• Why choose an Artec Alpha Series Aluminum Bellypan?

    When it comes to protecting your vehicle's underbelly from the harshest terrain, you want the best of the best. That's where the Artec Aluminum Bellypan System comes in. We put our designs and material choices to the test in the most rugged environments to create a product that is unmatched in quality and durability. Here's why our Bellypan System stands out:


      We've tested multiple materials and found that Heat Treated 6061 T6 Aluminum provides the best value and performance for our Bellypan System.


      Our complete, smooth coverage, heavy-duty support brackets, and countersunk hardware make a huge difference in the protection our Bellypan System provides.


      Artec Industries crafts the Alpha Series Bellypan System with top-quality materials for unbeatable durability. Made in the USA, our meticulous attention to detail ensures perfect fitment and superior protection for your vehicle's underbelly in any terrain.


    Steel vs 5052 vs 6061

    Our journey of discovery into finding the right material finally settled on 6061 T6 Aluminum as the best choice for large skid protection.

    BUT WHY IS 6061 THE BEST? Here's some information on each of the materials we tested.


    At Artec Industries, we believe in providing the best materials for our products. Although steel is an excellent standard material for rugged, tough, and affordable products, its downsides make it a less-than-ideal choice for large skid plates under vehicles. Therefore, we do not use steel for any of our bellypans.

    • Weight: Steel is three times heavier than aluminum, making steel skid plates heavy to ship, install, and carry on the vehicle. This extra weight impacts gas mileage, puts stress on other vehicle components, and reduces horsepower. The initial cost savings are often outweighed by long-term expenses. Installing and servicing large steel skid plates can be a challenging and time-consuming task. To reduce weight, manufacturers usually decrease the material thickness, which leads to the next issue.

    • Denting: Thinner steel skid plates are more prone to denting due to steel's high "modulus of elasticity," meaning it is not very flexible or elastic. Once steel is crushed, it remains that way, leaving you with a permanently damaged skid plate. Removing and reinstalling a heavy, crushed, and contorted skid plate is a daunting task. OEM steel skid plates often show significant damage after just a few trails.

    • Heat Dissipation: Steel is a poor heat conductor, which is why you don't see steel heat sinks on computer chips or steel radiators. Poor heat dissipation can lead to overheated engines, increased wear and tear on components, melted electronics, and uncomfortably warm interiors.

    • Rust: Without a protective coating, steel corrodes, leading to issues with hardware and removal. Manufacturers often coat skid plates with powder coat, paint, or zinc plating, but these coatings can scratch, peel, or flake off, leaving the steel exposed to rust. Yellow zinc coating contains chromium, which is labeled as a carcinogen in California, posing potential health risks. Continual maintenance to prevent rusting can be both time-consuming and costly.

    We previously offered a steel version of our bellypans as budget option. however the price difference between and aluminum versions was minimal customers who chose were generally more satisfied with their purchase. result we discontinued version.

    See the specs on Steel vs 6061

    5052 Aluminum

    At Artec Industries, we often use 5052 aluminum in products that are not skid plates, such as inner fenders, spare tire delete kits, and quart crates. These products are not load-bearing or scraping on rocks, which is why we chose not to offer a 5052 skid plate. Here's why:                                                   

    • Fragility: Although 5052 aluminum is 1/3 the weight of steel, it lacks the strength of steel. We've seen prototype skids made of 5052 aluminum collapse under only moderate weight. Our initial JK bellypan did not make it past the first 5052 prototype due to its fragility. 5052 aluminum has a yield strength of 28,000 psi, compared to 6061 T6 aluminum's 40,000 psi, making it 30% stronger. Steel has a yield strength of 50,800 psi, but using thicker 6061 material achieves greater strength. Additionally, 5052 is not heat-treated, resulting in lower strength.

      Manufacturers often choose 5052 aluminum because it bends easily in the press brake during the manufacturing process, requiring no special tooling and keeping production costs low. However, bent 5052 products can exhibit micro-cracks along the bends, indicating potential failure points. Do you want a material that bends so easily to be protecting your vehicle's vital components? .

    • Galling: 5052 aluminum has the lowest "modulus of elasticity," meaning it is very flexible or elastic. While it can generally return to its original form after deformation better than steel or 6061, its soft surface hardness results in a stickiness on rocks that can stop your vehicle in its tracks. This galling can lead users to dangerously rely on engine horsepower to overcome obstacles, resulting in component breakage or the need for recovery to get off a sharp rock.

      In the Brinell scale, which measures surface hardness, 5052 has a result of 60, compared to 6061's 95 and steel's 105. This means 5052 is 43% softer than steel and 37% softer than 6061.

    • Many manufacturers use 5052 aluminum in their skid plates without disclosing the grade they use. Unfortunately, this has led to a bad reputation for "aluminum" as a whole when used in skid plates due to the failures outlined above. Many people don't even realize that other alloys are available, which offer better performance and durability.

    Learn more about 5052 vs 6061

    6061 T6 Aluminum

    Since 2014, Artec Industries has been offering bellypans made of 6061 T6 aluminum, serving some of the most demanding customers on the planet. Big names in the racing industry swear by our skid plates to get them across the finish line, and you can trust them too. Here's what makes 6061 the right choice:

    • Strength: Aluminum is 1/3 the weight of steel, but the rigidity of 6061 T6 aluminum feels closer to steel than 5052. We've tested our skid plates both in the lab and on the trail, with the entire weight of the vehicle resting on them without any deflections. The T6 heat treatment is a crucial factor, quadrupling its strength from its annealed state. Proper tooling in the manufacturing process ensures no stress-induced cracking, resulting in a significant strength gain from properly formed bend flanges.

    • Surface Hardness:6061 T6 aluminum is closer in hardness to steel (only 10% less) than it is to 5052, which means galling is less of an issue and sliding across rocks is easier.

    • Heat Dissipation:6061 T6 aluminum offers the best heat dissipation of all three materials, making it ideal for automotive applications.

    • Welding & Machining: 6061 T6 aluminum has excellent properties for TIG welding and machining, resulting in welded seams that are far less likely to crack under stress from hitting a boulder and properly machined countersunk holes.

    • Elasticity: 6061 T6 aluminum offers the perfect balance of strength and flexibility, ensuring it doesn't easily dent like steel and can bounce back into shape.

    • Low Maintenance: As it doesn't rust, 6061 T6 aluminum doesn't need paint, allowing you to enjoy a low-maintenance, raw material skid plate for years to come.

    For nearly a decade, we've been proving that our skid plates are the best in the world. The choice of material plays a significant role in this success, but it comes at a higher initial cost. However, in the long run, you'll spend less due to lower maintenance, reduced likelihood of replacement, and minimized wear and tear on your vehicle. Many customers come to us after other brands have failed them. Make the right choice once with Artec Industries' 6061 T6 aluminum skid plates.

    Details about 6061

    What is UHMW and why doesn't Artec use it on bellypan skid plates?

    UHMW, or Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene, is a material commonly used in products like plastic cutting boards. It boasts excellent properties, such as being incredibly slippery and highly effective at absorbing impacts. Although UHMW has been utilized in extreme off-road vehicle applications for many years, and Artec Industries even used it in previous versions of our rock sliders, we don't offer UHMW with our bellypan skid plates for a few reasons.

    Added Cost

    You just invested in premium 5052 aluminum skids, but due to their limited slipperiness on rocks and tendency to crush easily, you need to spend even more to add plastic to your vehicle's entire underside. Opt for a harder and stronger aluminum grade from the start.

    Added Weight

    You chose aluminum skids for their lightweight properties, but now you have to add extra weight by attaching thick plastic to the whole underside of your vehicle, losing ground clearance in the process. Instead, use the appropriate grade of aluminum initially.

    Added Temperature

    Aluminum is excellent for dissipating heat, but using a plastic insulator on the entire underside of the vehicle traps heat from the engine and exhaust, potentially leading to overheating or melting. The purpose of a bellypan is protection, but that's compromised if it causes heat-related issues.

    Added Maintenance

    Large sections of UHMW require extensive hardware to hold it securely in place, resulting in your aluminum looking like Swiss cheese. Additionally, you'll need to keep tightening bolts as UHMW naturally loosens them. UHMW can also become distorted from heat, causing it to peel away from the metal.

    We apologize if we seem a bit critical about UHMW

    It's important to understand that UHMW has its merits in certain applications. Most extreme off-road buggies have open-air engines with ample ventilation and elevated fuel cells, eliminating the need for a gas tank skid. Comparing the size of a buggy skid plate to a full OEM vehicle, they usually require a skid plate that is just a few feet wide and long—not the entire length of the vehicle. The takeaway here is that what works in one application may not be suitable for another. We have used UHMW in the past, but it wasn't the right fit for this application. Instead, opt for a higher-grade material to fully utilize the benefits that aluminum has to offer.

    This is Where the Magic Happens

    Artec takes immense pride in our designs, combining form and function—ART plus TECHNICAL. Our name originates from the founder Artie, and our philosophy revolves around attention to detail and understanding product usage. This approach sets Artec products apart from the rest, explaining why many attempt to imitate our designs but fall short. Discover how we apply this philosophy to our bellypan skid plates.


    Information stems not only from computers but also from years of experience in the garage and on the trail. Artec understands the dynamics of how a vehicle operates, both as individual systems and as a whole, as well as the stresses off-road operation puts on these components. We apply this wisdom to our product designs. A comprehensive skid plate system must factor in the complexities of each individual component it protects and interacts with to ensure seamless integration.

    • Experience: Leading our R&D department is a certified master mechanic with master-level skills in Solidworks CAD and years of experience building impressive off-road vehicles. When combined with other designers passionate about aesthetics and real-world manufacturing, we create a formula for great designs.

    • Tools: With new vehicles becoming increasingly complex each year, advanced technologies are needed to ensure that every system in the vehicle is considered during the design process. Artec utilizes state-of-the-art 3D scanning to verify that actual vehicles match the 3D models we receive from vehicle manufacturers, ensuring proper fitment and easy installation. Using premium 3D design and scan processing software aids in faster development times and minimal revisions.


    If you've never driven a serious off-road trail in your life, would you know what makes a good off-road product? Would you know what makes the difference between conquering an obstacle and turning around? We've not only used our own experience but also listened to the advice of top racers and enthusiasts in the industry on how they would build their best vehicles. This knowledge leads to the design choices we make in our bellypans to make them the absolute best product on the market, bar none.

    • Smooth is Fast: Borrowing from an old racing adage, the smoother the underside of the vehicle, the better it will perform when it hits the rocks. One reason to upgrade to a bellypan is that the OEM skid plates are not smooth at all, so you get caught up on anything and everything. So why not go all the way and make it as smooth as possible? Artec strives to design every skid plate with this philosophy so that you don't get hung up on that bolt head or overlapping seam between skids. More on this below.

    • Strength and Durability: Lightweight is good, but if your skid system can't take the abuse of the trail, what's the point? We analyze every skid plate to make sure it's going to be strong enough to withstand the hits. Where reinforcement is needed, we use steel brackets and crossmembers to help. A simple steel strap isn't enough; it should be engineered too. See more below.


    Our user-friendly design empowers you with simple, step-by-step instructions, ensuring a seamless installation experience even for first-time installers. Requiring only basic tools, our DIY-friendly Bellypan system offers an efficient and cost-effective solution for both seasoned mechanics and beginners. With unparalleled customer support at your fingertips, embark on a hassle-free installation journey with Artec Industries.

    • Easy-to-Follow Instructions: Our detailed step-by-step instructions make it simple for anyone to install our Bellypan system. We provide clear guidelines and visuals to ensure you have a seamless installation experience.

    • Minimal Tools Required: We've designed our Bellypan system to require only basic tools that most people already have in their toolbox. This means you won't need to invest in specialized or expensive equipment to get the job done.

    • DIY-Friendly: Our Bellypan system is specifically designed with the DIY enthusiast in mind. Whether you're a seasoned mechanic or a first-time installer, our system is easy to understand and install, giving you the confidence to tackle the project on your own.

    • Customer Support: If you ever run into difficulties during the installation process, our dedicated customer support team is here to help. We're committed to ensuring your installation goes smoothly and that you're satisfied with the end result.

    Design Features used in Artec Bellypans

    Applying our knowledge of off-road performance, vehicle dynamics, and ease of installation, here are some of the key features that set Artec designs above the pack.

    Increased Ground Clearance

    OEM skid plates lack strength and hang low, acting as anchors for your vehicle. Unlike some aftermarket manufacturers, our skid plates replace factory ones, improving ground clearance by up to 3/4". This extra clearance makes a significant difference in off-road performance.

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    Full Vehicle Smooth Surface

    Rocks tend to latch onto protruding vehicle parts, causing frustration. Our designs eliminate rock magnets by avoiding overlapping aluminum plates, connecting the entire system without gaps, and using countersunk bolts on the bottom surface for smooth gliding over rocks.

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    Boxed Steel Reinforcement

    Though 6061 aluminum is robust, it needs support in critical areas when attaching to the vehicle. Unlike some companies using flat plate straps, Artec opts for a more sturdy approach with boxed steel reinforcement. This ensures that under intense hits, your bellypan doesn't hit vital components.

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    Easy to Install Hardware

    Press nuts on many of our brackets allow for one tool installation. Our design prioritizes ease of installation, ensuring a seamless experience for customers. The straightforward hardware makes it simple to integrate our products with your vehicle, enhancing both aesthetics and functionality.

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    Made in the USA

    We take great pride in manufacturing our Alpha Series Aluminum Bellypans directly in our Utah facility. Only the best material is used and anything that doesn't meet our standards is rejected. Using custom made press brake tooling ensures that our final product is bent properly and devoid of micro cracks on the bends. We inspect every piece to ensure each weld meets our strict quality control standards. Each steel bracket is zinc plated for maximum corrosion resistance. When you see our bellypan first hand, you know it is of the highest quality. Do it right the first time!


    We strive to exceed customer expectations by offering durable, reliable, and easy-to-install products. By focusing on quality, we ensure our customers can confidently tackle any off-road adventure, knowing their vehicle is well-equipped and protected. Our commitment to customer satisfaction drives us to continuously innovate and deliver exceptional products.


    A strong reputation in the off-road industry stems from consistently providing high-quality products and exceptional customer service. At Artec Industries, we take pride in our reputation for designing and manufacturing best-in-class bellypan systems. Our unwavering dedication to quality strengthens our position as a trusted industry leader. This is why top racing professionals and industry leaders choose Artec to protect their vehicles.

    Casey Currie Testifies


    Safety is paramount in off-road adventures, and the quality of the products you choose directly impacts your vehicle's safety. Artec's commitment to quality ensures our bellypan systems not only enhance vehicle performance but also provide the necessary protection against harsh off-road conditions, keeping both the vehicle and its occupants safe during their off-road excursions.

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