Specify Aluminum Stretch Forming with Confidence

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Stretch forming is a very accurate and precise method for curving metal extrusions. The level of precision is so high that, in most cases, even intricate multi-components and snap-together curtainwall components can be formed without loss of section properties or original design function. Stretch forming capabilities include portions of circles including half-circles and eyebrows, ellipses and arched shapes. These shapes can be formed with straight leg sections at one or both ends of the curve. This method of curving eliminates several conventional fabrication and welding steps.

Stretch forming is a metal forming process in which the extrusion or part is kept under constant tension while stretched and bent simultaneously over a die in order to form contoured parts. The variety of shapes and cross sections that can be stretch formed is almost unlimited. Window systems, skylights, storefronts, signs, flashings, curtainwalls, walkway enclosures, and hand railings can be accurately and precisely formed to the desired shapes.

stretch1The basic machine design has two arms or carriage beams that hold multiple-positioning gripping jaws. The jaws are attached to hydraulic tension cylinders that provide the stretch of the extrusion. The arms swing by rotating on large machined pins with bearings, thus allowing the extrusion to wrap around and against the forming die. This produces perfectly contoured products, while limiting or even eliminating wrinkling inside the arc.

Close and consistent tolerances, no surface marring, no distortion or ripples, and no surface misalignment of complex profiles are important benefits inherent in stretch forming (given understandable tightness of radius limitations on some shapes). A smooth and even surface results from the stretch forming process.

Structural or Load-Bearing Application vs. Non-Structural Application

Aluminum has proven itself as a suitable material for load bearing structures for more than 100 years. However, the application of the parts being curved dictates how the curving process will need to be carried out.

After being pushed through an extrusion press, extrusions are generally cut and then placed into a tempering oven to harden and give them their structural integrity. When extrusions are fully tempered to a T5 of T6 temper they are difficult to curve. If a customer desires to curve parts that have been fully tempered the parts will need to be annealed prior to curving. When a part is annealed it is placed in a large oven and heated to a very high temperature for a specific period of time. Annealing makes the extrusion soft again, enabling it to be curved. Once an extrusion is annealed, it cannot cost-effectively be re-tempered. In applications where the parts are expected to carry a structural load, or are desired to have another structural application, annealing is generally not an acceptable practice.

For structural or load-bearing applications, best practice is to have extrusions tempered to a soft state T1, T4 or to a T52 state. Material tempered to a T1 or T4 temper can be bent without annealing, and can then be tempered (hardened) after the curving process to a T5 or T6 temper typical in structural applications. T52 is a very stable temper and can be curved without annealing, and it maintains its properties after curving without the need for tempering.

Stretch Formings’ Effect on Finishing

Crazing of the anodized surface

Crazing of the anodized surface

Similar to the curving process, the end application of the part will determine the best practice for how curved parts should be finished.

If an extrusion has been painted or anodized, and has been tempered to a T5 or T6 hardness, the parts will need to be annealed. Because of the high heat associated with the annealing process, paint finishes will likely burn and anodize finishes will likely discolor or craze (crack). For this reason, when parts require annealing it is best to finish after the curving process has been completed.

For extrusions that have been tempered to a T1, T4, or T52 hardness, parts can be finished prior to curving. However, customers should expect some marring or slight damage to the finished surface due to the parts being “stretched” across a hard die surface during the curving process. Again, depending on the tightness of the radius anodic coatings may also craze or discolor as a result of being curved.

If the T1 or T4 tempered extrusions require oven-aged tempering after curving, the high heat will likely damage the coating.

McDonalds interior dispay2 Jay&Kay mfgRegardless of the effect the curving process has on the finish, all manufacturer and applicator warranties are generally voided when extrusions or brake metal are finished prior to curving. To obtain the best finish quality and keep parts fully warranted, it is best to finish after curving regardless of the temper of the extrusion.

It should also be noted that on parts that require a poured thermal break, it is also best practice to have extrusions thermally broken after curving so there is no cracking of the thermal break, and the manufacturer’s warranties stay intact.

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Learn more about Linetec’s capabilities on our website or contact us at sales@linetec.com or 888-717-1472.

Linetec finished project wins MCA’s 2014 Chairman Awards

MCA’s 2014 Chairman Awards Institutional Award Winner:

Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral in Port Canaveral, Florida

PortCanaveral1 (1)With its shimmering, iridescent exterior, Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral beckons visitors with its unique appearance as its color changes in different light and at different angle. Opened in November 2013, the Port’s iconic welcome center showcases the first use of Valspar’s new Kameleon™ Color mica coating as spray-applied to Firestone Metal Products’ UNA-CLAD™ metal wall panels by Linetec, one the nation’s largest finishers of architectural aluminum.

An integral part of Florida’s Space Coast and Canaveral Cove’s revitalization, Exploration Tower is owned by Canaveral Port Authority. Its opening coincides with the Port’s 60th anniversary of its establishment and the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s landing on Florida’s east coast.

PortCanaveral2Taking its cues from the shapes and hues of the port, GWWO Inc./Architects designed the $23 million, seven-story, sail-shaped structure to express the common characteristics of “transience, function and imagery.” The building’s southern elevation soars from the water to the sky. It narrows in scale and reduces its exterior coverage until only the steel frame remains to outline the curvature and comes together at a peak 60-feet above the main roof level.

The building’s dynamic form and features – sun louvers, exposed structure and iridescent skin — contribute to a constant sense of movement as the sun plays across the structure, meet functional needs, and evoke imagery of the Port and [Brevard] County. A rocket ready to launch, a surfboard in the sand, a ship’s hull, a rocket contrail; all can be seen in the structure’s striking presence.

PortCanaveral3The MCA members involved with the project was Firestone Metal Products and Valspar and the project featured UNA-CLAD Aluminum flat MCM wall panels.  The architect was GWWO, Inc.  The contractor was Skanska USA and the metal installer was KENPAT USA, LLC.  Firestone Metal Products was the manufacturer, Linetec was the metal finisher using a Valspar coating.

More information on the MCA’s 2014 Chairman Awards

Linetec to expand with a third anodize line in Wisconsin adding jobs, capacity, capabilities; maintaining lead times

LinetecAnodize_web-300dpiLinetec, one of the largest architectural finishing companies in the U.S., is expanding its capacity and capabilities with a third anodize line. The 120,000-square-foot addition and associated improvements are estimated to cost $15.3 million and to bring nearly 100 jobs to the city of Wausau, Wisconsin. In January 2014, Linetec opened a 30,000-square-foot addition, with an additional 30% anodize capacity, to its existing anodize lines, which are operating at full capacity.

“We plan to have this additional line fully functional by Summer 2015 and are breaking ground immediately to get the site work completed prior to the cold, winter months. This will make us the only company in North America to have three architectural anodizing lines,” said Rick Marshall, Linetec’s president. “As the market continues to show strong recovery, our customers continue to experience tremendous growth and we are expanding to meet their needs.”

Linetec’s vice president of sales, Jon Close, added, “We are making this significant investment to stay ahead of demand. As our industry continues to recover and grow, we are seeing finishing lead times, particularly for anodize finishes, being pushed out to lengthier waits. This expansion will ensure ample capacity to give our customers the high-quality anodize finishes, consistent lead time and reliable service that they have come to expect from Linetec, as well as giving us the freedom to introduce new finishing capabilities.”

LinetecAnodize_web-300dpiLinetec’s anodize is specified on architectural aluminum products, such as window and door systems, storefront framing, sun shades, light shelves, canopies, column covers, panels and flat sheets. Unlike other finishes, anodizing highlights aluminum’s metallic appearance. Because it is an integral part of the substrate, the anodic coating results in a hard, durable substance providing excellent wear and abrasion resistance with minimal maintenance.

The new anodize line, like Linetec’s other anodize lines, are fully automated and use the most recent technology. Linetec also pioneered environmental innovations in anodize that resulted in its industry-leading, eco-friendly anodize process. Compared with traditional anodize, Linetec’s process reduces waste by as much as 90 percent, decreases energy use, creates recyclable byproducts and enhances the durability and lifecycle of the finished product.

Once the planned expansion is completed, Linetec’s Wausau campus will span 670,000 square feet and provide room to further enhance production flow throughout the facilities. Along with its anodize lines, this space houses a comprehensive breadth of finishing and related services including liquid paint and powder coat finishing, thermal improvement and stretch forming services, warehousing, packaging and distribution.

For more information about Linetec and our services, please call 888-717-1472, email sales@linetec.com or visit www.linetec.com.

 

Linetec’s 29th Annual Customer and Supplier Appreciation Golf Outing

Linetec Thanks You signFriday, August 8th, was a picture perfect day for our 29th annual customer and supplier appreciation golf outing. Thank you to all 126 people who participated in our open house, tours, golf, and random games throughout the course.

Congratulations to the winning team with a score of -9. First place, this year, went to Bruce Duehr from Anderson Window/E-Series Eagle (Iowa), Cody Moren and Mark Johnson from Tormax (Texas) and Andy Joswiak from Linetec.

1st-Place 2014

Cody Moren, Andy Joswiak, Mark Johnson, Bruce Duehr

Please enjoy the links below to a few photos from the days events

Handling the Curves                       Rapid Fire

Iron Board Man                               Hooked on Samples

Card Ninja

Supplier Thank you sign

A very special thank you to our generous suppliers for helping to make this great event possible.

I’m already looking forward to next year!

Skylight finished by Linetec crowns The Alfond Inn at Rollins, Florida

Alfond-Hotel-06-low-resThe domed skylight crowning The Alfond Inn’s large atrium quickly has become known as the hotel’s “jeweled center” and key identifying feature of Rollins College campus’ new landmark in Winter Park, Florida. Manufactured and installed by Super Sky Products Enterprises, LLC, this multi-slope, dome skylight with cupola and finial spans nearly 39 feet in diameter. This signature glass structure is framed in aluminum, finished by Linetec in Valspar’s durable Fluropon® Classic II bronze finish.

The Alfond Inn’s skylight-capped, 112-room destination opened August 2013 as the city’s newest hotel, and one of only three in the area. Located 30 minutes from Walt Disney World, the new, boutique hotel is owned by Rollins College, Florida’s oldest post-secondary institution. The 107,000-square-foot Alfond Inn is operated by The Olympia Companies.

Alfond-Hotel-01-low-resBaker Barrios Architects, Inc. was selected to manage the hotel’s planning, architecture, interior design and landscape architecture. The Alfond Inn embraces the surrounding campus’ Spanish- Mediterranean revival style: softly curved corners, sturdy columns, white stucco and cast stone walls, wrought iron accents, high ceilings and as much natural light as possible.

Other highlights and amenities include 10,000 square feet of meeting space, a central courtyard, dog-friendly atmosphere, a luxurious pool, Hamilton’s Kitchen restaurant with locally sourced ingredients and a contemporary fine art collection worthy of a docent-led tour. The interior décor blends classic and modern, combining plaster, tile and wood with glass and metal.

Durability, recycled and reusable materials, daylighting, energy efficiency and other environmental practices are all attributes currently being reviewed by the U.S. Green Building Council for Silver certification with LEED® Green Building Rating System. As an environmentally responsible finisher, Linetec safely captures and destroys the liquid paints’ volatile organic compounds (VOC) content before the finished material arrives at the job site.

“For projects seeking LEED certification and other green goals, choosing durable products with no-VOC finishes can be an important part of the selection and specification process,” explains Linetec’s senior marketing specialist, Tammy Schroeder, LEED Green Associate. “Like other 70% PVDF [polyvinylidene fluoride] resin-based finishes, Valspar’s Fluropon coatings are amongst the most weather-resistant of all finishes, meeting the most demanding, exterior, architectural specification AAMA 2605-11.”

This specification requires paint coatings to meet rigorous testing performance standards, including more than 2,000 hours of cyclic corrosion per ASTM G85 annex 5, and heat- and humidity-resistance. Per AAMA-2605, the coating also must maintain its film integrity, color retention, chalk resistance, gloss retention, and erosion resistance properties for a minimum of 10 years on the South Florida testing site. Helping manage the Florida sunshine’s solar heat gain, the skylight also incorporates Viracon’s high-performance, insulated laminated glazing units.

Alfond-Hotel-06-low-resThe Alfond Inn is open to all who visit the Florida campus and presents a lasting, positive impression on Rollins College’s prospective students and their families. “We wanted them to feel at home — not just the students but the parents,” commented Shannon Michael Larimer, Baker Barrios Architects’ vice president of marketing, as reported in the Orlando Sentinel.

The $30 million hotel was built, in part, with a $12.5 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation. As a condition of the gift, revenue from the hotel funds scholarships to Rollins College through the Alfond Scholars fund.

The Alfond Inn at Rollins; 300 E. New England Ave., Winter Park, Florida, 32789; http://www.thealfondinn.com

 

Linetec offers antimicrobial protection for architectural products

Linetec offers the use of antimicrobial protection for high-touch, architectural metal products’ exterior and interior surfaces, such as doors, windows, curtainwall, entrances, panels and column covers.

AssaAbloy-interior StJoseph Hospital Syracuse NY

St Joseph Hospital Syracuse, NY. Courtesy of Assa Abloy

Antimicrobial protection is infused into select polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) finishes to inhibit the growth of stain and odor causing bacteria on the coating of aluminum surfaces for health care facilities, educational campuses and other buildings. As a fluoropolymer finish containing a minimum of 70% PVDF resin, this three-coat system meets requirements of AAMA 2605, the most stringent specification for architectural coatings.

We are continually investing in industry-leading innovation, providing our customers’ products with protection that exceeds other conventional finishes. Anywhere the growth of stain and odor-causing bacteria is a concern, architectural aluminum manufacturers can benefit from this extra level of protection.

Providing further explanation, we have co-authored a White paper titled, “Antimicrobial Protection for Public Building Applications.” The paper describes the uses and advantages of antimicrobial coatings, as well as details the related technology, testing and specifications.

For more information, please contact Linetec at 888-717-1472, sales@linetec.com or www.linetec.com.

Linetec mimics terra cotta’s look and feel in new painted finish

TerraCotta_166Linetec introduces a new paint finish to mimic the look and feel of natural terra cotta. The finish utilizes a 70% PVDF resin-based coating to achieve the highest levels of performance in an exterior environment and a texture additive to help replicate the natural feel of terra cotta.

“There is no doubt terra cotta wall panels have made a significant splash in the building façade market,” says Jon Close, Linetec’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Terra cotta offers a unique and attractive element to any building envelope. While this new finish cannot replicate all of the properties and design elements of terra cotta, we can offer a paint finish on wall panels that looks and feels like the real thing. And, we can do it at a cost that may better fit projects where terra cotta is desired, but cannot be afforded.”

In addition to affordability, Close also notes that aluminum wall panels painted with the terra cotta finish are lighter, can come in a large variety of shapes and sizes, and can be delivered in a shorter time frame. Furthermore, Linetec’s new paint is available in four color choices of terra cotta

As a 70% polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) resin-based coating, Linetec’s terra cotta painted finish meets the requirements of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s most stringent, high-performance specification standard, AAMA 2605-13. These architectural finishes are tested to exhibit outstanding resistance to humidity, color change, chalk, gloss loss and chemicals.”

As an environmentally responsible finisher, Linetec safely captures and destroys the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in liquid paints at the factory before arrival on the building site. These industry-leading practices complement other green building choices, such as using recycled aluminum content, and ensure a long-lasting, durable and sustainable finish.

For samples or more information about Linetec’s new terra coating paitned finish, and other services, please call 888-717-1472, email sales@linetec.com or visit www.linetec.com.