IPS aluminum profile extrusion fastenersFasteners are the heart of systems made from aluminum profile extrusions. They are the key to rapid assembly of frames, workstations, benches, machine guards or whatever else you’re building. Fasteners make them all possible.

When you’re designing a structure you will want to consider how to join the aluminum profile extrusions. IPS understands this, and has ensured there are enough options that your designs should never be compromised to make parts fit. Here’s a look.

Joint Considerations

Aluminum extrusion is strong in both bending and resistance to twisting. Joints need to be just as strong. There are two parts to achieving this.

  • Joint configuration
  • Fasteners used

Joint configuration is about arranging tees and right angles so the loads go through the aluminum extrusion rather than relying on friction. We covered this in our blog, “Aluminum Extrusion Joints – Design and Assembly Considerations”.

The fasteners are what hold the aluminum profile extrusions in your design together. We offer several different types, most of which are variations of a bolt that screws into a nut inserted into the T-slot. Which you select depends on your design goals and the function and loads at each joint.

T-Slot Nuts

A T-slot nut slides into the slots running along the sides of the aluminum extrusion and is held in place by the same. To aid assembly, the T-slot nuts we use incorporate a spring-loaded ball. This pushes the nut up against the opening in the slot, holding the nut in place and making it easier to insert the bolt.

Nuts go up in size as you move from lightweight L5 to heavyweight L8 profile, because heavier profile uses larger diameter screws capable of handling more torque.

Fastener Options

The nut is only part of the fastening hardware; you also need a screw that works with our aluminum profile extrusions. Here’s what’s available:

  • Universal fastener – a strong connection for right-angled joints, resists torsion, used in pairs, requires some machining of the extrusion
  • Automatic fastener – also for right-angled joints, but no machining required, the screw sits in the T-slot and is secured with a second screw
  • Central fastener – for light load applications, needs some machining but provides a very clean appearance
  • Butt fasteners – available in both automatic and universal formats, these join aluminum profile extrusions end-to-end

In addition, there’s what we call the Standard fastener and there are fasteners for miter joints and for fixing angle brackets.

The Standard fastener is a little different to the others. This has a screw that goes into the central hole on the end of a length of profile and tabs that grip the T-slot in the pieces being joined. It is designed to resist torsion.

Miter joint fasteners enable profile connections from any angle. Angle brackets and plates are fastened with a countersunk screw that goes directly into the nut. No profile machining is needed for these.

Fastening Options for Your Design

A structure assembled from aluminum profile extrusions can be every bit as strong as a welded fabrication; the key is close attention to joint design. IPS offers a range of fastening options, some of which require the profiles receive a limited amount of machining. Our website provides details of the different fasteners but you may want the advice of our specialists. If that’s the case, contact us and let’s talk.

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