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Aluminum Channel Shapes

Many different aluminum profiles are called channels; however, they generally fit into these widely-used categories: “U”, “J”, “C” (or architectural angle), hat channel, both square and rectangular open seam tubing, and almost any other unusually shaped profile for which there is no other name, such as “Z” channel. Hydro Extrusion offers a comprehensive range of aluminum channel shapes with the broadest product capabilities in the industry.

End shot of multiple extruded aluminum shapes

Common uses for aluminum channels include railings, window and door frames, protective edges, ladders, electronics enclosures, aircraft and marine fittings, acoustic tile systems, decorative trim and more. Aluminum channel is ideal for traffic signals which are constantly exposed to weather extremes and benefit from aluminum’s non-corrosive properties.

In the rail industry, aluminum channel is widely used for windows and other components inside the train itself, providing excellent strength without adding the weight associated with heavier metals like steel. Aluminum channel is also ideal for the construction of the outer bodies of heavy vehicles, such as trucks, that require structural strength and maximum fuel efficiency.

Because aluminum withstands heavy loads and resists wind and corrosion, extruded channels are also favored by architects and glaziers who have to cope with the increasingly large spans of glass being incorporated into modern building designs. Large framing components also require large, state-of-the-art presses that allow for wider architectural-quality framing components. Sapa has the ability to supply custom solutions for many unique application requirements.

Aluminum extruders must understand the properties of different aluminum alloys in order to craft profiles with the appropriate characteristics for their intended applications. At Hydro Extrusion, we use both 6xxx series aluminum alloys and proprietary alloys in the 1000, 2000, 3000, 5000, and 7000 series, and standard and special tempers, to satisfy the most complex size and shape requirements of our customers. In the category of channels, suitable alloys include:

  • 6061
    Also referred to as structural aluminum, 6061 channel features inside radius corners, making it ideal for applications requiring greater strength but also the lighter weight characteristics and resistance to corrosion that aluminum offers. Its sturdiness and ability to be molded to any shape or size make it an excellent choice for cabinets and wardrobes, window frames and ladders, to name only a few applications. 
  • 6061-T6
    This is a widely accepted channel alloy with an inside radius and temper rating that provides overall strength approximately equal to that of structural steel. It has excellent joining characteristics, resists corrosion, and accepts applied coatings well. Scaffolding, transmission towers, aircraft fittings, marine fittings and hardware, camera lens mounts, furniture and appliance fittings rely heavily on 6061 aluminum channel.
  • 6063-T5
    Commonly used in the manufacture of aluminum channel, this is one of the best commercial alloys due to its extrudability, strength, lower cost, resistance to corrosion, weldability and surface appearance. It produces sharp corners both inside and out and features excellent finishing characteristics that allow anodization. It is often utilized in architectural molding and trim, window and door construction, irrigation pipes, and furniture. 

    Hydro Extrusion offers a complete line of aluminum channel shapes, rod, bar, pipe and tube aluminum products in standard and custom shapes up to 22.5” wide.

Our ACC-U-LINE™, ACC-U-ROD™, ACC-U-HEX™, ACC-U-BAR®, ACC-U-PLATE® and Jumbo Rod product lines are highly sought after by elite machine shops around the globe for their superior machinability and consistent ultra-tight tolerance, exceeding Aluminum Association standards.