At Illinois Pulley and Gear, we use a wide array of materials and finishes to ensure you get the exact product you need to deliver reliable performance. Aluminum is one of the most common materials requested by our customers, and it’s easy to see why. Below, we explain the benefits of using aluminum for your stock pulley project and why you should consider this material.
5 Benefits of Aluminum Pulley Stock
Like steel, aluminum is used frequently in manufacturing and construction due to its strength and availability. But unlike steel, aluminum can bring a few advantages that no other metal has to offer.
#1. Aluminum is Light Weight For Efficient Design
Firstly, aluminum weighs less in general than other types of metals. Its weight per volume is significantly less than that of its metal counterpart, steel. This lightweight nature allows aluminum to be used in a variety of ways in which steel, or other metals (such as copper) cannot be utilized. For example, aluminum gears and pulleys are often the ideal material for drive systems with high horsepower. If you are concerned regarding the weight of your timing pulley, aluminum is a good solution.
#2. Aluminum Has Fantastic Tensile Strength
In terms of strength in density, aluminum is a top contender yet again. Generally speaking, steel is 2.5x denser than aluminum. But say you were to use a type of “lightweight” steel that would match the density of aluminum. This steel would be considerably less durable and more prone to breaking than aluminum. Aluminum, not surprisingly, also beats out the weight efficiency of other popular manufacturing metals, such as copper and brass. On average, aluminum is ⅓ the weight of these metals.
That impressive strength makes aluminum a great choice for heavy applications where a high load capacity is needed.
#3. Aluminum is a Corrosion-Resistant Material
Aluminum is also naturally non-corrosive, creating its own oxide film that provides a natural barrier against corrosion. This reaction takes place when aluminum is exposed to oxygen. The natural benefits make it an ideal material for low-maintenance pulleys. Looking big picture, an aluminum pulley will naturally require less attention and less maintenance than its stainless steel counterpart.
#4. Aluminum Is Affordable
Aluminum is also extremely abundant within natural environments. In fact, it is one of the most plentiful elements within the Earth’s crust. This large abundance of the material makes aluminum not only accessible for manufacturers, but affordable for buyers.
#5. Aluminum is Highly Flexible & Adaptable
Aluminum is naturally more malleable than steel and other metals. Aluminum’s natural density deficiency allows for greater flexibility in shaping and molding the metal in almost all contexts. This allows for easier and more precise fine-tuning within the manufacturing process.
Reasons Another Material May Be a Better Choice
While aluminum is a great material that will work well for many applications, it’s not the perfect solution.
- While aluminum does have a great strength-to-weight ratio, steel products are often stronger. If weight is not as much of a concern as strength is, steel pulley stock may be a better option.
- Additionally, certain alloys of aluminum do not have the same level of corrosion resistance as stainless steel. Consider what elements your components are exposed to during operation before choosing an aluminum pulley.
Aluminum Pulley Stock at IPG
Different needs arise across different industries and applications. Illinois Pulley & Gear will help you pick the best material for the job depending on your required use. We provide high-quality, custom-made pulley stock for nearly every major industry, meaning we understand what your needs are and what will be the best solution.
If you’re looking for an aluminum solution, browse our product catalog, or get in touch with a member of our team today!
We deliver on-demand and never sacrifice quality for mass production. This on-demand system allows us to produce pulley stock with a near-unlimited variety factor, to suit a wide range of needs and/or wants. For more information, or to learn more about the IPG process, visit the Illinois Pulley and Gear website.