As most of you know, aluminum is one of the most appreciated metal materials in many industries. Manufacturers utilize this metal type to produce various practical products for us to use. One of the primary usages of aluminum is in the building and construction industry. Since it is a flexible material and fabricating it into any complex shape is more accessible than other metals, architects choose aluminum for their modern building designs. One of the most significant areas of a building that builders use aluminum to improve its characteristics is the cladding system. With this said, aluminum claddings are the building products that architects go for when designing their client’s facilities. Although various types of metal cladding are available in the market, ACM panels are currently dominant. However, you may also hear of aluminum panel, the traditional style of cladding that architects used for the building facade. This article will help you understand the primary differences between aluminum and composite panels.
Years before Aluminum composite panel production, the solid aluminum panel was the leading material for metal panel manufacturers, fabricators, and architects across the world. At the time when ACM started to grow, board manufacturers flooded the market with these products. With this, they took the massive share of the market away from the solid panels, which dominated the market. Composite sheets offered a vast variety of standard colors, which were more affordable, and they had very lightweight and easy formable characteristics.
Thus, ACM Panels usage started to grow day by day in different types of projects and applications. However, there is still time and place where solid aluminum panels have many advantages over composite materials. Before knowing the main differences between these two approvable products, it is important to understand the definition of each one.
An aluminum panel is a solid piece of aluminum product, which is non-laminated. It has standard widths of 36, 48, 60, and 72 inches, and the typical width of this panel system is 1.8 inches or 125 inches. This type of material is often utilized in heavy-duty applications such as military and transportation product manufacturing and even in aerospace. It is approvable for being shaped and formed to use as a skin of jets and different fuel tanks.
This is due to the tough characteristics of aluminum at super-cold temperatures. This paneling system is also used to produce structural sections for ships and railcars. In addition, these panels are appropriate for buildings cladding. It is not very heavy compared to other metal materials in the industry, thus it can have easier installation methods.
Aluminum Composite Panel
ACP materials are laminated products, which have a standard dimension of 4mm and 6mm with 0.20 metal skin on the surface of each side of the product. These products come in an extremely wide variety of color finishes thus they offer larger quantities of fabrication for building claddings. These panels are used for both exterior and interior applications, they are perfect for modern façade renovation and construction, and they are approvable for furniture manufacturing.
Aluminum composite material provides different types of techy products for modern architecture such as longboards and sidings. These panels come with many beneficial specifications such as having lightweight, high impact strength, sound insulation, etc. It is good to mention that the cost of these products is lower in comparison to solid aluminum.
Aluminum Composite Panel Types
ACP companies and manufacturers classify ACM panels based on their specific purpose, coatings, and appearance. Aluminum composite panels can differ in their coating materials, textures, finishes, and properties. Manufacturers utilize various layers depending on your needs, architect’s designs, and the location of your building. Additionally, depending on your local building codes and regulations, ACP manufacturers will produce these cladding systems with specific characteristics such as fireproof property. For more details about types of composite panels, we have provided a thorough blog for you to read.
Aluminum Panel and Aluminum Composite Panel Main differences
Now that you know what aluminum composite panels and aluminum panels are; it is time to get to their primary differences. Although both aluminum cladding systems can be practical for specific projects, it is essential to know their differences to choose and buy the most suitable one for your building renovation or new construction project.
Change in Standards and Regulatory
Building standards and regulations are changing throughout different regions all over the world. These changes include full-scale wall assembly and installation testing and non-combustibility requirements for wall cladding. When it comes to choosing the right material, the option of a non-combustible solid aluminum panel is practicable. However, in most cases, ACM panels pass certain standard tests due to their fireproof characteristic.
Colors and Finishes
Typically, both solid and composite aluminum panels accept most of the colors and finishes available in the industry. However, ACP is the dominant material when it comes to finishes. This paneling system can have limitless finishing choices such as high-gloss, wooden, stainless steel, and a variety of colors. For example, wood finish is perfect when it comes to wood siding products, which are very trendy for designing residential facilities.
In domestic aluminum panels, fluorocarbon spraying is utilized. This process includes sheet metal pieces spraying and processing. Sheet metal processing is mainly about fabricating and turning the aluminum panels into different shapes and sizes for applications and it is done by cutting, bending, welding, folding, polishing, etc. These methods are more difficult and complex for ACP in comparison to solid aluminum, thus they require higher skill and precision. In addition to the mentioned methods, they are other processes, which need to be done and are forming, compounding, trimming, and coating. These processes can be produced automatically by utilizing machines. Thus, aluminum composite panel fabrication is considered as having the advantage of environmental safety and protection.
For fabricating any kind of aluminum paneling system, it is better to have a separate machine for each type. This is due to the different specifications of both products. For example, cutters are put under more pressure when processing a solid aluminum panel, which can lead to dulling the tooth of the machine. However, both paneling products can be fabricated without losing their structural integrity.
Ease of Installation
ACM panels are hard to defeat when it comes to installation simplicity. The ease of installation in these materials is due to their lightweight characteristic. However, a solid aluminum panel is not excessively heavy compared to other cladding materials and they can be very applicable for different projects, which require a hand-installing method.