Students demonstrate the versatility of aluminum extrusions in the 2017 Aluminum Extrusion Design Competition

May 16, 2017 - The ET Foundation, the educational and technology research organization founded by the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC), has announced the winners in the Student 2017 Aluminum Extrusion Design Competition. More than 55 entries from 15 schools and universities from across the world were received. Scholarships totaling $8,500 were awarded to recognize the winning students’ designs featuring extruded aluminum components. From sporting goods and medical equipment to industrial and infrastructure applications, the students’ ideas highlight a variety of uses for and benefits of designing with aluminum extrusions. The competition was sponsored by Bonnell Aluminum, headquartered in Newnan, Georgia.

The designs were judged by aluminum extrusion industry professionals, including David Asher, Process Optimization Manager at Bonnell Aluminum; Todd Boyer, Director of New Business Development at Mid-States Aluminum Corp. in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; William (Bill) Rogers, Corporate Director, Metallurgy and Process Technology at Arconic, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Craig Werner, VP Extrusion Technology at Kaiser Aluminum headquartered in Foothills Ranch, California.

First Place, with a $3,000 scholarship, was awarded to Garen Gibbs, a sophomore studying industrial design at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, for his “Axial Bike Cargo Rack” with adaptable storage and integrated LED signal lights.


The judges liked the expandable configuration, incorporated joining mechanism and hinged design. “My design uses the aluminum extrusion process to create a bike rack with a low process cost … [the] lightweight and reflective qualities [of aluminum] … enhance cyclists’ visibility and make commuting with excess cargo much more simple,” noted Gibbs. The sides of the rack fold inward to grasp cargo of varying sizes and nest neatly into the main body when closed. The remote-controlled LED lights with turn signal indicators provide optimum visibility of the rider.

“This aluminum extrusion design replaces racks currently made of steel. Aluminum’s corrosion resistance, lightweight and strength make perfect sense for this application,” said competition judge Bill Rogers. 

Judge David Asher provided another reason that Gibbs’ design won. “The student’s entry demonstrates that he learned about extrusion design and referenced the educational materials provided on the AEC website to help him refine his product by utilizing the material attributes of aluminum and the extrusion process.”

For a complete list of winners, go to >

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