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The Benefits of Aluminum and Its Alloys in Industrial Applications

by JC Kocjancic, on Jan 4, 2024 6:29:59 AM

Aluminum offers a unique blend of benefits for manufactured metal nameplates and other industrial applications. In general, it is a relatively light metal, with a strong resistance to heat and corrosion. It is also reasonably malleable, with good thermal conductivity. 

Aluminum as a Design Consideration 

Design decisions are sometimes based on hasty assumptions and simplistic comparisons of aluminum and steel. 

Yes, aluminum is more flexible, formable, and lightweight.

Yes, steel offers superior strength, durability, and resistance to corrosion.

Any assessment that stops here, however, is shortsighted. 

To fully understand of the value of aluminum in industrial settings, we need to discuss:

  • aluminum alloys
  • anodized aluminum
  • a broader range of features

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Aluminum 

The use of aluminum in industrial environments has steadily increased over time, and its price has remained less volatile than steel and other metals.

Of course, design engineers need to look beyond initial material costs to consider lifespan and the expense of maintenance, repair, and replacement.

These cost considerations depend on a broad range of aluminum features and benefits. 

Important Features and Benefits of Aluminum 

Strength and Durability: Many aluminum grades provide high strength and durability. There is no denying, however, that steel offers more strength than even the strongest aluminum alloys.

Temperature Resistance: Aluminum is resistant to elevated temperatures. Interestingly, its tensile strength increases at lower temperatures.  

Weight: Aluminum is approximately one-third the weight of steel. This feature reduces unnecessary weight without sacrificing load capacity.

Thermal Conductivity: Aluminum has one of the highest levels of thermal conductivity (among common metals). This feature makes aluminum an excellent choice when heat dissipation or distribution is needed. 

Formability: The malleability of aluminum allows for designs that are more intricate and complex, without the risk of cracking. This versatility makes aluminum suitable for products ranging from industrial nameplates to aerospace components.

Corrosion Resistance: Aluminum is a reliable metal that offers durability and resistance to corrosion and high temperatures, making it suitable for outdoor environments.  

Fabrication Options: Aluminum offers great flexibility for a range of fabrication options: chemical etching, digital printing, embossing, laser marking, and screen printing. Finishing options are also expansive: anodization, multiple clear- and color-finish coatings, brushing, and polishing. 

Aesthetic Appeal: The silverish white appearance of aluminum, along with its ability to support more precise design, imaging and color stability, make it an ideal choice when environments call for a blend of durability and aesthetics.  

Aluminum Alloys 

Aluminum alloys give design engineers a wide allowance for design flexibility.  

Following is an overview of a handful of aluminum alloys:   

Aluminum alloy 1100 is commercially pure aluminum that offers excellent corrosion resistance, high thermal conductivity, and good malleability. While this formability allows for more intricate design, it also offers less strength than some other aluminum alloys.  

Aluminum alloy 1145 is a commercially pure aluminum alloy that provides high formability, good electrical conductivity, and corrosion resistance.  

Aluminum alloy 5005 contains magnesium, which increases overall strength. Alloy 5005 also features low densityexcellent thermal conductivity, and increased corrosion resistance in high-alkaline marine environments.  

Aluminum alloy 5005 is an ideal choice for anodization, an electrochemical process that creates a thin oxide coating as a natural extension of raw aluminum. The resulting layer significantly increases hardness, durability, and resistance to corrosion.  

Anodized aluminum is three times as hard as standard aluminum, yet it maintains a 60% weight reduction in comparison to steel. And, unlike a painted or applied protective coat, the newly formed anodized layer forms a nearly foolproof resistance to chipping, flaking or peeling.  

Aluminum alloy 5052 offers exceptional corrosion resistance to seawater, salt spray, and other corrosive agents. It is a great option for marine and aerospace applications.  

Aluminum alloy 6061 is relatively flexible and simple to process. Because it is an ideal grade for machining, aluminum alloy 6061 is a good choice for complicated designs and stringent specifications.  

Tap into Cubbison Company’s Expertise 

Quality Assurance: This, along with our AS9100 and ISO13485 certifications, signifies that our quality management systems meet international standards. Our clients count on us for product consistency and reliability. 

Continuous Improvement: Our industry certifications drive our continual improvement, product quality, and exceptional client service. 

History of Manufacturing Excellence: For over seven decades, The Cubbison Company has been at the forefront of helping clients make informed decisions about the use of stainless steel in various industrial applications.  Learn more about us at

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Topics:nameplates, labels, overlaysmetalssubstrates