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Advantages of aluminium as a material

ZARGES advantages aluminium

Aluminium as a material

The use of aluminium in objects of everyday use is economical, safe and ecologically sensible. That is why ZARGES has, since the very beginning of its 80-year history, opted to manufacture innovative products predominantly from this unique light metal.

The advantages of aluminium described in greater detail below provide for an exceptionally wide range of product solutions. When it comes to aluminium products ZARGES distinguishes between the categories Access technology and Logistics equipment.

Did you know? Aluminium is the most used metal after steel. Aluminium is the most commonly occurring metal in the Earth's crust. Aluminium is after oxygen and silicon the third most common chemical element on Earth.

The advantages of aluminium

Aluminium is lightweight, yet extremely stable

Aluminium is lightweight, yet extremely stable

The density of aluminium is approx. 2.6 to 2.8  g per cm³. That is approx. 1/3 the density of steel, which is why aluminium is also called “light metal”. In spite of its low weight, aluminium is extremely strong.

The weight advantage is useful for example in the transport industry, in which ZARGES shipping cases have proven their worth. But the low weight and high stability are also important properties in aluminium climbing/access aids.

Aluminium can be processed in a wide variety of ways

Aluminium can be processed in a wide variety of ways

All standard processing methods – welding, forming, etc. – can be applied to aluminium, and in many cases their application is much easier than with other metals.

ZARGES uses these advantages to manufacture innovative and long-lasting products from aluminium for an extremely varied range of applications.

Aluminium is impact-resistant and extremely strong

Aluminium is impact-resistant and extremely strong

The surface of an aluminium sheet dents on impact, but the force of the impact is absorbed by the deformation.

This property is significant in practically all ZARGES products. This makes them long-lasting and even under adverse conditions extremely durable.

Aluminium is corrosion-resistant

Aluminium is corrosion-resistant and protects itself

When it comes into contact with oxygen from the air, the surface of aluminium oxidises, and this dense layer of oxide immediately reforms when damaged and protects the metal underneath against corrosion.

Under conditions of particular stress, surface protection can be improved even further by means of anodisation.

This material properties contributes significantly to the long service life of ZARGES products.

Aluminium is fully recyclable

Aluminium is fully recyclable

Products manufactured from aluminium are very long-lasting and durable.

Producing aluminium is energy-intensive, but used aluminium can be easily melted down and reused 100%. Only 5% of the energy is consumed here! Remelted/recycled aluminium is the equal of primary aluminium in every way.

Aluminium is insensitive to temperature fluctuations

Aluminium is insensitive to temperature fluctuations

Within the temperature range of -80 to +150 °C the material properties remain constant. Aluminium can even withstand extreme temperatures without its properties being compromised. In extreme cold aluminium becomes even tougher and its hardness increases!

ZARGES containers are therefore the perfect choice for extreme applications, but this property is also important to certain customer groups in ladders and scaffolding.

Aluminium is vapour-impermeable

Even when stored over very long periods of time, moisture will not diffuse through the metal. An aluminium container can be welded so as to be water-vapour-proof in order to protect the packaged product against moisture or splash water.

This advantage comes in useful in ZARGES aluminium containers, which are universally usable.

Aluminium is resistant to UV radiation

Aluminium is resistant to UV radiation

Long periods of storage and exposure to UV radiation have no effect on this material.

ZARGES containers display these advantages when used for example for expeditions and transportation in equatorial countries. But even products such as ZARGES ladders and scaffolding are perfectly designed for rigorous outdoor use.

Aluminium is hygienic

Aluminium is hygienic

Its smooth surface is easy to clean and odourless. Aluminium is therefore ideally suitable for use under sterile and germ-free conditions.

Choose ZARGES products for areas subject to high hygienic requirements such as laboratories, hospitals, food processing and more.

Aluminium is magnetically neutral

Aluminium is magnetically neutral

Aluminium is free from ferromagnetism. This material property can be extremely important for certain areas of application, for example in laboratories.

ZARGES containers are ideal for packing and transporting sensitive electronic goods.

Aluminium is electrically conductive

Aluminium is electrically conductive

Aluminium is a good conductor of electric current – for instance, did you know that aluminium is the most used material for power lines?

Heat too is efficiently conducted (dissipated) by aluminium, an advantage for example in housings for built-in electronic components.

This electric conductivity is relevant to sensitive electronic components, which must be packaged under antistatic conditions.

Surface refinement of aluminium

 

  • Powder-coated aluminium: In the course of coating aluminium workpieces one or more layers of powder-based paint are electrostatically applied to the base material. This coating provides protection against wear and corrosion, but it can also influence the anti-stick quality, sliding capability or thermal insulation of an aluminium workpiece.
  • Anodised aluminium: The refinement of aluminium has reached perfection in the electrolytic oxidation of aluminium. Virtually no other process provides better protection against abrasion or corrosion of aluminium. The result of anodisation is an extremely hard, scratch-resistant surface and thus reliable protection against corrosion. In contrast to pure aluminium, the electrolytically oxidised coating is electrically non-conductive.

Advantages and disadvantages of aluminium compared with other materials

 

  • The term steel is used to denote metallic alloys whose main constituent is iron and which (in contrast to cast iron) can be reworked and reformed.
  • The term plastic is used to denote an organic, polymeric solid which is manufactured synthetically or semi-synthetically from monomeric organic molecules or biopolymers.
  • The term wood is used in general parlance to denote the solid or hard tissue of the shoots (trunk, boughs and branches) of trees and shrubs. Wood is the world's most important raw material.
Aluminium SteelPlasticWood
Durability★★★★★★★★★★
Formability★★★★
Very high
★★★
Dependent on the alloy:
Hardness low tensile strength, lack of hardenability in stainless steel.
Very high tensile strength, wear resistance and endurance strength.
★★Poor, but as an injection moulding any form can be taken.
Depending on the type of plastic hard, elastic, break-proof, heat-resistant and chemically resistant.
Strength and rigidity lower than that of metals. Can by partly compensated for by greater wall thicknesses or fibre reinforcement

Very low
Working★★★★
Can be worked in a wide variety of ways: drawing, pressing, cutting, lasering, grinding.
It can be machined down, cold-worked and easily welded.
Ideal extruding and casting properties.
★★★★★★
While metals are worked at high temperatures, complicated moulded parts can be made from plastic comparatively easily with minimal effort
★★
Classic machining by sawing, grinding and planing.
Moisture★★★★
Very weather-proof. Aluminium is not subject to “rust”. Water-vapour-proof
★★★
Stainless (special) steel is insensitive, no rust will occur with fully hot-dip galvanised steels too. Vapour permeability equals zero
★★
Plastics are moisture-resistant and can be designed to be completely vapour-impermeable

Air-permeable, absorbs moisture, no vapour barrier
Temperature★★★★
Ideal for low-temperature conditions in that it retains its toughness and its hardness even increases.
★★★★
The melting point is much higher than that of aluminium. Also stable at low temperatures

Regular plastics are not fireproof, melt and burn quickly. Plastics quickly become brittle at low temperatures.
★★
Wood cannot withstand high temperatures, but is stable at low temperatures
Heat conductionVery good, therefore suitable for applications in which heat has to be removed. ModerateVery low, thus good insulating property Very low, thus good insulating property
Current conductivity Very good Moderate Not Not
Hygiene aspects★★★★
Very easy to clean with cleaning agents, acids, bases, solvents and steam.
Non-toxic and hygienic.
★★★★
Very easy to clean with cleaning agents, acids, bases, solvents and steam.
★★★
Easy to clean with cleaning agents. Sensitive to acids, bases, solvents and steam/heat.

Hard to clean due to the rough surface.
Ageing, corrosion★★★★
Insensitive to weather exposure.
UV-resistant, corrosion-resistant oxide layer.
★★★
Only stainless steel (as opposed to steel) and surface-treated steel is relatively resistant to corrosion and acids.

Most plastics are sensitive to solvents. Weather exposure and especially UV light cause plastics to become brittle, fade and age.

As a natural material not very resistant to ageing: rots, decays, breaks
Ecology ★★
High energy utilisation when producing aluminium, but 100% recyclable
★★
Extracting metal by mining not quite as critical as aluminium

Based on the increasingly scarce and expensive raw material crude oil and is only recyclable to a limited extent
★★★★
Non-critical, since it is a reproductive raw material which can be recycled or burned. Neutral CO2 balance
Advantages - containers and logistics equipment
 
 
 
Aluminium containers:
Stable, lightweight and yet long-lasting containers
Sheet-steel containers:
Stable and long-lasting, but roughly twice as heavy as similar aluminium containers
Plastic containers:
Many different shapes and colours possible  and lower operating temperature range
Wooden containers:
Advantages in part due to the natural appearance. Solid and cheap.
Advantages - ladders and access equipment Aluminium ladders:
Lightweight and durable with at the same time a small amount of input material
Steel ladders :
Heavy and stable and thus particularly suitable for fixed ladders
Plastic ladders:
Lightweight, break-proof and particularly suitable for working on electrical installations
Wooden ladders:
Natural appearance, solid and cheap, special shapes barely possible