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Lighten Your 80/20 Assembly with the Right Panels (Cost Savings too!)

Posted by Mark Howe on March 15, 2011 11:12 AM

80/20 PanelsThe t-slotted profiles of 80/20 aluminum extrusion allow you to insert a large variety of panels.  Panel functionality can range from load bearing applications to overall aesthetics.  Choosing the correct panel for your application may be difficult, so we are going to review various scenarios based on the function of the panel.

Factors That Affect Panel Choice:

  • Cost
  • Weight
  • Aesthetics
  • Application


The cost of standard panels range from $2.50 per square foot all the way to $18.00 per square foot.  If you are building something small and simple the cost of panels might not be a deciding factor.  Cost definitely becomes a factor when you are building a 6' by 10' by 5' machine guard. Ideal choice for a machine guard is the Clear Polycarbonate.  It has excellent impact properties and for 1/4" thick it is only $8.30 per square foot.

Weight, Aesthetics, and Application:

For these factors, we will use a recent customer application as an example.

Problem: In the current form the "portable" box was too heavy. We were using 3/16" thick aluminum panels ($19.25 per sf). Aesthetically the box looked great, but the overall weight made it difficult to carry which completely defeated the portability of the product.

Solution: We sent some panel samples to the customer for them to review and recommended changing the panels to 3/16" ABS black panels.  ABS panels have a hair cell texture on one side that provides a nice look and finish.  ABS is also two-thirds the weight and one-fourth the cost of aluminum. 

With the ABS panel we were able decrease the overall weight and cost of the box without sacrificing the aesthetic appeal of the customers product.


When choosing the correct panel it is important to review the 4 factors previously stated. When you know what is most important to the success of your project, you can choose the correct panel.

Topics: cost savings, cost effective, industrial automation nj/ny, aluminum extrusion in nj, aluminum extrusion, assembly