereby reducing the service life of a material. 

Table 1. Properties of ALCA5® 

Density (ρ 

2.66 g/cm³ at 20 °C 

Surface roughness (RMS) 

0.4 μm 

Elastic modulus (E) 

71 GPa at 20 °C 

Elongation (A) 

16 % at 20 °C 

Hardness, Brinell (HB) 

70 [-] at 20 °C 

Tensile strength (Rm) 

283 MPa at 20 °C 

Yield strength (YS) 

124 MPa at 20 °C 

Coefficient of thermal expansion (α) 

2.376E-5 1/K at 20 °C 

Thermal conductivity (λ) 

120 W/(m·K) at 20 °C 

Electrical conductivity (σel)

1.57E+7 S/m at 20 °C 

Specific Electrical conductivity 

27 % IACS 

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

PCP Aluminium produces the ALCA5® cast precision plate from the best raw materials available. This particular variation of the AA 5083 aluminium alloy is made from carefully controlled melting and heat treatment processes. The ALCA5® cast precision plate is available in dimensions of between 1/4” to 4” in thickness, up to 96.5” in width and up to 289” in length. The state of the art precision mills available to PCP Aluminium make it possible for custom dimensions of ALCA5® to be made. The ALCA5® cast precision plate is produced to a tolerance of ±.005”. 

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.