In these pages, ContractingBusiness.com provides information on products, methods, and news important to the success of sheet metal fabrication contractors.
Fabricating Pipe Insulation On Demand
Increasing energy costs have brought about a dramatically increased demand for commercial and industrial insulation for all kinds of thermal and moisture resistance applications. Among the more prevalent insulation materials are the rigid polyurethane, polyiso (polyisocyanurate) and Foamglas® types of materials that are used for jacketing pipes used in countless refrigeration, oven, storage, processing and transportation applications. The solution to on-demand foam fabrication for pipe insulation as well as many other uses has been advancements in the computer numerical control (CNC)-automated foam cutting machines that enable fabricators to quickly and efficiently trim and shape a wide variety of foam-type materials, including the rigid PU/polyisocyanurate Foamglas, mineral wool, and calcium silicate. The benefits of this advanced, automated production equipment are quite compelling at all levels, including the fabricator, distributor/specialist and end-user.
"It saves money across the board," says Tommy Jernigan, general manager at Performance Insulation, Nashville, TN, a commercial and industrial pipe insulation specialist. In early 2010 his firm purchased a ProfileMatic, a CNC-based, horizontal foam saw manufactured by Edge-Sweets (ESCO), a Grand Rapids, MI-based developer and manufacturer of PU fabrication and dispensing equipment. The ProfileMatic gives Performance Insulation as much latitude as necessary to meet the firm's contractor and direct customers with just-in-time efficiencies or orders that are often custom specified by customer engineers or materials consultants. For additional information, visit http://bit.ly/cncautomation
Waterjet Cutting Cuts Virtually Any Material
China Steel, a custom fabrication and machine shop in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, recently added a 90KSI Jet Edge waterjet cutting machine capable of cutting virtually any material up to 24-ft. x 13-ft. With its 100hp 90KSI Jet Edge X-Stream powered system, China Steel (pronounced "keena") can cut parts up to 50% faster than waterjet shops with standard 60KSI waterjets. They also can cut large parts twice as fast with dual abrasive jet cutting heads with mirroring capabilities. Under the direction of President Fred China and his brother, Vice President Carlo China, China Steel has grown to become a worldwide, diversified and technologically advanced metalworking plant. "In order to stay in business, you have to be diversified and keep up with technology," Carlo says. "If you don't keep up with technology, you might as well put a lock on the door."
The China's belief in diversification and technology compelled them to purchase not just a waterjet system, but to invest in one of the largest and most powerful waterjets available.
"We were looking at lasers and plasmas, but the waterjet is more versatile," Carlo China says. "It has higher precision and is capable of cutting thicker diverse materials, plus it’s environmentally friendly and there's no heat distortion. You cut a part, and it fits. With oxy, plasma, and laser, you’re limited to what you can cut. Waterjet is open ended."