Global Aluminium Shortage – Are there alternatives?
Thousands of products are threatened by a global aluminium shortage. One of the key components in aluminium alloys is magnesium. These alloys are used in everything from car parts to building materials and food packaging.
Magnesium stocks have been particularly affected by the lack of supplies from China, which has a near monopoly on the magnesium market. China has reduced the output of magnesium as part of the efforts to reduce its power consumption.
What makes the shortage a pressing issue is that there are no substitutes for magnesium in aluminium alloy production.
The shortages also are leading to the price of aluminium increasing dramatically, reaching a decade high as reported in the Financial Times.
Not everything made from aluminium can be replaced by alternative materials.
However, some products can be replaced with alternatives. Such as ladders, handrails, walkways, roof access walkways. Equivalent products can be produced from fibreglass reinforced polymer (FRP) structural profiles and grating.
Just like aluminium, FRP profiles can be custom fabricated into ladders to ensure they meet customers exacting requirements.
FRP profiles are available in a range of sizes, shapes and wall thicknesses, allowing the most appropriate to be selected.
The ladders can be engineered to meet Australian Standard AS1657-2018.
FRP also offers a solution for handrail systems. They are typically constructed from FRP structural profiles. For industry they are typically yellow, although any RAL colour is available (MOQ applies).
Typical arrangements are either square or round configurations.
FRP Handrail components are lightweight and easy to fabricate on-site.
Walkways and roof access
There is no doubt that working at heights presents significant risks, making roof access safety systems critical.
Both aluminium and FRP can be used to create walkway and platform systems to suit all types of roof applications. FRP grating offers excellent slip resistance even in the harshest of conditions.
FRP walkways offer a huge range of applications from single safety steps to elevated plaforms.
FRP products also offer a host of other features such as:
- Safe non-conductive
- UV stable
- Fire resistant
- Low maintenance
- Corrosion resistant
- Chemical resistant