Scarborough based duct machinery manufacturer Firmac Ltd. has recently celebrated the completion of their largest project to date. The £1 million plus contract for the fully automated duct forming machine is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.
The project to design and build a fully automated duct forming machine began in 2012 when Firmac was approached by leading Swiss ductwork manufacturer Dresohn. The challenge was to design and build a fully automated machine which would speed up the duct manufacturing process and increase productivity, reduce operator involvement whilst improving the quality and strength of the ductwork produced.
“The three year project has been a learning curve for all parties involved as we have continually looked to innovate and push the boundaries, introducing new ideas and technology that hadn’t been tried in our industry previously”, explains director Lewis Firth, “We have introduced new robotic technology, more commonly found on the assembly and welding lines in the automotive industry, to speed up the process of duct production and reduce operator input, which also means the process is much more consistent and reliable. Our engineers have included leading edge software which detects faults and relays information immediately to the team in Switzerland and back here at the Scarborough factory. We are extremely proud of the work the whole team has put into the development of this flagship machine and grateful to have such professional suppliers who have worked closely with us throughout the project. The result of three years of hard work is the development of, what we believe, is the most advanced ductwork manufacturing machine in the world”.
Another interesting aspect of the machine is its ability to produce an integral flange as part of the production process. Lewis explains why the flange is so important to duct manufacturers. “The CGF3 flange has some unique features; there is no stitching or spot welding required and therefore the flange has a clean internal surface which in turn means clean air passes through the duct. It also has air tight properties superior to anything currently available in the market. We believe this flange will be particularly attractive to manufacturers supplying ducting in clean areas, such as the food and pharmaceutical industries”.
To celebrate the completion of the project, the Firth Firmac team along with suppliers and some major European customers were invited to the factory to see and learn more the ground breaking technology.
Despite its size, approximately 25 metres in length, the modular Pro-Duct DRS CGF3 can be taken apart and reassembled and installed quickly. It will be shipped early December 2014 and should be installed and producing ducts in Switzerland by the end of January 2015.