Accurately produced sheet metal duct is crucial for HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems to work as intended. Manufacturing duct, although largely standardised components is one of the most challenging fields in the sheet metal industry.
Duct fabricating shops are required to produce large quantities of fittings and straights quickly, correctly and efficiently. If each piece isn’t correct size, shape, squareness, then the various modules can’t be easily assembled on-site, or the final product doesn’t seal properly, leaking and failing under pressure. Reputable producers need to comply with AS4254 based on the U.S SMACNA standard.
Compounding the difficulty, fabricators can’t get ahead of the building site’s requirements and produce more pieces than required in the short term. Each fitting is bulky, and storage becomes an issue. So it is “Just in Time” production.
To manufacture straight duct and fittings to order efficiently, a sheet metal shop needs a specialised range of equipment. Some are a necessity, some are secondary and are required to speed things up once bottlenecks occur in production.
Some of the essential items to get started include a sheet metal Guillotine, Panbrake, Pittsburgh Rollformer, CNC Plasma Table, TDF Rollformer, Duct Beading Machine and a Power Flanger. Each machine touches every piece of ductwork, so if one item fails or if it produces outside of specification, then the whole process crashes down.
Secondary machines might include Seam Closers, Corner Inserters, Cheek Benders, Corner Inserter and ultimately when demand is adequate a full Coil Line.
We appreciate that there is a difference in price and it would be easy to say it is because our equipment is manufactured in the USA, and our competition is most often made in China, but it is more than that.
Vicon could produce at a lower price; however, they won’t compromise on their design and quality and their compliance to conform to SMACNA standards.
As a multi-generational company, they take personal pride in each machine that leaves the factory with a genuine interest in the end-user. When you invest in a Vicon machine, you virtually join the Vicon family. Because of this, if you do have a technical problem, everyone from the factory storeman in St Louis to Mike Fischer the Vicon COO to Power Machinerys Service Department all will do what is necessary to get you up and to run again quickly.
We regularly hear horror stories of companies that have purchased cheaper machines then spent months and months trying to get them to work. Some times successfully, sometimes not. This lost production could well offset the initial price difference. So please consider your Vicon machines will be up and running to their full specified capacity immediately after installation. You won’t spend the next six months fine-tuning, adjusting and repairing to make them right. They will work out of the box. and in the highly unlikely event they don’t, it is our problem, not yours.
Consider the long term reliability of the machines. If you are under the pump trying to get a contract complete and your machine fails, and you can’t get parts, the initial purchase price won’t be on your mind.
Finally, consider after-sales service, which I can promise is second to none both from Vicon themselves and Power Machinery.
The equipment you choose to invest in today will most likely be the cornerstone to your operations for the next ten to twenty years.