November 8, 2019

What’s the Difference Between Roll-formed Steel and Extruded Aluminum Products?

When selecting materials for constructing products for the construction, manufacturing and electronic components industries, two materials often appear as raw materials for these products: Extruded aluminum and roll-formed steel.

Extruded aluminum products

But how do you select one material over the other? The answer is that it depends on what you are looking for.

Tensile Strength

If you have a need that requires high tensile strength such as roofing, water tanks, frames, brackets, bars, and clamps, roll-formed steel is probably the best option. But extruded aluminum also has very good tensile strength and might be adequate for some of these needs depending on how much stress and wear is expected on the part or product.


If weight is a consideration at all, the best choice is extruded aluminum. It weighs a third of what an equal amount of roll-formed steel coverage weighs because of the higher density of the steel, and when you compare the strength to weight of extruded aluminum vs. roll-formed steel, extruded aluminum is much better.


Roll-formed steel is not a good conductor of electricity or heat and cannot usually be used for these functions. On the other hand, extruded aluminum has excellent conductivity for both heat and electricity and is widely used in these applications. So, if you need a conductive metal for your product, extruded aluminum is what you should use.


When it comes to recyclability extruded aluminum wins hands down. Aluminum, especially premium aluminum billet, is highly recyclable and scrap can be used for new aluminum extrusion products, where roll-formed steel has little scrap value.

Production Speed

Roll form steel is created by rolling a coil of steel through a series of rollers to create the part, it is ideal for producing large quantities of parts or long parts. In these cases, the speed of production is much faster when you use roll form steel when compared to aluminum extrusion.

Production Setup

Setting up production for both extruded aluminum and roll-formed steel products can be expensive, but overall the tooling costs for aluminum extrusion are relatively inexpensive, especially if you need a simple aluminum shape which will run a few hundred dollars. Tooling for roll-formed steel projects typically costs thousands of dollars to setup and requires a lot of lead time for the production setup.


For most manufacturing needs in these industries, extruded aluminum is the superior material for manufacturing in almost every way. There are a few rare exceptions where roll-formed steel is the better option, but most of the time an aluminum extruded product would be lighter, have comparable strength to, and be less expensive to a comparable roll-formed steel product.

Getec is the Best Choice for Extruded Aluminum Manufacturing

Getec provides a wide variety of extruded aluminum services including extruded aluminum heat sink manufacturing, extruded aluminum profile design, extruded aluminum tubing and much more. For more information, please give us a call at 888-999-8499, contact us online, or send us an email at speak to one of our extruded aluminum services specialists today.