What Should You Consider When Choosing An Aluminum Supplier
By Space Coast Daily // August 4, 2022
Aluminum is a dynamic metal used in a range of industries. Its qualities, including high electrical conductivity, ability to endure very low temperatures, lightweight, anti-corrosion, non-magnetism, non-toxicity, and high recyclability, make aluminum very versatile.
These exceptional qualities of aluminum have made it very prominent in the architectural, automotive, structural, and general fabrication industries.
The prominence of this metal has created a massive demand for it, which many suppliers are willing to fill. But not all aluminum powder suppliers are the right fit for you. This review will share the key factors to consider when choosing an aluminum supplier. Let’s jump right in.
1. Scope of Operations
When choosing an aluminum supplier, you need to find one that offers the aluminum products you’re looking for. There are many of these aluminum products. Just take a look at the different aluminum forms below:
An aluminum sheet is a thin flat piece of aluminum metal usually measured by its gauge (thickness). The aluminum sheet has diverse uses, including in the automotive, aerospace, and food industries. It is mostly used in these industries because of its high resistance to corrosion and its lightweight nature.
These are rods made of aluminum that can take various shapes, including hexagonal, square, or cylindrical. The different shapes are dictated by the case use of the aluminum bar.
Aluminum bars are used in machine and equipment parts, engineering and architectural industries, medical assemblies, and aerospace, among other places.
An aluminum tube has an array of uses like its other aluminum products. These aluminum tubes have found use even in homesteads and the automotive industries. They come in different shapes: rectangular, square, or circular.
An aluminum plate is similar to an aluminum sheet, only that it is thicker. For example, an aluminum plate is thicker than .250”. The aluminum plate is mainly used in heavy-duty applications. These applications include military equipment, marine vehicles, automotive, manufacturing and chemical industries, and transportation.
There are four categories of aluminum powder: aluminum granules, aluminum paste, aluminum flake powder, and atomized aluminum powder.
Aluminum fine powder is either coated or not, depending on its use. It is primarily used in metallic paint, pyrotechnics, cosmetic colorant, and solid rocket fuel as a powder for fireworks, acrylic powder, solar cells, and printing ink. In addition, it has some soldering and additive applications.
Aluminum also comes in different grades depending on the quality that you need. Some of the most commonly used grades include:
■ 3003 Aluminum: The 3003 aluminum is the most commonly used aluminum grade. It is more of a general-purpose aluminum. It can be used to make utensils but cannot be used in the oven and grill because it cannot withstand extremely high temperatures. It is affordable per pound but does not resist corrosion as effectively as other aluminum grades.
■ 6061 Aluminum: Also known as the “workhorse aluminum,” the 6061 aluminum is better at corrosion resistance than the 3003. It also has high weldability showing that it can withstand relatively higher temperatures. As a result, this aluminum grade is best suited to products that experience high wear and tear and those used in highly corrosive environments.
■ 1100 Aluminum: The 1100 aluminum grade is the highest form of aluminum available commercially. It is versatile and can be used in various industries, including plumbing and electrical. Its high thermal conductivity makes it useful in industries requiring thermal conductivity. Furthermore, its high corrosion resistance and weldability make it very useful.
The point is, before anything else, you need to know the specific characteristics of the aluminum you need in the first place. Once you know what you need, you can pick that aluminum supplier that can deliver what you’re looking for. So, if you need aluminum powder, for instance, you can just focus on your list of aluminum powder suppliers and cross out the others.
The supplier that you opt for should also be capable of offering custom aluminum products depending on your unique specifications. The supplier should also be able to fulfill your order efficiently by satisfying your production volume.
Credible suppliers, in general, have a large scope of operations. Even if they specialize in one type of aluminum, they should be able to supply others. For example, a reputable aluminum powder supplier can supply you with different types of powders.
2. Value For Money
The choice of aluminum supplier highly depends on the capability of the supplier to deliver value for money. The supplier should offer the best quality product at the most affordable rates possible.
It’s best to compare and contrast the prices of your prospects so you can get an idea of what’s considered affordable or not in the industry. Look at your budget, too. Make sure the cost of the supplier’s products does not exceed your allocated budget for the same.
Furthermore, if you are buying large quantities, the ideal aluminum supplier should be able to offer reasonable discounts. The same applies if you are looking for a long-term supplier.
3. Industry Expertise
An aluminum supplier should be well versed in the technical information of aluminum and overall industrial details. A competent aluminum supplier should understand aluminum, its alloys, and their best applications. In addition, they should understand other issues like the storage and transportation of aluminum.
You can easily ask your prospects about what they know so you can compare and contrast each company’s industry expertise. Go for the one that can confidently answer your questions.
4. Customer Service
Customer service is critical, so you must never settle for a supplier with poor customer service. Do background research on the supplier you’re eyeing to see whether they have any customer support issues.
You may track some of their previous clients and get in touch with them. You may also do a quick search on Google. You might find reviews from previous customers on third-party websites. That should give you an idea of how good (or bad) the supplier’s customer support is.
In addition, if there is a complaint with the order delivered, the supplier should be able to respond promptly to your order and make the necessary corrections.
5. Required Certifications
Ensure your supplier has the required certifications to handle aluminum supplies. That’s essential as you want to know that your supplier is credible enough and understands the set regulations around aluminum. These are regulations it should adhere to as well.
These certifications ensure your aluminum supplier knows critical processes and delivers quality aluminum products. That buffers you against unnecessary costs and the failure of the supplier to understand your orders correctly.
The choice of an aluminum supplier is a critical decision for your business. It affects your business in two ways; cost and quality. You need an aluminum supplier that helps you achieve the highest possible quality in the most affordable way.
It’s best to look at suppliers with a large scope of operations. The supplier also needs to offer you value for money. They should be able to fulfill the order within the agreed timelines. Furthermore, if there is a problem with the order, it should be addressed promptly. Lastly, you want to work with a supplier with the necessary qualifications, expertise, and certification.
If you follow these criteria in selecting your aluminum supplier, rest assured you’ll make the right choice.