Cross Members

In the recent years in North America, the top selling vehicles have been sport utilities (SUV) and pickups. The larger SUVs and pickups have a body-on-frame architecture that utilizes the traditional ladder frame. A growing application of extrusions are cross-members on the body-on-frame vehicles.

There are many scenarios where the vehicle frame is prone to twist. Driving over a curb with one wheel is probably the most common.
The frame is the backbone of these versatile vehicles used for carrying payload, off-roading, and years of driving.

Success Stories 

Ladder Frame Structure

The ladder frame is the most common cross-member structure. Highly engineered, the front end carries the engine and much of the head-on crash energy. Frame construction is versatile in the ladder frame, especially in the cross-members.

At Lightweighting World Expo 2019, the Silverado engineer explained the material selection and the use of aluminum extrusion outside of the crash zone. The frame stiffening member that delivered the best performance, economics, and weight was an aluminum extrusion. The extrusion can easily be tailored in cross-sections and produced with low-cost tooling to meet prototype and production demands.

See Success Stories to learn of the other American icons in the off-road world that are also taking advantage of aluminum extrusions in the frame.

Frame Extrusions 

Frames are synonymous with rugged, robust, strong, and tough. The aluminum alloy that is most common in cross-members is the workhorse, 6061, used in everything from airplanes to trucks to bridges. Your extrusion partner can tailor the grain structure and the temper to meet your requirements.

Aluminum-intensive body structure achieves exceptional product performance. Efficient use of multi-alloy, structural extrusions delivers low weight and torsional stiffness for superior vehicle dynamics and ride quality.

Cross Frames in the Market

In addition to the pickup trucks and SUVs, the aluminum spaceframe-structured supercars use extruded cross members as well. You can find extrusions everywhere. The 2020 C8 Corvette has cross-members, engine supports, rockers, and a center tunnel. It is a great example of the application and integration of extrusions joined to castings and sheet metal.

Aluminum Extrusions on the C8 Corvette Body Structure

Source: Lightweighting World Expo 2019

Similarly, the Acura NSX uses extrusions, high integrity structural castings, sheet metal and a host of fastening & joining techniques.

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