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80/20 Aluminum Misconceptions

People often confuse the term t-slot with the brand 80/20. Read on to learn a little more about the history of the T-slot and clear up a few of the misconceptions surrounding it.

80/20 invented T-slot Aluminum: False

Joseph Bramah first patented the extrusion process in 1797 to extrude and manufacture lead pipes. It was used cold in a similar way to how one would press play-doh through a plastic die. The process was then used for aluminum in 1897 after Alexander Dick invented a hot extrusion process which is similar to how aluminum is extruded today.

From its creation in the early 1900s, t-slotted or channeled aluminum was created as one-offs or custom aluminum extrusions for particular industrial applications. As time passed, the company 80/20 Inc. expanded on the material’s capabilities and created hardware, fasteners, and accessories to accompany it. With its own hardware, t-slot aluminum was no longer a one-off; it became a complete framing system. 

80/20 and T-slot Aluminum mean the same thing: False

Dubbed the “Industrial Erector Set,” 80/20 Inc. has produced t-slots and parts for over 30 years. During this time, t-slotted aluminum began to be referred to as 80/20 throughout various industries. Although many companies now manufacture or provide t-slot aluminum extrusion, the branding 80/20 has stuck, in a similar way that “Kleenex” is used for tissue, but they are just one company among many in a competitive aluminum t-slot market.

80/20 is one of many T-slot Aluminum manufacturers: True

Although it may sometimes be referred to as 80/20 t-slot, Aluminum T-slot Frameworks are now made by multiple manufacturers. Each company will have its own products, services, and abilities.

When choosing to work with any company, do your research and learn how they can help and what they can offer you. Oftentimes, as in the case with 80/20, they get so large that they lose their ability to meet the more specific needs of attention that smaller companies have. Even though 80/20 Inc. was one of the first manufacturers of the t-slot framework, many manufacturers and companies are just as capable, if not more so, of providing t-slotted aluminum extrusions, hardware, fasteners, accessories, and pre-engineered solutions. The main takeaway from this is that you should do research and not choose a product or distributor on a brand name alone.

Below are a few things a person should look for in a t-slot aluminum company before making a final purchase for their application.

T-Slot Compatibility is Key

Working with a company that ensures their product is compatible with other’s profiles, fasteners, hardware, and accessories is vital. This is especially true of projects that may need to be integrated into existing applications. Having a company that makes their products in the U.S. is also important for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Much shorter lead times
  • Trust manufacturing processes
  • Better quality control over the product
  • It helps to support the local economy and the U.S.

80/20 to Parco Crossover

Free Engineering and Design Advice

Companies with full-time CAD engineers who can help with your solution from scratch are helpful, especially if you are new to using t-slotted aluminum. Some companies will do this for free, whereas others will charge you a fee.  Free quotes with CAD drawings are extremely useful in understanding how the solution will operate and fit your application before it is created and put to use.

T-Slot Pricing and Customization

A company whose pricing is competitive is essential to any budget. As you shop around, if you notice very low pricing, there is a reason for that. Either they offer a small product line, quality may be compromised as in some overseas products, have long lead times or delayed delivery could be a few of them. Some companies will charge for customization. However, there are many companies that do not charge extra for customization; some think of it as a standard offering as we do here at Parco-inc.

No Minimum Order Policy

A t-slot company that offers a no minimum order policy is beneficial for small companies and individuals looking to use this material and system for the first time. Whether it is a single piece of extrusion or a couple of fasteners, shop with a company that doesn’t expect you spend a particular amount with them when ordering.

Below we have listed just a few companies that manufacture or distribute t-slotted aluminum and deliver quality products and service.

From its invention, aluminum extrusions have benefited many industries. Unlike many other metals, aluminum is lightweight but strong and has been used in many applications for over a century. Extruded aluminum has become a material used in everyday products such as:

  • Stairways, Platforms, and Crossovers
  • Industrial Storage and Automation
  • Military components
  • Sound and Clean Room Enclosures
  • Furniture

Over the past three decades, aluminum extrusions have impacted industries heavily. Aluminum helps prevent corrosion from environmental elements, it is lightweight and has a high strength-to-weight ratio. Ultimately this allows products to be more cost-effective for both the manufacturer and the consumer. 

In the construction industry, aluminum extrusions have helped free it from the use of steel. From framing to stairs and guarding, aluminum extrusions had an initial reputation of being weak but this ended with the creation of t-slotted aluminum.

Typical Solutions That Use T-Slotted Aluminum

Thanks to the many companies that offer t-slotted aluminum and its components, various industries have benefited from numerous innovations and evolving uses for the material. T-slot aluminum framing has helped increase productivity, safety, and efficiency in many settings. 

From industrial manufacturing to automation, medical, and automotive, t-slot is used for many things such as:

Outside of the industrial and commercial environment, t-slotted aluminum extrusion is being used by many do-it-yourselfers for home office creations, garage organization, workshops, and even vehicle conversions.

If you would like more information about t-slotted aluminum solutions and how they could work for you in an industrial, commercial, or residential setting, please contact us.

aluminum heavy duty platform
aluminum heavy duty platform


9100 Front St.
Fort Wayne, IN, 46818

Phone Number

Toll Free: (800) 817-0617
Office: (260) 451-0810


Fax: (260) 451-0843



Floating Review Template1
  • Really good quality aluminum i can feel the difference between it and other parts i ordered from china also the measurements was on point
  • This was the first time I tried Parco-inc. for one of my t-slot projects. It was easy to find what I needed and order on the website. I got the parts quickly and the quality was great, so I will be buying here from now on!
  • Very good quality. Precise cut. Excellent customer service. Attractive price.
  • I am a small business and needed the t slot in a hurry. They processed my order, cut to size and shipped in less then 36 hours and 2 days before Christmas. Wonderful customer service. Thank you
  • Great prices, great products, excellent customer service...but the packing job they did is what actually takes them from excellent to stellar, because that was so perfect it make me tear up a little. I'll definitely be ordering from Parco again, no question.