Aluminium 4.0

Lightness, chemical and mechanical properties ensuring both strength and plasticity, furniture that lends itself to a multiplicity of configurations for a timeless aesthetics and, first and foremost, is sustainable. These are the unique characteristics that make aluminium into an indispensable technological resource of industry 4.0.

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Among the different industrial sectors, design is the one that invests the most in new technologies, with the aim to explore further the potential of a material in an innovative manner. The creative spirit of the designers and the propensity to experiment of design firms make it possible to interpret and make full use of the characteristics of aluminium in a finely balanced mix of functionality and aesthetic value, defining new formal codes and producing objects that become part of our day-to-day world.

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Alias has made lightness into its distinctive characteristic and aluminium, with a weight that is one third the weight of steel, has always been an ally of excellence, which evolves and is moulded into new shapes with every project. Making objects comprised of aluminium elements calls for great technical know-how: the design stage is key, as, besides predicting the behaviour of a material in each and every stage, you must have perfectly clear in your mind the result you are aiming for and choose the most appropriate processing method accordingly. 

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A designer can choose from among a multiplicity of techniques to mould metal, extrusion and die-casting being the ones that are used most widely. Extrusion is particularly suitable for aluminium, as it ensures excellent productivity, no matter how complex the shape of the matrix used, and it proves an excellent solution when making items without solution of continuity, such as tubular elements or profiles. The principle of extrusion is very simple: the material to be extruded, in this case hot aluminium, is squeezed by a ram through a die, the matrix, which has an opening that determines the cross-section of the extruded product.

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Die-casting makes it possible to obtain complex geometries by forcing molten metal under high pressure into a mould: in the hollow cavity of the mould, the metal solidifies into the desired shape, which can be highly complex.  This method has enabled Alias to produce parts and components of unusual shapes and reduced thickness. The advantages of this method are numerous, including lack of porosity, no warping, well-finished surfaces. Furthermore, it can be used to create parts with inserts of various compositions, greatly reducing the need to add more elements, such as screws and bolts, thereby saving material and weight. 

The unique aesthetics of aluminium products can be enhanced by die-casting, which offers different degrees of surface finish. After undergoing the sand-blasting process, the pieces may treated with tumbling, polishing, chrome plating, buffing and painting.

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Today’s vision of the future is less utopian than the industrial megacities conceived by Antonio Sant’Elia at the beginning of the 20th century and more eco-friendly than the Visiona installations created by Colombo and Panton for Bayer. Creativity accompanies the thoughts and trends of the times, while the focus on design of contemporary industry promotes awareness, observation, responsible technology, and while new materials are sought, known materials undergo intensive experimentation processes, to push technology and applied research to the limit. In this context,   that transcends the trends, aluminium continues to retain, unrivalled, the title of material of the future.

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