The best modular components all meet specific criteria that makes them great. As we’ve been serving the industry since 1987, we get a lot of questions about modular components – especially our aluminum extrusion components. The top questions we get from people who are in the process of choosing modular components are:
- Are they durable?
- Are they easy to work with?
- How much are they?
- Are they readily available?
Because of this, we decided to create a complete guide to modular components that would answer all the questions and help to ease the process of finding and incorporating the right components into project(s).
There are a few things that makes one component stand out above another.
There are, in fact, four criteria that we strongly believe make one component better than another:
- They must be made out of the right material
- They must be durable
- They must be easy to work with
- They must be readily available
If you’re able to find components that meet these criteria, then price is not an issue.
Components that last are an investment! When you invest in strong, durable, long-lasting manufacturing components, you’re investing in your future – whether that’s a new project and you reuse components you’ve already purchased, or you just need the first project to last!
- Why Material Matters
Finding components that are made of the right material matters more than any other criteria.
Whether you choose zinc-plated steel or aluminum extrusion components, it’s important that they’re made out of the right material for the purpose they will be used for.
In fact, this first criteria for quality components affects almost every other criteria.
For example, the type of material the manufacturing component is made of typically affects durability or longevity. A bracket made of the wrong material won’t be strong enough to accomplish what you need it to do – or, worse, it will be too heavy and disturb the function of your project. You’ll find yourself right back at square one trying to find a bracket that will perform the way you need it to.
- Why Manufacturing Components Should be Durable
The main reason we recommend choosing durable manufacturing components is so that your projects will last the test of time… and weight.
No matter how you choose to use a given component, you should be able to trust that it will withstand a certain level of pressure or weight and accomplish the task at hand.
This is, once again, an investment in your future. If you find yourself purchasing components again and again, unable to recycle parts, then you might want to invest in some higher quality components.
- Why They Should Be Easy to Work With
This criteria is just common sense. If you’re working with components that make your life more difficult, it’s time to find new options!
Anything that requires special tools or machining is too much of a hassle.
Find components that only require basic tools and are compatible with one another, like our aluminum extrusion components, will make your life easier and will speed up any project that comes your way.
- Why Top-Selling Components Should Be Readily Available
How many times have you painstakingly selected a component and designed it into your project, only to find out that it takes 6 weeks to deliver? This is not only frustrating, but it costs time and money to redesign and select another component. Finding components that are readily available are key to being able to execute your projects on time and pain-free.
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Choosing the right modular components for a project can be overwhelming
You can browse through a catalog all day, but there are so many options, types, sizes, and materials to choose from that there’s just not enough time in the day to ensure that you’ll pick the components that make the most sense for your project!
If you consistently look for components you’ve used before, components you’re familiar with, or components you know to be more versatile, you’re not alone. But, that probably means you’re missing out on components that could take your project further than you realized or help you create future projects
We believe it’s critical to have the right pieces to the puzzle at the beginning of any project in order to protect the timeline of the project and deliver the best results possible, so here’s a little cheat sheet to use as you begin choosing materials for your next project
- Start with T-Slotted Extrusions
T-Slotted extrusions can be used for structural framework, supports, door and safety screen frames – basically any type of structure. They’re what we call essential modular components!
We’ve seen them used to build conference tables and even bike racks. We create all of our profiles from 6063-T6 aluminum alloy (aluminum extrusion) which ensures low weight, good strength, and a nice, clean look. Plus, all of our extrusions are made with a common T-Slot shape and pitch. This allows all of our T-Slotted aluminum extrusions to be used in conjunction with each other and the rest of our product line. We’d recommend them for almost anything!
- Use Brackets to Build Almost Anything
Most brackets come in various sizes – good ones feature alignment keys that make assembly a snap. This ensures each joint will be square when assembled, so you don’t have to be an expert to use our products. You can purchase web brackets pre-loaded with T-bolts to save time. We make sure that all of our T-bolts are Grade 8 specifications so they will hold up to any application! Because they’re primarily designed to work as attachments for support beams, you can build almost any structure you can imagine when you combine these component parts!
- Adapter and Joiner Plates are the Modular Components You Don’t Want to Overlook
With these handy little components, you can align, mount, and join support beams at any angle – making them pretty essential to any project. Look for plates that are comprised of zinc-plated, mild steel for the best finish and strength. These plates make a robust joint allowing you to build bigger, stronger structures than some other similar products
- Don’t Forget Strap Nuts and Joiner Strips
These babies are designed to perfectly join support beams for stable and neat construction. You can use the Joiner strip to join two extrusions end to end. This allows you to make structures longer or enables you to reconfigure an older design and give it new life. Depending on the end goal of your project, these can be used to help stabilize your structure and keep everything perfectly aligned
- You’ll Need Some Support Feet and Casters
From fixed support feet, to leveling foot supports, to round leveling feet, and more, it’s critical to have the right support and casters for your project. Each project will have different needs and requirements that can be filled by the many options available, but the main things to look for are strength, durability, cost, and ease of use. Fixed feet are ideal when a lot of strength is needed to support your structure. Leveling feed should be used when precision adjustment is critical to your application. If mobility is key, you can mount casters to the bottom of your structure and easily push it around from place to place
- Power Up with Electrical Components
Electrical components can be the most challenging part of the process! Get component parts that connect seamlessly and precisely. This will help protect, separate, guide, and control the electrical side of your project! We offer various sizes of wire ways that you can utilize to run wiring, airlines, and more. Each wire way profile can accept a divider, which allows you to separate your high and low voltage and run them in the same extrusion
- Protect Your Project Long-Term with Guarding Components
Accidents happen and guarding can save the day. Make sure to have guarding components on hand to help cover extending or protruding material and guard against unwanted access to your equipment. This will protect your work and your employees from harm! Our guarding components are made to work together to quickly make a rectangular panel. These panels can be fixed or mounted on hinges to allow access to your machines. We also offer a variety of guarding materials such as polycarbonate, wire mesh, aluminum extrusion, and more
- Add Assembly Hardware to Put it All Together
This one speaks for itself but is also too broad to get into the specifics. Just make sure to choose assembly hardware that will last – A.K.A. made of strong material that will withstand the test of time!
At Tekno, we offer some hardware that is made just for our extrusions – we call them T-bolts. T-Bolts can be added to any bracket or plate to mount to our extrusion. The T-bolt turns 90 degrees to lock into the extrusion and has a quick reference indication on the end to ensure it’s turned right AND T-bolts are offered in various lengths to meet your needs
The best companion to our T-bolts is our nyloc flanged nuts. They have a larger surface area to ensure it won’t deform your bracket when tightened, but the best part is the self-locking nylon insert. These fasteners are commonly used in aircrafts because once they are tightened they won’t vibrate loose. This prevents you from needing to use Loctite, lock washer, or other cumbersome fastening methods
- Top it Off with Beam End Caps
It’s the details that matter when you’re wrapping up a project. Make sure to cover sharp corners and edges for a clean and finished look and feel. Our end caps are made to fit into the ends of our extrusions and stay in place
- Accessorize Your Project with… Accessories
As you begin to consider manufacturing components for your project needs, remember to accessorize. Like we said before, it’s the little things that make a good project great and there are endless ways to add to or expand your work through accessories. We have a variety of hinges, handles, rollers, etc. that can be used in many creative ways!
Don’t Forget to Keep Modular Components On Hand for a Rainy Day
Something we always want to communicate is the importance of starting projects right. You always want to make sure you have all the manufacturing components you need – otherwise, you could be looking at some serious (and unnecessary) downtime
The easiest way to consistently ensure that you have what you need – without spending unnecessary funds – is to choose a consignment program! Consignment programs allow you to work directly with your manufacturer to keep component parts (like the ones listed above) stocked in your warehouse so that you never run out of the essentials. But, don’t worry about heavy up-front costs and unused material. You can find consignment programs that will only charge you for what you use – while still keeping you supplied with everything you need
Stop Paying for Components You Don’t Use - Choose Our Consignment Program!
Have you ever started a project and realized half-way through that you were missing a key component?
Whether it’s been misplaced or was never there to begin with, it’s always a frustrating and often costly moment. You lose time, momentum, and even money as you seek to remedy the situation.
While this is always a possibility when you start a project, there are steps you can take to prepare for this possibility and the first is to make sure you’ve got a stock of commonly used and needed components on hand.
This way, when you hit a stall in the project, all you have to do is grab the missing component parts from your storage and get right back to work.
The component parts you choose to keep on hand will, more than likely, depend on you and your business, but there are a few things that never change.
- First of all, when choosing your “on hand” components, it’s important to consider the four main criteria we discussed earlier. Are they durable?
- Are they easy to work with?
- How much are they?
- Are they readily available?
It’s not just okay to be picky with these decisions – it’s recommended! Do your research, take your time, and find the component parts that meet your needs – each and every one of them.
The thing is, it’s hard to get too specific without knowing for sure what project you’re working on and what your needs are. That said, once you’ve determined the material, price, availability, and ease of use of the components you’re interested in, there are always a few components we recommend keeping on hand.
T-Slotted extrusions can be used for structural framework, supports, door and safety screen frames, and more. Seriously. Anything goes! We especially recommend these because they are strong, durable, light weight, and have a nice, clean appearance. Plus, they’re ease to work with, can be used interchangeably, and are recyclable – A.K.A. you can use them for different projects over time as you might have the need!
You should always have some brackets on hand and in various sizes. They make assembly simple as they’re primarily designed to work as attachments for support beams, enabling you to build any structure you can imagine!
Strap Nuts & Joiner Strips
These are typically designed to perfectly join support beams for stable and neat construction, further enabling you to create whatever is needed at any given time. In addition, at least at Tekno, they are created purely out of mild steel and zink-plated, which make them the perfect blend of strength and durability.
Don’t start a project without this! No matter what you need, it’s important to have a variety of assembly hardware ready for whatever your project might have in store for you.
Getting the Most Out of Modular Components
One of the biggest things we try to stress is that it’s important to start your projects with everything you need. Don’t get halfway into a project and realize you need to start over or put the project on hold.
By finding and purchasing component parts s that are durable, easy to use, and made out of materials that last you’ll be amazed at how much money and time you’re able to save, not just throughout the project itself, but well into the future.
To make your life even easier and guarantee that you have what you need – without spending unnecessary funds – you can choose a consignment program! Consignment programs allow you to work directly with your manufacturer to stock component partss at your facility that you can use as you need them. The key advantage, as least here at Tekno, is that you don’t have to purchase these parts in advance, just pay for them as they are used!
If you’d like a consultation about component parts or our consignment program, click here to contact us! We’d love to hear from you and to help you find the components you need to keep on hand and the best way to do just that!
The Components You Need When You Need Them
Choosing Modular Components Like a Pro
By now, you’re well educated on what to look for when choosing modular components for a project.
There are a few things we want to reiterate, though, before we leave you to yourself!
- Not All Modular Components Are Created Equal
This just a critical piece of information that you need to know if you’re purchasing components.
Component value changes based on what material they’re made of, how much of that material it takes to create them, how strong the material is that they’re made of, and how long they will last.
The type of material and durability can determine the longevity of your entire project!
- You Can’t Afford to Put Your Project on Hold for a Missing Component
In addition to material and strength, it’s critical to consider how readily available these components can be. If you’re ordering component parts for a project that you’re midway through, then you cannot afford to hit pause as your components are created and shipped.
That’s why it’s so important to ensure that whatever you order is ready to ship at a moment’s notice and can be at your warehouse when you need them!
On top of this, make sure that the components you order are compatible and easy to use. Choosing components that don’t work together is a rookie mistake and will cost you both time and money!
- It’s Possible to Have all the Component Parts You Need on Hand – All the Time
This is the best way to ensure that you have what you need when you need it. Once you find high-quality components that are compatible with one another, you can order them through a consignment program to ensure that you never run out.
Consignment programs allow you to pick and choose the right components for your needs and have them delivered to you regularly! You’ll never run out, never have unnecessary downtime on a project while waiting for components to arrive, and never have to worry about getting quality components quickly.
Our consignment program saves you even more money than others because you never have to pay for anything you don’t use.
By choosing a consignment program, you don’t have to choose components again and again and again – you choose them once and your job is done!
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Final Thoughts on Modular Components
We’ve been in the business for a while and we know the challenges that come with choosing the right components for you. One thing we always try to do is share the knowledge we’ve learned over the years.
Remember: No matter what project you’re working on, choose durable, compatible, multi-use components that are readily available. By choosing modular components that meet these requirements, you’ll save money and create projects that truly last!