Learn About the Stainless Steel Air Distribution Market

stainless steel

Manufacturing Necessary Products for Critical Environments Worldwide

The most common reason to choose stainless steel air distribution components is for use in sterile environments, like hospitals, laboratories, and pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities. These applications require leak-free products that are long-lasting, functional, and easy to keep clean.

To achieve this feat, architects, engineers, and building owners opt for precision-fabricated stainless steel grilles, HEPA filtration diffusers, and other stainless steel air distribution products from major manufacturers with a demonstrated history of exceeding quality expectations and meeting project timelines.

Only Certain Types of Stainless Steel Will Do
Not just any stainless steel can be employed in the fabrication of air distribution products. For critical environments, there are truly only two choices: Type 304 or Type 316.

Both are easy to work with and keep clean. Either can receive finishes so their appearance blends seamlessly into their settings. But they are slightly different.

Type 304 stainless steel includes chromium-nickel and is a widely-used austenitic stainless steel. Its alloys contain 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel austenitic alloy.

Type 316, however, is molybdenum-bearing stainless steel. With just 2 percent molybdenum, it resists corrosion and oxidation. It’s also no match for chemicals like bromides, chlorides, sulfuric acid, and more. For these reasons, pharmaceutical manufacturers choose Type 316 stainless steel air distribution components for their facilities.

How It’s Made
Air distribution components of this caliber are made-to-order, meaning fabricators don’t keep pre-made stock in a warehouse. When an order is placed, the fabricator follows a multi-step process to fulfill it, starting with the creation of 3D smart models, which are used to guide the craft of each component.

Sheet Metal is Laser Cut
For precision cuts, a laser cutter is necessary. Guided by the 3D smart models, automated software cuts shapes from sheet metal, as quickly as 400 inches per minute.

The software is programmed to minimize product waste, so it determines the best way to lay out each piece on sheet metal in such a way that very little scrap is left over.

CNC Press Brakes Shape the Sheet Metal
The laser cut metal sheets are moved over to the CNC press brakes, where they’re bent into the correct shape. Here again, the software follows the 3D models to guide the build.

Although the CNC press brakes are fully automated, human experts watch over the process to ensure everything is going smoothly.

Robotic Welding Secures the Shapes
Each piece of bent metal is then moved over to a robotic welder, a computerized six-axis welder capable of producing perfect, airtight seams.

The robotic arm is able to ensure consistent seams are made, eliminating the possibility of human error.

Roll Forms Create Fins and Blades
With the frame and shaping in place, a roll form creates individual fins and blades for grilles, which are cut to size and rotated to the proper angle. It’s not getting much easier to identify the exact part the automated process is creating.

Each Part is Thoroughly Cleaned
The cleaning step removes dirt and oil from each component, which is accumulated during the production process.

A heated, alkalized wash cycle, deionized rinse, and fresh water rinse do an impeccable job of cleaning each part, before they go to rest in a drying oven.

The drying oven removes all moisture before the air distribution components receive a polish or powder coat – depending on the customer’s order. Every piece receives antimicrobial coating.

Hand Assembly and Leak Testing Ensure Perfection
After everything is perfectly clean, human fabricators take over the process and manually assemble components that require their help.

Before packaging and shipping the parts to the customer, the team performs a leak test in a HEPA unit leak test booth. Inside, a photometer ensures that each product meets or exceeds the standards required for critical environments.

These standards are put in place by the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology. If the stainless steel component is determined to be airtight and functioning properly, it is backed and shipped to the client.

Parts that don’t pass are repaired or completely remade, depending on the issue.

Customized Packing and Shipping
Each item is placed into its own customized box for shipping, to protect from even the smallest damages. A simple ding can render a component unusable.

Different Processes Set the Best Fabricators Apart
The process we’ve described here is one that a worldwide maker of stainless steel air distribution components follows. They’re world-renowned for a reason, and not every fabricator follows the same time-tested process.

If you’re ever in the market for air distribution components for critical environments, be sure you thoroughly investigate all your options, so you can be sure that you’re purchasing quality, air-tight pieces.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *