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Aluminium composite is a hybrid material, part plastic, part metal. Designed as a lightweight alternative to solid plastic or metal sheets, ACM materials have spread from the sign and display industries through to construction and building cladding applications.
Two thin layers of aluminium foil referred to as skins are bonded onto a plastic core in a continuous process. The resulting "sandwich" is then cut into sheets. For convenience sake sheets of composite are normally sized at 2440mmx1220mm and 3050mmx1525mm, these being 8ftx4ft, 10fx5ft. Bigger sheets; 4 or 6m long are manufactured but they can be tricky to ship and handle.
The most widely used aluminium composite is a 3mm thick product, For specialist cladding ACM's the thickness normally rises to 4mm. For certain sign projects and other applications where resistance to bending without is needed 6mm or 8mm composite is available.
The biggest material cost in aluminium composite is the aluminium which makes up the skin on either side. One of the easiest ways to reduce the production costs for your aluminium composite is to use very thin layers of aluminium. The problem for the end user is that they end up buying a product which is more plastic and less aluminium.
Thinner plastic skins make some aluminium composites unsuitable for fabrication projects; things like scoring and folding can only be completed properly when the composite you are using is decent folding grade. If you've been quoted a very low price for your aluminium composite it's worth checking exactly what metal guage you are being offered. For the unsuspecting buyer it's quite possible to pay over the odds for what is essentially nothing more than a sheet of plastic.
The biggest attraction of aluminium composite is the way this material can be machined and then folded. This process allows you to buy a completely finished substrate, a panel with the finish colour already applied. Score to release tension in the sheet and then fold easily by hand without expensive machinery.
These characteristics are why aluminium composites have become so popular; they make hitherto expensive production cost effective and simple. Bending solid metals means heavy duty machinery, folding plastic requires line bending or other heat based techniques. Aluminium composite combines both materials delivering a unique substrate which folds and shapes with ease.
Aluminium composites are the perfect material for anyone. Whether you want professionally manufactured fabricated structures or simply want to build your own projects; this material is extremely user friendly.