Aluminum Fixture Plates Versus Steel Fixture Plates

Categories: Fixturing Table

Also referred to as tooling plates, aluminum fixture plates are essential for implementing metrology operations. Containing numerous threaded apertures to mount parts, fixture plates improve reproducibility and inspection accuracy.

Keep reading to learn more about steel and aluminum fixture plates and their many applications.

What Are Fixture Plates?

An aluminum, or steel fixture plate can be designed to fit a specific machine with a custom feel and to conform to specific applications. Customization of plates is an essential aspect of delivering a superior product that will satisfy clients. Additionally, fixture plates typically have letters and/or numbers printed on the plate that correspond to certain parts to expedite setups and repeatability.

Both aluminum and stainless steel fixture plates have their own set of benefits. Read on to learn about each type.

Aluminum Fixture Plates

The aluminum alloy used to make aluminum fixture plates works to reduce movement, improve stability, and minimize stress on the machine. With excellent resistance to corrosion and rust, aluminum plates also offer the following benefits:

  • Maximum Resistance to Corrosion
  • Better Strength & Versatility
  • Customer-Preferred
  • Can Be Combined With Powder Coating & Anodizing

When technicians want to protect the granite surface of the CMM an aluminum fixture plate used during high-volume projects will solve this problem immediately. Providing the protection necessary for extending the life of the CMM granite surface.

Steel Fixture Plates

A steel fixture plate is sometimes preferred over an aluminum fixture plate for one or more of the following reasons:

  • They’re More Resistant to Nicks & Thread Degradation
  • Steel Has High Tensile Strength
  • Black Oxide Finish
  • RC Finish

Both aluminum and steel fixture plates have their advantages and disadvantages. When deciding between the two, you must consider the application.


Fixture plates are predominantly used by CMM technicians to save time through repeatability and protect a machine’s table from damage. Aluminum or steel fixture plates are mounted on top of granite surfaces to create a flatter surface to measure parts and reduce movement of the plate. In contrast to counterbore holes are placed in proper location to the CMM’s threaded holes and bolts are provided to match the thread. This means fixture plates always remain at a specific location at all times.

Aluminum and steel fixture plates can adapt to both older and new CMM machines.

Which One Is Better?

Aluminum fixture plates are slightly less expensive than steel. Additionally, aluminum works better for tasks that are repeated or where the plate would need to be removed (depending on the size of the plate).where a heavier part could cause problems nicks on the surface but with a anodize finish this helps protect the surface as well. Steel plates are also be treated with black oxide to prevent corrosion, strengthen the plate and reduce wear from use. Alternatively, anodizing aluminum plates is necessary to prevent the same kind of corrosion and reduce wear.

The question of whether one is better than the other really depends on the type of parts being measured, the weight of the part, and other factors involved in the CMM process to specific customer needs.

Contact Rayco Fixture Today!

Still have questions? Contact our experts at Rayco Fixture. Rayco Fixture has provided superior aluminum and steel plate fixtures for over four decades. Our stellar reputation stems from our ability to proactively resolve issues regarding custom fixture styles and measurements. CMM machine tables equipped with our fixture plates are more likely to protect the granite surface.

Learn more about our custom fixture services here. If you would like to speak with one of our experienced engineers, call (800) 443-8827 or fill out our online form today.