Storage and handling
Good handling practices are required if aluminium components are to be supplied to the customer in an unmarked condition. Aluminium is a relatively soft material and is easily scored or dented by clumsy handling or the use of inappropriate lifting equipment. Over-centre edge clamps, commonly used on steels, can score plate edges and steel chains can produce scratches and dents. A solution to marking by clamps is to face the jaws with a soft material - wood or polythene blocks are excellent as packing materials. Lifting should be carried out with nylon ropes or webbing straps. Remember that these softer materials are far more easily damaged than steel and more regular maintenance of any lifting equipment will be necessary. Hard particles can also become embedded in the packing or lifting strops, resulting in marking of the components.
Storage is important if the surface condition of the aluminium is not to suffer. Ideally, items should be stored indoors in a dry, clean and well - ventilated storage area. Storing plates flat may give rise to water staining from condensation collecting on the surface. This can be particularly damaging if the plates are stacked directly one on top of another, when a thick layer of hydrated oxide can rapidly form at the interface. Plates should always be separated in storage and ideally stacked on edge to provide good air circulation. This reduces the risk of accumulating water and dirt on the flat surfaces and prevents other items being stored on top. It also assists in reducing the risk of scratches from dragging plates off the stack.