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All About Alloys

Read up on alloys, what they are, what they are used for and how to choose the best one for your project.

What is an alloy?
An alloy can be defined as a combination of one metallic element with at least another metal or nonmetal element. The most important metallic component in an alloy usually makes up approximately 90% of its composition. This metal is known as a base/parent/main metal. At Deltron Enclosures we use aluminium based alloys in the manufacturing process of our enclosures. Alloying agents make up the remaining percentage volume of an alloy. Typical alloying agents include elements such as copper (Cu), iron (Fe) and silicon (Si).

Although an alloy can occasionally be a compound where the elements it consists of are chemically bonded together, here at Deltron Enclosures we adopt the more common method for the creation of alloys. We melt the elements to form a solid solution – they are mixed together until fully combined (similar to the process of dissolving salt into water) and then allow them to cool back to room temperature.

Before making an alloy the base metal has to be purified so we know the exact volume of alloying agents that need to be added to the main metal. One of the most common ways to purify aluminium is the opposite of the method above which is partial solidification. The melt is slowly brought back to room temperature and as materials solidify they can be extracted from the melt leaving only the desired substances.

Why are alloys used?
Alloys are used to alter the composition of the metal in order to enhance its chemical and mechanical properties. Alloying aluminium has proven useful because it can improve:

• Hardness
• Strength
• Corrosion Resistance
• Machinability
• Durability

Improving these qualities is key for maintaining our exemplary reputation for our die cast aluminium enclosures.

Alloys at Deltron Enclosures
At Deltron Enclosures, we pride ourselves in using the finest and most appropriate alloys possible in our ranges of enclosures. The following aluminium alloys are used for pressure die-casting:

• Aluminium alloy LM2/ADC12/Al-Si10Cu2Fe

   - Used for all general purpose enclosure ranges including IP54,
      IP66, IP68 and IP68 EMI/RFI.
   - Used for all heavy duty enclosure ranges including low cost, IP66
      and IP68.

• Aluminium alloy LM6/AC3A/GD-AlSi12

    - Used for our IP66 and IP68 newly rebranded Fortis enclosures.

You will often find that the code for a particular aluminium alloy is displayed under different names. This is usually down to the region it has come from or been manufactured in. To find out about the names of alloys you can access simplified but useful conversion charts regarding how certain alloys are named depending on their country of origin.

LM2 for example is the UK name for the alloy. It is the same material as ADC12 and Al-Si10Cu2Fe. This is the code given to the alloy according to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and Japan respectively.

Chemical properties for these alloys
Aluminium Alloy LM2/ADC12:

  • Cost effective for all parties involved.
  • Good fluidity so excellent for die-cast molding in our enclosures and is easier to machine than steel.
  • Can be powder or nylon coated to enhance its chemical properties and durability.
  • Far more corrosion resistant than steel and is a third of the weight.
  • Can be used in radio instrumentation, remote control systems, keypads, display boards, entry system controls and much more.

Aluminium Alloy LM6/GD-AlSi12:

  • LM6 exhibits fantastic resistance to corrosion under all forms of atmospheric and marine conditions.
  • The alloy can be anodized forming an aluminium oxide layer on the surface of the material, further improving its resilience to the harshest of conditions.
  • Low levels of Cu and Fe means that it is less likely to undergo galvanic corrosion.
  • It is a stronger alloy than LM2 because it is purer.
  • Can be powder coated with an epoxy-polyester hybrid which is able to withstand up to 1000 hours of intense salt spray.
  • Perfect for use in the automotive, marine and aerospace industry where it is vital to have the most reliable and durable materials possible.

Why you should choose one over the other
If you are looking for an enclosure at a cost effective price then you can do no wrong in pursuing our ranges of general purpose enclosures. They can offer levels of protection ranging from light resilience against dust and low pressure water spray in our IP54 range all the way up to our IP68 ranges that has been independently tested in 5 meters of water for 1 hour. All are available in three finishes of plain aluminium, powder or nylon coating.

If a more robust enclosure is vital for your desired application then our heavy duty ranges could be the boxes for you. With thicker walls and hard-wearing characteristics, our heavy duty enclosure is built to withstand the most demanding of environments. The IP68 enclosures have been independently tested in 10m for 20 hours proving their exemplary ingress protection!

Our Fortis Range (LM6/GD-AlSi12):
If you require a long lasting enclosure for challenging environments then we can offer our Fortis enclosure range; a name worthy of its pedigree. They are extremely impact resistant (up to 7 Joules), corrosion resistant (>1000 hours of heavy salt spray), the unique epoxy-polyester hybrid only improves on the unmatched durability of the Fortis range. This range is available in 14 sizes ranging from smaller applications to more substantial desired uses.

Whilst Deltron Enclosures has a broad range of standard enclosures we also understand that our customers also like to have customised enclosures offered. We can offer machining, screen printing and custom coating on all of our standard enclosures. We can also populate with glands, DIN rails and other accessories according to your needs. If this is of interest please give details to our sales team. We are always also open to hearing new suggestions about how we can further improve our enclosure ranges.

Article first published : 27|2|2019