Case Study: Industrial Ductwork Fabrication Delivers Boiler Efficiency for State University

When you walk inside a commercial office building or academic facility, there’s almost always a duct system hard at work, even if you can’t see it. When created by a qualified metal fabricator, ductwork can improve heating and cooling efficiency and reduce energy expenses. But if not fabricated with the appropriate water-proofing or fire-resistant finishes or without proper insulation, industrial ductwork can leak or accumulate mold and dust – driving up energy expenses and contaminating the indoor environment.

To avoid these potential financial and environmental liabilities and to ensure their new ductwork would function exactly as intended, a global contractor turned to Southern Metal Fabricators (SMF) to create an industrial ductwork system for a large boiler at a state university.

The Manufacturing Challenge

When the customer approached the SMF team, the boiler construction was already well underway, so they needed the team to design and construct a custom ductwork fabrication under an aggressive deadline. 

The industrial ductwork logistical challenges included:

  • Piecing together 11 different segments, so the ductwork would “snake” properly throughout the building
  • Determining the type and quantity of equipment to construct each ductwork segment
  • Making sure the segments all fit properly not only for installation, but for easy access once installed

Most importantly, the multiple ductwork components had to integrate seamlessly with a large boiler system that would generate enormous amounts of heat that needed to be vented as clean air.

The Fabrication Solution

SMF worked closely with the customer’s third party vendors, engineer teams, and project superintendents to ensure the ductwork adhered to industry standards and project specifications.

To meet these industrial ductwork requirements, the SMF team:

  • Identified the scope of the ductwork and the type of fabrication required to function properly with the new boiler system
  • Ensured the ductwork design allowed for the proper bracing by reinforcing the system every four feet as needed
  • Provided all the necessary field components from an engineering and design perspective, so the ductwork could be easily lifted and installed

Once the team met with the customer to carefully document all the necessary engineering, insulation, and material requirements, they were able to quickly expedite the actual metal fabrication process.

After fabrication, SMF’s quality control team made sure all ductwork components were ready for transport, saving time and headaches during field installation. Down to the last piece, all 11 components were delivered on spec, on schedule.

The Fabrication Know-How for Industrial Ductwork Solutions

Because Southern Metal Fabricators has been solving industrial ductwork fabrication challenges like these for nearly 30 years, we have processes in place to ensure successful outcomes.

Each custom ductwork fabrication may include:

  • Creating ductwork drawings produced by the process engineer, then breaking down that plan into parts to be manufactured
  • Cutting large pieces of thick steel via plate shears or using high-definition plasma or laser machines with CNC controls to form more complex components or smaller parts
  • Bending the metal plates as needed via press brakes or rolling a plate for a rounded contour for circular ducts and making sure all parts are ready for welding
  • Ensuring all welds conform to ASME, AWS, or Canadian welding standards, with each weld inspected and documented by certified in-house staff
  • Applying insulation or lining as required for heavy ducts, once the structural integrity of the metal frames has been verified 
  • Coating the metal surfaces with primer and then high-temperature paint, if the metal is not stainless steel
  • Putting all the parts together in a trial assembly to ensure that they all fit together properly and can be installed as expected

It takes an experienced team of designers, engineers, detailers, and quality control inspectors to ensure a successful outcome for every industrial ductwork fabrication. To learn how the SMF team can help you solve your toughest ductwork challenges, give us a chance to say, “Yes, we can do that!” by contacting us today.

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