Why Gate Crafters 6061 - T6 Grade Aluminum?

Aluminum Gates - Driveway Gates

Did you know that aluminum gates come in different grades, with varying yield strengths? Due to its light weight and rust resistant features, aluminum is often used for a variety of exterior home projects. In the debate published by Amazing Gates over aluminum verses steel driveway gates, we believe our competitors at Amazing Gates have been misleading online shoppers by comparing the mild steel Amazing Gates uses to low grade aluminum not even designed for driveway gates. We want to set the record straight - to clearly illustrate that not all aluminum is made the same.

Below you'll see a quality GateCrafters 6061-T6 grade aluminum driveway gate and how it can far surpass an impromptu weight test. Then watch a direct comparison to the inferior aluminum product that was presented by Amazing Gates.

See the Real Difference
Not Amazing Gates Aluminum

Compare the images. Above is a GateCrafters 6061-T6 grade aluminum picket prior to being painted. Now view the image to the right - which is actually a low-grade pool fence post.

Amazing Gates wants you to believe this is the typical aluminum being used

This broken aluminum post Above and a similar one on Amazing Gate's page are most often used for in-ground pool fencing. Obviously pool fencing and driveway gates are two different products. But Amazing Gates wants to mislead you by implying that this post is used in driveway gates. It's not.

Like the Gate shown on Amazing Gates Another misnomer presented by Amazing Gates is the comparison between aluminum driveway gates to residential fencing usually found around the parameter of sprawling country properties. This kind of pop-together aluminum fencing from a distance resembles a driveway gate, but it's often meant to visually deter animals and pedestrians from crossing over onto private property. This cheap panel doesn't come close to the high grade or yield strength of the GateCrafters 6061-T6 aluminum.

Aluminum Resistance
Each aluminum gate is constructed from 6061-T6 rust free wrought aluminum alloy. 6061-T6 wrought aluminum is a high-grade alloy with a yield strength of about 35,000 pounds per square inch. For comparison, this is much stronger than "mild steel" which has a yield strength at about 20,000 to 30,000 pounds per square inch (depending on quality of alloy). 6061-T6 wrought aluminum is used for the purpose of durability and resiliency, providing a quality dent resistance and lasting beauty. GateCrafters.com ships nationwide we chose this higher grade of aluminum also to avoid any shipping damage. We take pride in the fact that our gates will stand up to the tough trials of shipping and still last a lifetime. Most aluminum gate manufacturers use 6063 aluminum, which is a weaker grade of aluminum and does not have the yield or resilience of 6061-T6. Other gate manufactures use this cheaper grade because they fail to see past the importance of the additional resiliency when driveway gates absorb the bumps of everyday life. A key test for gates is their resilience. Gates should be able to absorb pressure and then return to its original shape. To resist snapping, 6061-T6 alloy has a high level of pliability, much like an airplane wing. When pressure is exerted on the material it yields to the pressure, and when the pressure is released it regains its original form.

This picture was sent in as a testament to the quality and strength of a GateCrafters.com aluminum gate. They had purchased and installed this gate in 2008 and recently Dec 2010 they had a violent storm. During this storm a large tree came crashing down on their gate. As you can see from the picture this tree, that is large enough to smash through a car or house, did very little damage to the gate. What makes a GateCrafters.com gate this strong? The all-welded design, the 6061-T6 aluminum, and the automation ready horizontal cross bar design does; and on top of that the fact they are all built in the USA give us the ability to monitor closely the quality.

Aluminum vs. Steel Comparison Guide
Now that you've seen the different types of aluminum, view this comparison guide to learn why aluminum is superior to steel when it comes to quality of material, endurance and automation capabilities.

Due to its chemical make-up, aluminum doesn't rust. It has an innate resistance to corrosion from a naturally occurring surface layer of aluminum oxide. Meanwhile, Amazing Gates displayed an image of a white gate with rust stains claiming it is "aluminum." This image is misleading - the gate cannot be aluminum since aluminum simply does not rust.

Ultimately, 6061-T6 rust free wrought aluminum alloy beats steel in the comparison test from installation ease to efficient automation and everything in between.

Galvanized Steel's Negative Environmental Impact
Amazing Gates does not use environmentally friendly aluminum Amazing Gates touts their galvanized steel product line. They illustrate the extensive process that creates galvanized steel which is used as the foundation of all their driveway gates. The process may look intricate but in this case "more" doesn't mean "better." According to an EPA document called "Waste Minimizing Assessment for a Manufacturer Producing Galvanized Steel Parts" published in 1992, "The amount of hazardous waste generated by industrial plants has become an increasingly costly problem for manufacturers and an additional stress on the environment."

This is mainly because the galvanization process creates two major sources of wastewater waste acid and acidic rinse water. The acid must be disposed of properly which takes up landfill space - if it is not disposed of properly, it causes environmental damage. Due to more strict standards for galvanizing steel in the U.S., many companies like steel driveway gate manufacturers turn to overseas to produce their galvanized steel products. Since Asia and surrounding areas have less strict rules about the galvanization impact on the environment . . . companies choose to use this outsourcing to take advantage of cheap labor and loose environmental standards. Learn more about the galvanization process and its negative impact on the environment.

Please note that despite the disappointing news regarding galvanized steel, Gate Crafters wants you to know that the alternative Aluminum is far better in terms of environmental impact. In fact, SapaGroup.com explains in an article on their website how Aluminum is the "Green Metal", because of the reduction of pollution from its production and the material's ability to be recycled/ reused.

Trust GateCrafters.com
As leaders in the industry GateCrafters.com offers high quality aluminum driveway gates that are engineered with automation in mind, built to withstand harsh weather and designed for optimal safety. Additionally, our 6061-T6 aluminum is the green option for driveway gates. Finally, our aluminum driveway gates are made in the USA by skilled welders.

If you have any questions about using aluminum, give us a call at 1-800-537-4283.

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