White Paper: The Rise of T-Slot Aluminum Extrusion Profiles in North American Automation, Machine Building & Safety Guarding

Executive Summary

Known for being light weight, durable and robust, extruded aluminum framing has been used in North American manufacturing for necessary but basic functions like safety hard guarding and building simple tables and industrial workbenches. European manufacturers however, have used the same material with great results for more innovative, cutting-edge designs and processes, including:

•      Single and multi-axis linear motion

•      Machine building

•      Automation and material handling applications

To remain competitive in a global economy, North American manufacturers must consider alternatives that reduce cost and improve adaptability for changing manufacturing needs.  For example, traditional welded, painted steel applications are shifting to structural aluminum for the most critical processes.  Aluminum extrusion profiles offer a lighter, reusable and more cost-effective solution than traditional welded steel for a variety of manufacturing processes, including assembly, automation, linear motion and material handling needs.

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Aluminum Extrusion Profiles Enable Innovative Hotel Breakfast Bar

Most people associate aluminum extrusion profiles with a variety of industrial applications, like material handling equipment, safety hard guarding, linear motion systems and machine building.

breakfast nook made from extruded aluminum profiles

But, the ingenuity of a Michigan-based construction company and engineers at MB Kit Systems, plus the willingness of an Embassy Suites hotel, has pushed the use of aluminum extrusion framing into a much more public role – hotel furniture. 

MB Kit Systems was asked to design a portable, custom enclosure and breakfast bar, made entirely out of structural aluminum and polycarbonate panels, that would be located in the Novi, Mich., Embassy Suites atrium.

Over the course of several months, MB Kit Systems engineers collaborated with the construction company on various ideas and designs. Within six weeks of the initial discussions, Solid Edge drawings, 3D models and quotes were submitted for approval.

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Visit MB Kit Systems at Rockwell Automation Events

MB Kit Systems Inc. will participate in several upcoming Rockwell Automation on the Move (RAOTM) events to showcase the company’s capabilities in designing and building belt-driven linear actuators, safety guarding, specialty enclosures and custom structures that incorporate or complement Rockwell Automation components and technology.

These mini tradeshows enable customers of Rockwell Automation to attend technical sessions, hands-on labs and product and technology exhibits to learn more about solutions that help improve quality and safety, reduce unscheduled downtime and optimize operating costs. The only companies permitted to exhibit in the RAOTM events are those that have been pre-qualified as Rockwell Automation partners through its Encompass Partner Program.

MB Kit Systems will display examples of its belt-driven linear actuators, which can be used in such applications as overhead gantries, with stroke lengths up to and exceeding 100 feet, and safety guarding solutions.  The company has been a member of the Rockwell Automation Encompass Partner Program for the last 9 years.

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MB Kit Systems Inc. to Discontinue Use of item North America Name

MB Kit Systems logo

MB Kit Systems Inc., a provider of custom-engineered mechanical hardware solutions for industrial applications, today announced that the company, previously known as dba item North America, will discontinue that name and do business as MB Kit Systems Inc. The change will be effective March 1, 2017. There will be no change in ownership, management or the number of employees, and the company’s address and facilities will remain the same.

MB Kit Systems Inc. designs and constructs extruded aluminum mechanical solutions, including linear actuators, material handling systems, machine bases and safety hard guarding, for a wide range of industrial applications in the United States and globally.

For the past 20 years, the company has done business as item North America. However, throughout this time the formal company name has always been MB Kit Systems Inc. The name change represents a recommitment to the company’s roots as a full service mechanical hardware solutions provider. 

“Throughout our history, we’ve provided customers with more than just mechanical hardware. We’re a complete solutions provider that delivers deep engineering expertise as well,” says MB Kit Systems’ President Eveline Nordhauss. “Going forward we will use the name MB Kit Systems Inc. to reflect our custom-engineered systems approach.”

For more information, visit www.mbkitsystems.com or call 888-729-4500.

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Reshoring: Bringing Manufacturing Back to the US

Manufacturing companies are shifting production facilities back to the United States, a trend referred to as reshoring. Based on a survey of manufacturing executives from the Boston Consulting Group and discussed in Industry Week, companies are showing a growing inclination toward reshoring, reversing a trend two years ago of expected additional manufacturing investments in China. In the chart below, the difference becomes clear. From 2013-2015, interest in locating new manufacturing capacity in China dropped 10 percent.

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T-slotted Aluminum Profiles: Reusable and Reconfigurable

National-environmental-education-foundationAs students across the United States gain increased awareness of environmental issues during National Environmental Education Week, April 17-23. It is the responsibility of everyone, including manufacturing companies, to be mindful of our environment impact and find ways to curb inefficiency and remove unnecessary waste.

One way for manufacturers to adopt environmentally friendly principles is by utilizing our Machine Building Kit System. MB Kit Systems' high-quality extruded aluminum profiles enable manufacturers and solutions builders to design and build modular mechanical solutions that can be updated as needed, reused, and easily recycled.
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Ohio BWC Safety Intervention Grants

Ohio BWC Safety Intervention Grants

The state of Ohio through the Bureau of Workers Compensation, initiated a program to provide up to $3 to $1 matching grants to help provide safety equipment interventions for local companies and organizations.


The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation Safety and Hygiene Grants represent a unique opportunity for employers to subsidize the cost of improving workplace safety. The Ohio BWC Division of Safety & Hygienics Grants can be award from 3 programs: (1)  Safety Intervention Grant$ Program, (2) Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP) grants, and the (3) Workplace Wellness Grant$ Program. For the purpose of this blog post, the focus will be on the Safety Intervention Grant program.

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