View Full Version : Bosch VS IPS Extrusion Systems

01-11-2002, 01:27 AM
We're trying to evaluate extrusion construction systems. Is the IPS extrusion system different from Bosch, or is it the same thing under a different label? If different, which one is:
- Cheaper
- Lighter
- IYHO Better
- Used by the most teams (at least in MI).

We wish to hear from anyone using either (OR ANOTHER) extrusion construction system, so we can evaluate which one (if any) to use.

If we're to use one, we'd like to use the most popular system so we can join in your "spare parts pool" at the competitions.

Here's the links we've seen for them so far:
Bosch - http://www.boschautomation.com/products_aluminum_framing.html

IPS Michigan
12874 Westmore Street, Livonia, MI 48150
Phone: 734-522-9100 800-333-4932
Fax: 734-522-9102
Email: sales@ips-i.com
WebPage: http://www.industrialprofile.com
Other locs: http://www.item-products.com/SearchByState.asp http://industrialprofile.com/IPSCatalog2000v11.htm

There was a recent posting on another forum showing a couple of IPS "FIRST Kit specials" featuring an image of the TechnoKat's machine. A "small kit" for $325, and the "large kit" for $1K. (I've included it again here.)

Are those two IPS deals a good mix and/or a price break, or simply a compiliation of parts at normal price?

What are the pros and cons to these systems? (weight per foot, etc...?)

Please advise us on these sytems soon. We're about to "cut iron" so if we're going with one of these vs. traditional construction, we have to pick one right away.


- Keith McClary, Advisor, Huron High Team 830 "Rat Pack"

Loren 930
01-11-2002, 04:45 PM
For all those teams using extruded aluminum for their robots: I recommend the German brand "item". It is by far the strongest, lightest, and most diverse extrusion system in the world. I can offer design assistance, product cut to length, drilled, tapped and shipped to your site at an extensive discount. We will ship your required material in one day. Send an email with your required material to loren@item-midwest.com or call 262-363-4800 9am to 8pm CST M-Sat. Please visit the website www.itemamerica.com for an online catalog or call me for a catalog and/or design assistance. We have supported other teams with this product and they find it to be the best system available.

Team 930

Tony G.
01-11-2002, 06:12 PM
For Years Bosch has been the dominant name in aluminum extrusion both in the US & Europe. FIRST teams have been using Bosch for a while and Spare Parts Inc offers the Bosch line in their flyer (or they did last year).

From a quality standpoint, they are both very good - the 2 best on the market. IPS (foremery known as ITEM) tends to be higher in price. (I know this because we are a Bosch dealer)

On the weight issue, they are both about the same. Both companies offer different versions of their extrusion, light wall & heavy wall. For the competition, you will want to use light. It's less expensive it you wont need the moment of inertia the heavy wall has. The BOSH 45x45 lite is lighter than IPS light.

IPS does not have dealers in every state who stock the extrusion but BOSCH does. You will find most teams using BOSCH. My company has 2 teams in the LI regional. Last year many robots had bosch frames.

Because of the game this year, I recommend the Bosch 45x45 Lite. (dont go with 30x30...Not strong enough). I'm a designer of Bosch systems so I have experience in this area.

If you cant get Bosch, IPS is the next best but expect to pay more.
I hope tis answers some of your questions.

Oh and we have a special deal for all FIRST teams this year. See attached spreadsheet.

Tony Giammarinaro
Team 569 Technical advisor

Tony G.
01-11-2002, 06:23 PM
By the way Keith,
Those kits by IPS are way over priced for what they contain. Best bet, go with individual parts you choose on your own. If pay $325 for extrusion and parts for this robot (or worse yet, 1K)
something is wrong. We built ours with $100 worth of material.

Tony Giammarinaro
Team 569 & 496
Engineer Lead

Loren 930
01-11-2002, 09:04 PM

Thank you for clarifying the Bosch / IPS (industrial profile systems) differences. You are correct in saying that IPS is expensive - it is. And it is not available in every state - good point. The biggest complaint I hear about the Bosch system is cost and weight - both extrusions and fasteners. It would be better suited to situations where weight is not a factor.

The good news for this years teams is that "item" (made in Germany and a 25yr old company)is available in the US throughout the country. "item" is not IPS - never was, never will be. "item" has a huge array of sizes, from an 8.5mm x 16mm up to 160x80mm. The most common sizes used by the FIRST teams are 20x20, 20x40, and 30x30. The best (strongest and lightest)fastener is the "automatic" fastener. You can assemble connections without ANY machining whatsoever - no drilling, no tapping, etc. See attached file for basic info. Call 262-363-4800 for more info.

Good Luck!!

Team 930

01-11-2002, 11:40 PM
Tony Giammarinaro (Team 569 & 496 Engineer Lead) wrote:
> By the way Keith,
> Those kits by IPS are way over priced for what they contain.
> Best bet, go with individual parts you choose on your own.
> If pay $325 for extrusion and parts for this robot (or worse yet, 1K) something is wrong.
> We built ours with $100 worth of material.

Oh, HO!! One of our students volunteered to look and add up their kit prices, but hasn't gotten back to us yet.

Very sneaky... <grin>

This is GREAT information, folks. So *is* IPS their own brand, or a re-label of another? Any other comments about, or experience stories from working with either IPS or Bosch?

Anyone want to express an opinion on this "80/20" stuff I'm hearing rumors about (any URLs for THAT one)? How about other brands? How do THEY compare to these two?

- Keith McClary, Advisor, Huron High Team 830 "Rat Pack"
ACTI - Automation Computer Technologies, Inc.
"Electrical Engineers deal with current events..."

01-12-2002, 12:03 AM

i've got the catalog in front of me right now...

Tony G.
01-12-2002, 01:15 AM
IPS is their own brand. It used to be ITEM-USA. (Not to be confused with ITEM-Germany)

ITEM has as good a product selection as Bosch or better and have strong profiles but they too are way more expensive than Bosch.

Be careful with 80/20. They are cheap, but you get what you pay for and they do not include fasteners with any connectors.

People say Bosch' connectors are expensive but that is because they come with hardware. ITEM & 80/20 do not.

With Item & Bosch you'll get good quality, large selection. FIRST has endorsed Bosch for years.

Finally, if you do some moment of inertia comparisons, you'll know why I say be careful with 80/20. Least strongest.

Go to your local Bosch distributor and they'll give you tons of scrap to play with. This is because all Bosch distributors are also the designers and fabricatin centers. We give away lots of scrap to FIRST teams.

Any teams in the NY/NJ area are welcome to come by and pick up as much scrap as you can carry away with you.

Now start designing people. Good luck to everyone !

Tony Giammarinaro
Team 569 Lead Eng

Loren 930
01-12-2002, 09:29 AM

I have added a few more pages of the catalog for those you don't want to download the entire catalog from the www.itemamerica.com site. If you want more info, please contact me for a catalog or direct design assistance. loren@item-midwest.com. As our team and other teams have found out, don't overdesign with large heavy profiles. Keep your sizes small and use easy-to-use strong and light fasteners. Structural rigidity is the key here - the whole idea behind structural aluminum is to keep the weight off so you can add other important features. Use the nomograms or equations supplied in the catalog to properly select the size of profile that works best. I can't wait to see some of the unique designs that are sure to be present at this year's competitions. Go get 'em!

Team 930

Tony G.
01-12-2002, 11:36 AM
While I agree with Loren in part, I think she bases her finding predominately on mfg catalog pages behind her desk and without the benefit of field experience

Yes, Connector strength is important…known as “carrying capacity”. The Bosch catalog has an extensive engineering section devoted entirely to deflection, moment of inertia, and carrying capacity of various connectors under various conditions. If the brand you’re thinking about using does not – think again.

Part of my job as a Field structural engineer and P.E. is to evaluate structures based on published data and compare that to real-world environmental conditions. I’m telling you from practical experience with robot design, specifically from last years competition, if you use a t-slot profile smaller than 1.5” or 45mm square – YOU’RE ASKING FOR TROUBLE.

Last year we had 2 robots. 1 was built using BOSCH 45X45 mm & the other using 30x30 mm. Both robots made it to the finals but the robot built with 30x30 suffered some serious structural failures during the end of the 2nd day of competition and required some emergency repairs to the frame. The robot built with 45x45 had a low center of gravity and weighed 20 lbs. (with connectors) It suffered a high speed crash falling from the bridge while it was up, landed and continued play without incident. It was amazing to see how many teams were scrambling in the pits to do damage control in between rounds, while we just sat & waited for the next round.

This year – MORE THAN EVER – there will be high speed impacts, use of bumpers,
pushing, ramming & the like. Take my advice from practical experience and NOT catalog data. Use high strength-weight ratio extrusion like 45x45. If you go smaller this year, you’ll more than likely spend time making repairs in the pit.

If anyone would like to see the cad drawing of our beefy, light weight robot frame which placed 2nd in the LI Regioanals, let me know & I will email it to you in acad R14 format.

Tony G.
Team 569
Lead eng

Andy Baker
01-12-2002, 09:25 PM
This t-slot extrusion business is fairly interesting, that's for sure. It is expensive... but all brands are, not just IPS.

IPS is it's own brand, and there are many others, as mentioned above. Not only is there Bosch and Item, but also Palletti, ParFrame, Rose+Krieger, and many others.

Bosch has been sold by Small Parts for the past two years (2000 and 2001) after many teams requested an aluminum extrusion in the additional materials list... it was added in 2000.

We've used this type of stuff for the past two years on our robots and I've used it at work for the past 10 years at work (various manufacturers).

Here are my suggestions from what we've learned:

1. Don't use "universal fasteners" or "automatic fasteners". They will come use under the dynamic loading of a FIRST competition. Use steel t-slot nuts (economy style is OK).

2. 30x30 size is plenty big enough for these robots. I disagree with the point made above about requiring 45x45 bosch extrusion. If you use 30x30 properly, it is just fine... even this year. 20x20 is too small, though.

3. These extrusions are sometimes too heavy for this application, that's why I added the box extrusion (30mm x 30mm) and the tube extrusion (30mm dia) in the IPS small and large kits... This stuff is lighter and weaker than the t-slot stuff, but it works well for arms and structural support.

4. This industry is very competitive. Many of them say that "ours it the best, lightest, cheapest, etc.". The fact is that they are all pretty darn good. Your best bet is to go with a company which you can get a great deal with (or free stuff) who is local, so that they can also show you how to use it.

Good luck,
Andy B.

Tony G.
01-12-2002, 09:44 PM
Hi Andy.

I see you've had a lot of experience using aluminum extrusion. The issue of 45x45 vs 30x30 is debatable. The message in my post comes from a lot of years designing modular structures exclusively with BOSCH aluminum extrusion. When in doubt, I tend to err on the side of caution & rigidity. But all of the other points you make very accurate and I am in total agreement with.
In the final analysis, there truly is little difference between most of the brands. Go with who will give you the best dea, free stuff,
design assistance (if you're new to this) and quick lead times.

The 2 brands I recommend are ITEM & BOSCH for product selection, quick delivery, quality and cost. Give the edge to BOSCH if local support is a factor. Every state has a local dealer who stocks and has a fab shop.

Wishing you and your team best of luck this year in what should prove to be an exciting competition. Best regards,

Tony G.
Team 569