Choosing a reputable aluminum pipe supplier is so important for companies in manufacturing, utilities, construction, or any industry that relies on aluminum products. A trustworthy supplier with top-quality aluminum pipe products can help you maintain excellent service with your own customer base and improve cost efficiency.
Here are five things you should look for when evaluating aluminum pipe suppliers.
1. Expertise in Aluminum Applications
Aluminum’s versatility makes it popular for a wide range of applications in industries like transportation and household items. Different use cases of aluminum require different alloys to create optimal products. Common aluminum alloys include aluminum-silicon, aluminum-magnesium, and aluminum-copper. Each offers different combinations of strength, durability, and conductivity.
|Common Aluminum Alloys|
|Grade||Aluminum 6061||Aluminum 6063||Aluminum 6101|
|Composition||Aluminum, magnesium, silicon||Aluminum, magnesium, silicon||Aluminum, silicon, iron, copper|
|Properties||Versatile, heat-treatable, excellent corrosion resistance, machinability/weldability, good strength-to-weight ratio||Weldability/machinability, excellent extrudability, moderate strength, good corrosion resistance||High electrical conductivity, moderate strength, formability, good corrosion resistance|
|Common uses||Automotive parts, bike frames, structural components, machined parts, piping, sports equipment, and more||Architectural and construction, extruded profiles, automotive trim, electrical heat sinks, piping, furniture, and more||Electrical conductors and busbars, power transmission lines, heat sinks, auto battery conductors, and more|
Your aluminum pipe supplier should be able to advise you on the best alloy for your particular application.
2. Offer a Range of Aluminum Pipe Products
Your aluminum pipe supplier should offer a wide range of products in different grades and understand the best use cases for each type. At Three D Metals, we specialize in aluminum bus pipe for substations, manufacturing, and utilities. We stock the most common aluminum bus pipe alloys, including 6063, 6061, and 6101, but can do custom alloys. We also offer surface finishes to further smooth and protect the aluminum for high-voltage uses.
3. Prioritize Proper Aluminum Shipping
Because aluminum is a soft metal, it can be damaged easily when transported. Surface quality is especially important in applications with high kilovolt (KV) levels because a high-quality aluminum surface is critical for preventing discharge or other issues that could compromise the electrical system.
Your aluminum pipe supplier should have a strong understanding of how to protect the shipment from surface scratches and be able to recommend a packaging solution that takes storage into account.
4. Provide Exceptional Customer Service
Great communication and service are critical for aluminum pipe suppliers. When you request a quote, you should expect them to include:
- Lead time
- How long the price is valid (firm price or in effect at time of shipment)
At Three D Metals, strong service is especially important for our customers. Since many of our customers are utility companies, our response time is critical. The sooner we can provide replacement aluminum parts for power outages, the sooner those outages can be resolved. Even when shutdowns are planned, proactive communication from your aluminum pipe supplier limits costly downtime.
5. ISO 9001 Certified
Look for an aluminum pipe supplier that is ISO 9001 certified. ISO 9001 is a globally recognized standard that establishes criteria for maintaining the quality of products. This certification is independently awarded after a company undergoes an extensive audit and demonstrates compliance with ISO 9001 standards. Aluminum pipe suppliers with this certification are:
- Evaluated to high standards that reduce the likelihood of aluminum pipe defects
- Consistent in their processes, leading to consistency in their products
- Committed to continuous improvement
- Better equipped to address issues early in the production process
ISO 9001 certification ultimately signals a commitment to high-quality aluminum products and service, which is essential in industries like utilities where reliability is important.