Category Archive: Fabrication
Whether you’re a pharmaceutical technician, a commercial chemist, a biotech engineer or a food processing plant manager, you will likely need a skid system for your equipment.
Skid systems elevate expensive storage tanks, pressure vessels, and heat exchangers to prevent breakdowns due to high temperatures, chemical corrosion and spills. Skids allow for faster cooling and easy cleanup and can alleviate the necessity of having to manually lift equipment to ensure a safe and clean working environment.
Yet not all skid systems are the same. While some fabricators specialize in creating standardized systems, most systems require a custom-made processing skid. In fact, most systems should be custom-made due to the unique spatial area of the facility they occupy or the distinctive way the organization arranges its equipment.
While certain manufacturers may need a clean-in-place (CIP) skid system, laboratories or food processing plants may require a sterilization-in-place (SIP) skid system. In both cases, skid systems allow facilities to more easily meet OSHA regulations, EPA standards FDA guidelines or other governing body parameters.
Skids can also help maintain productivity. In facilities where manufacturing or processing must take place around the clock, a skid system allows one part of the operation producing while another part is being cleaned or sterilized.
Don’t take chances with your business. Processing skids fabricated by American Alloy can add significant time to the life of your equipment and reduce the labor required to maintain it. Call one of our fabrication specialists today to request an estimate and ensure your processing needs are met.
Mention the term electropolishing and most people get an image of a bright, reflective metal surface—whether it is found on a diner wall, behind the scenes of an operating room or in the form of a laboratory instrument. While it is true that electropolishing has long been used to shine up many metals, especially stainless steel, the reason why may be much more than just appearance.
Electropolishing (also known as electrochemical polishing or electrolytic polishing) is critical to reducing contaminants in equipment used in industries that touch peoples’ health. These industries include, food and beverage, cosmetics and—perhaps most critical—pharmaceutical and biotechnology. During the normal course of alloy fabrication, bending, grinding, machining and other normal processes change the metal surfaces significantly. These alterations take the form of burrs, scales and tooling marks. Without treatment, these surface imperfections can be a focal point for infection or metal contamination.
Electropolishing removes this surface material from metal. It deburrs and polishes metal parts. This is particularly useful when applied to objects of complex shape, such as the storage and pressurized tanks used in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Electropolishing may also be used in place of the abrasive fine polishing in microstructural preparation.
Smoother, Cleaner Surfaces
Electropolishing occurs through the electrolytic removal of metal in a highly ionic solution by means of an electric potential and current. In this process, the work piece is typically immersed in a temperature-controlled bath of electrolyte. It is then connected to the positive terminal of a DC power supply, while the negative terminal is attached to the cathode. A current passes from the anode, where metal on the surface is oxidized and dissolved in the electrolyte, to the cathode. At the cathode, a reduction reaction occurs.
A particular advantage of electropolishing can be found among the chemical interactions that occur on the surface of the metal. Electropolishing levels the grain boundaries of the metal; this, in turn, removes sites for potentially contaminating dirt, microorganisms and chemicals to accumulate.
Another benefit is the reduction of surface area of the grain boundaries (this step is also known as microfinishing). Grain boundaries are often prone to corrosion. During microfinishing, surface metal on the work piece is greatly reduced, leaving the part much smoother both visually and measurably by a profilometer.
A Beneficial Process
Highly sophisticated surface analysis reveals the many benefits that are derived from the fine surface finishing achieved through electropolishing. In general, it is much better to restore a metal surface than to coat a defect. Electropolishing has proven itself to be a critical step in alloy fabrication, a step that is best performed by superior crafts people employed by superior vendors and service providers.
Choosing a custom metal fabrication facility is an important decision that can deeply affect the level of your production quality and the overall rate of your manufacturing process.
Here are five factors to consider when choosing a custom metal fabrication shop:
A reputable custom metal fabrication shop won’t hesitate to show you the credentials of its engineers, designers and fabricators. Nor will it shy away from providing references from satisfied customers. A well-established record may be the best reason of all to choose a particular shop.
Versatility is a fairly clear indicator of whether a fabrication shop can meet your needs. Certain industries require specialized non-standard equipment, adherence to strict hygienic and sanitary standards, or the use of custom fabricated products that can withstand extreme conditions.
Not every metal fabrication shop has the capability to provide custom products that adhere to the variety of design, build and finishing regulations required by certain industries.
3. Industries Served
Every industry has its own unique compliance and regulation requirements. If a metal fabrication shop consistently delivers quality products to manufacturers spanning the chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and food processing industries, chances are they can handle even the most demanding requests.
Between them, these industries have the process manufacturing industry’s strictest set of guidelines and specifications. If they serve these industries regularly, and their customers have indicated a high satisfaction with their products, add them to the top of your list.
4. Materials Used
Good metal fabrication companies only use the highest quality materials. Ensuring the fabricator has access to the appropriate grade of stainless steel or metal alloy necessary to completing your project is an obvious, but critical element that can go overlooked in the early stages of deciding between fabrication shops.
Reputable custom fabrication designers typically tackle this topic right away to make sure you understand what they will use for your project and why.
5. Turnaround and Price
Cost is a major consideration in choosing the right shop, and this comes down to what you pay for labor and material. While a project’s turnaround time is important, so is making sure the job gets done right.
A quick turnaround is always preferred, but only the best fabricators can meet a quick deadline without cutting corners. Good design engineers will walk you through the production process and give you a reasonable idea of when to expect delivery of your high quality product.