Leminar Air Conditioning Industries, a member of the Al Shirawi Group of Companies, is one of the largest manufacturers of HVAC ductwork in the Middle East. One of its main product lines is high quality sheet metal ducting as per DW-144 and SMACNA fabrication standards.
In response to the massive expansion of construction in the United Arab Emirates, Leminar Air Conditioning Industries LLC has decided to re-locate their existing business to the strategic location of Dubai Industrial City (DI). This new state of the art facility is very close to both the Al Maktoum International Airport and the Abu Dabi border. This is an ideal location with excellent infrastructure offering easy access to all of the Emirates. The factory rebuild has also provided the company with the opportunity to include the Firmac Ltd UK fully automated Pro-Duct DRS with integral hollow stitched 20 & 30mm CGF1 flange system. This will increase their production capacity and speed of turnaround whilst still ensuring a constant quality of manufacture.
Pleased with the longevity and durability of their existing Firmac machinery, (purchased in 2004 for the Leminar Qatar Factory), Group Director Mr. Navin Valrani again looked to Firmac Ltd UK to propose a machine package that could satisfy the ever-increasing demands of the Middle Eastern market. In addition to the mandatory requirements of speed, increased capacity and quality, they also requested machinery which would provide flexible output capability - the ability for one machine to make several different variations of ductwork such as plain ended, drive cleat H/M, integral flanges and plain flat sheets with minimal operator intervention.
Leminar’s technical team, led by Mr Dipak Bhadra worked alongside the Firmac design engineers to select the most appropriate combination of machinery to fulfill these requirements.
Firmac’s fully automated CGF1 / S & C PRO Duct DRS Line was selected for its versatile duct production capabilities. It can produce S & C cleated ducts, plain-ended ducts suitable for slide on flanges, and integral flanged ducts 20mm and 30mm.
The machine will also produce flat-notched ducts (like the Firmac MDF stage 1). This ductwork can be produced in flat pack form so that it can be easily transported long distances to far away sites and oil field projects. The Firmac PRO Duct DRS Line was supplied with 8 decoilers and 8 select / waiting stations and has a special conveyor system which will take the S & C cleated ductwork direct to delivery area and CGF1 20mm and CGF1 30mm flanged ductwork to the corner inserter.
The package also included a free standing CGF1 20/30 Flange Roll Former, CGF1 Clip Roll Former and a 2 metre wide special folding machine for the production of duct fittings, elbows, reducers and Ts. Two pneumatic CGF1 corner clinchers were also provided to ensure the rigidity of the finished duct.
Remote access to the machine is achieved by a direct ethanet link ensuring that engineers in the UK can access every component on the machine, including the Rockwell control gear, PLC powerflex drives and hmi’s, 24/7.
Since its inception 30 years ago, Dresohn has become the leading ductwork manufacturer in Switzerland. Despite running three shifts and continually investing in high quality machinery, the growing demand for ductwork from new and existing customers was however preventing Dresohn from further expansion. Meeting customer demands for increased turnaround of ductwork orders was becoming more and more difficult.
Solution – Pro-Duct Evolution
Having previously invested in two Firmac Pro-Duct DRS duct formers, along with numerous ancillary machines, the two companies had established a good relationship. Owner and chief executive of Dresohn, Samy Nachmansohn, approached Firmac with their problem.
Samy explains the importance of the relationship. “When you’re looking to develop new technology, you can only do this with a supplier you trust completely. We worked on the concept of a fully automated duct forming machine for three years and both parties had to work extremely closely together to achieve this groundbreaking level of innovation.”
Lewis Firth, Director at Firmac, continues, “We have introduced technology not previously used in the ductwork industry to create the first fully automatic ductwork machine in the world, the Pro-Duct Evolution. Once the material in loaded the operator can stand back and let the machine do the work. It’s fast, efficient and highly productive.”
Improved speed and efficiencies were achieved by moving away from traditional PLC controllers and developing a fixed controller, capable of managing multiple axis over an ethaCAT network. By integrating 30-servo control axis the Pro-Duct Evolution has a superior level of intelligence and automation. New programming techniques were also employed and traditional PLC ladder programming was replaced with structured text based language.
These new techniques have facilitated the integration of new technologies never previously employed in duct forming. A robot, more commonly seen in the automotive industry, supports the duct during the folding operation and ensures that the male and female Pittsburgh details are put together correctly resulting in a fully automatic seamed joint. The robot is one of many features, which negates the need for an operator. Other new technologies include a plasma system with a 2-axis controller that is able to cut shapes in the side of the material before it is finished.
Dresohn now has the capability to produce ductwork much more quickly, resulting in increased output, whilst reducing costs by moving from three to two shifts. Their customers are benefitting from these improved efficiencies. Dresohn can offer a better price, enabling them to win new and larger orders.
Firmac customers are also gaining from this project as the innovation introduced through the robotics, drivers, controllers and software is being applied to the standard range of products and enabling Firmac customers take their production to new levels.
Established in 1978, BK Gulf LLC is a leading contractor in electrical, mechanical, instrumentation and building services within the UAE & Middle East market.
BK Gulf LLC’s has a deep understanding of the issues associated with providing highly specified projects to ever tightening deadlines. Realising that efficiencies could be gained by centralising the majority of construction work for individual projects in an off-site facility and then transporting the modules to site for installation would make the process quicker, cleaner and more efficient, they approached Firmac for specialist advice and assistance.
Firmac provided a ductwork consultancy service, assessing the needs of BK Gulf in order to provide a complete workshop, containing machinery which would increase production efficiencies.
BK Gulf LLC invested in a complete duct factory from Firmac, including a Drive Cleat Duct Line, two Mini-Lines, Pittsburgh Roll Former, S & C Cleat Roll Former, Auto Flange Machine, Powered Guillotine, Hydraulic Folding Machine, Power Swaging Machine and Cleat Benders.
David Shimmons, Division Manager Modular Systems, at BK Gulf explains why Firmac was chosen to fit out the MSD factory. “Firmac provide much more than just excellent machinery. They understand our business and what we are striving to achieve and then deliver a full service resulting in a highly efficient duct work factory. This includes recommendations on factory layout, machine configuration and even in education and training of our operators to run and maintain the machinery”.
Training of machine operators is crucial to the success of any project and following the installation and commissioning of any machinery, operators were trained in BK Gulf MSD’s Factory. Service does not stop there. In addition to the one year warranty as standard from Firmac, BK Gulf also has now a store of spare parts in their factory.
BK Gulf’s innovative approach, coupled with strategic investment in technology to support their customers’ growth plans is evident in the highly successful Modular Systems Division, whose aim is to keep onsite work to a minimum.
This division now manufactures complete construction modules, including all electrical, mechanical, piping and ductwork off site in their fully equipped factory. The modules are then transported to site, ready to install, making the process quicker, cleaner and more efficient. Major projects that have benefited from the increased efficiency provided by the MSD service include universities, hospitals and airports including the largest airport project in the region in UAE.
Established in 1978, BK Gulf LLC is a leading contractor in electrical, mechanical, instrumentation and building services within the UAE & Middle East market. The company provides a complete contracting service and is backed by shareholders Balfour Beatty PLC and the Dutco Group.
Watch Omron’s latest video Firmac's partnership with Omron leads to first fully automated duct forming machine and seen how these two forward thinking companies worked together, using the latest technology to produce the industry’s first fully automated duct forming machine.