Linetec adds three associates to growing team – Brandon Slowiak as continuous improvement manager, Cody Horne as manufacturing engineer, Tad Klabacha as senior technical engineer

Wausau, Wisconsin (May 2018) – Three new associates have joined Linetec to support the company’s continued growth and its customers’ ongoing need for high-quality, high-performance, finished, architectural aluminum products. Brandon Slowiak started his role as a continuous improvement manager, Cody Horne as a manufacturing engineer and Tad Klabacha as a senior technical engineer.

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Brandon Slowiak

In his role as continuous improvement manager, Slowiak reports to Linetec’s vice president of operations Andy Joswiak. He is responsible for leading the company’s Lean initiatives and continuous improvement training and activities, inspiring a culture of continuous improvement, and driving results through ongoing process improvements.

Most recently, Slowiak worked as a value stream manager at Parker Hannifin Corporation, a global leader in motion and control technologies. Seven years ago, he began with the company as a process engineer and earned progressively more challenging roles while gaining experience in operations. Certified as a high performance team coach, he has led Lean manufacturing training programs. In addition to his knowledge of Lean, he has a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering with a minor in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He currently lives in Wausau.

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Cody Horne

Horne also is a University of Wisconsin graduate and lives in Wausau. He graduated from Marathon County with an associate’s degree and from Platteville with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. His professional engineering experience includes positions at Greenheck Fan Corporation, Neenah Paper, Hydratight and most recently, as a product engineer with custom hydraulic cylinder manufacturer JARP Industries, Inc. At Linetec, he will focus on continually and cost-effectively improving the manufacturing process. He reports to Bob Laduron, Linetec’s quality and process improvement manager.

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Tad Klabacha

Also reporting to Laduron, Klabacha also will recommend and implement continuous improvements through value-focused manufacturing processes. Drawing from more than a decade of experience in manufacturing, he previously worked at Vista Outdoor’s Federal Cartridge Company as a manufacturing engineering supervisor responsible for managing a 17-person team. He holds several technical certificates including as a Six Sigma Green Belt and for Lean manufacturing. He graduated from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. He relocated from the Twin Cities to the Wausau area.

Learn more about joining Linetec’s growing team of associates by visiting www.linetec.com and clicking “Employment.”

Located in Wisconsin, Linetec serves customers across the country, finishing such products as aluminum windows, wall systems, doors, hardware and other architectural metal components, as well as automotive, marine and manufactured consumer goods. The company is a subsidiary of Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: APOG).

Linetec is a member of the Aluminum Anodizers Council (AAC), the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Association of Licensed Architects (ALA), the Glass Association of North America (GANA), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA).

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Curved, finished and complete – What you should know about architectural stretch forming

Henry Ford Int MI

Henry Ford Museum in Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan, built in 1929, was renovated with large, arched top windows using stretch-formed, finished aluminum framing members 
Credit: Courtesy of Wausau Window and Wall Systems

Stretch forming was invented during the 1940s with the rise of the aerospace industry for the curving of aluminum aircraft parts to reduce weight, and thereby, fuel consumption. It expanded into car components and eventually, into the architectural industry. Architects and designers pursued new opportunities to create curved facades and building components.

The process of stretch forming is more of an art, than a science. It takes years of experience to become a skilled craftsperson that can stretch form consistent, successful, curved aluminum components for architectural projects.

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Stretch forming is a metal bending process in which a lineal shape, such as an aluminum extrusion, is stretched and bent simultaneously over a form, called a die.

Stretch forming is a metal bending process in which a lineal shape, such as an aluminum extrusion, is stretched and bent simultaneously over a form, called a die. Each form is built to the required radius. These forms may be customized for a special curvature and used only once, or re-used for more popular, repeating arcs.

Opportunities with stretch forming

Stretch forming capabilities typically 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.

The variety of shapes and cross-sections that can be stretch-formed is almost unlimited – from muntin bars and panning for windows, cladding and spirals for handrails, large mullions for building envelopes to serpentine shapes for canopies. Stretch forming allows architects, designers and builders to realize forms as graceful as they are sturdy and functional.

In most cases, the stretch-formed aluminum component’s curvature is so highly precise that even intricate multi-components and snap-together curtain wall components can be formed from metal without loss of section properties or original design function.

To achieve this level of precision, the basic stretch-forming machine has two arms or carriage beams that hold multiple-positioning gripping jaws. Both ends of the extrusion are inserted into the gripper jaws and stretched to their yield point. The jaws are attached to hydraulic tension cylinders that stretch the extrusion. The arms swing by rotating on large, machined pins with bearings that allow the extrusion to wrap around and against the form. This produces perfectly contoured products, while limiting or even eliminating wrinkling inside the arc. When the wrapping is completed, the stretch force is released and the gripper jaws are opened.

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It takes years of experience to become a skilled craftsperson that can stretch form consistent, successful, curved aluminum components for architectural projects.

Stretch forming maintains close and consistent tolerances with excellent repeatability, and alignments of complex profiles and compound curves. There should be no visible surface marring, distortion or ripples. These benefits inherent in the stretch forming process yield a smooth and even surface. Each component must meet the project’s specifications and warranty conditions.

Structural vs. non-structural application

Aluminum has proven to be a suitable, reliable material for load-bearing structures for more than 100 years. However, the application of the parts being curved dictates the process used.

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Vancouver’s PARQ Resort and Casino features a 23,000-square-foot façade with curved corners and curtainwall details made possible with stretch-formed aluminum framing members finished in clear anodize.
Credit: Courtesy of Gamma North Corporation

After being pushed through an extrusion press, extrusions are cut and placed into a tempering oven to harden and give them structural integrity. When they are fully hardened to a T5 or T6 temper, they are too hard to curve. If the parts to be curved have been fully tempered, they will need to be annealed before curving. To do this, the part is placed in a large oven and heated to a peak temperature range of 700 to 800 degrees Fahrenheit for two to three hours.

Annealing makes the extrusion soft again—enabling it to be curved. Metal that is annealed cannot be hardened again. Once it is softened, it will remain soft. In applications where the parts are expected to carry a structural load or have another structural application, annealing generally is not an acceptable practice.

PARQ-Vancouver-all-stretchforming-(8WEBFor structural or load-bearing applications, the best practice is to have extrusions tempered to a soft state of T1, T4 or to a T52 state. Material tempered to a T1 or T4 can be bent without annealing, and can be tempered after the curving process to a T5 or T6 that is 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 additional tempering.

Painted or anodized finishes

Similar to the curving process, the end-use 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 before being curved, the parts will need to be annealed. The high heat associated with the annealing process likely will cause painted finishes to burn and anodized finishes to discolor or craze. For this reason, when parts require annealing, it is best to finish them after the curving process has been completed.

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Orlando International Airport’s new South Intermodal Terminal Facility showcases a segmented barrel vault skylight featuring aluminum framing that has been stretch formed, thermally improved and finished in Bright Silver 70% PVDF architectural coatings.
Credit: Greater Orlando Aviation Authority

For extrusions tempered to a T1, T4 or T52 hardness, parts can be finished before curving. However, some marring or slight damage to the finished surface should be expected due to the parts being stretched across the form’s hard surface during the curving process. Depending on the tightness of the radius, anodic coatings also may 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.

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The stretch forming process yields a smooth and even surface with each component meeting the project’s specifications and warranty conditions.

Regardless of the effect the curving process has on the finish, nearly all manufacturer and applicator warranties are voided when extrusions or brake metal are finished prior to curving. To obtain the best finish quality and to keep parts fully warranted, it is best to finish after curving—regardless of the temper of the extrusion. The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) publishes industry-accepted specification standards for anodize and paint finishing of architectural aluminum components.

Thermally improved curves

Rolled-TB-Extrusion-web136At least one U.S. finishing and service provider also offers thermal improvement services for curved and radius, finished aluminum extrusions backed with an industry-leading warranty. The thermal improvement processes may be specified as either a full pour-and-debridge of radius material, both structural and non-structural, or a fully crimped thermal strut system. The service provider places no restrictions to the degree of curvature, and finishes may be specified in liquid paint, powder coat or anodize.

Installing the thermal barrier in the metal after it has been curved helps minimize stress on the thermal barrier and ensures performance as specified. Choosing the thermal strut system provides the additional design flexibility of dual finishing, where the interior and exterior surfaces may be finished in different colors and formulations.

Ensure that aluminum products’ thermal improvement options strictly comply with its material suppliers’ standards and AAMA’s quality assurance processing guidelines. For optimal quality and convenience, some finishers provide a single-source solution where stretch forming, thermal improvement and finishing are synchronized and retain the full warranty. When available, utilizing the finisher’s trucks also can reduce material handling and packaging to minimize the opportunity for damage, while saving costs and time.

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The basic stretch-forming machine has two arms or carriage beams that hold multiple-positioning gripping jaws. Photos courtesy of Southern Stretch Forming

 

Look for Linetec at AIA

Linetec will be exhibiting at three upcoming events hosted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA):

  • May 9-10, #B554 at AIA Wisconsin’s Conference & Expo in Madison
  • June 21-22, #361, Level 3, at the national AIA Conference on Architecture held in New York City
  • Oct. 11-13, #B19, at AIA Colorado’s Practice + Design Conference held in Keystone

AIA Wisconsin

WIAIA2018The annual AIA Wisconsin convention and exhibition returns to Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. This year in the Expo Hall, not only will we be showcasing our latest products and services, we’ll also be participating in the in-booth AIA continuing education sessions.

National Accounts Manager Tony Pupp will be offering 15-minute presentations on “Architectural Coatings: Strengths and Performance.” Architects and others who complete this quick course will earn 0.25 Learning Units. This short session will be available throughout the exhibition hours: May 9, 1:30-4:40 p.m. and May 10, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Click here to learn more and register for the AIA Wisconsin event.

AIA National in NYC

A18 logoFor the first time in 30 years, the national AIA conference returns to New York City. Called A’18 by those in the know, the Conference on Architecture will be held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The 2018 theme, “Blueprint for Better Cities,” focuses on creating inspiring, inclusive and resilient cities and communities that are better by design.

This theme continues through the A’18 Architecture Expo halls. The organizers anticipate 800 exhibitors spanning two floors and two days. The show floors will be open on June 21 and 22, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Conference activities extend into June 23.

Be our Guest! Click here for your complimentary admission to the A’18 Architecture Expo. Registration is required for additional events and educational sessions.

LinetecBrushedStainlessAnodize-web3See our Brushed Stainless. Our proprietary Brushed Stainless color anodize finish will be the highlight of our booth. Samples will be shown in full-size and available as pocket-size chips. Helping enhance and protect architectural aluminum products, our new finish emulates the clean, bright surface that architects find desirable in stainless steel. Now, a similar look on aluminum can be achieved in a more cost effective, lightweight option with the same industry-leading durability of our other anodize finishes.

window-corner-detail-190pxWatch for Wood Grain. Offering the beauty of wood without the maintenance, our Gold Series of 14 different Wood Grain Finishes for aluminum also will be on display. Unlike natural wood, the finished aluminum will not swell, rot, warp or attract insects. Architects also appreciate the opportunity to convey the softness and warmth of wood in environments where a hard, cleanable surface is still desired, such as in health care and education facilities, or other high-traffic areas.

Shine with Copper. Many have wished they could have the classic look of copper, without the eventual patina. Our Copper Anodize fulfills such designers’ dreams, offering the look of rich, real copper without such shortcomings as salt run-off stains, galvanic corrosion and patina.

Terra-Cotta-Color-Rings5Touch the Terra Cotta. It looks like terra cotta, it feels like terra cotta, but it’s actually aluminum finished in our textured Terra Cotta Painted Coatings. Made with reliable 70% PVDF resin-based coatings, the faux finish delivers exceptional levels of performance and sustainability in a choice of 17 terra cotta colors.

Combine Form and Function. Don’t pick between curves and thermal performance – choose both. We are one of the only finish and service providers to offer thermal improvement services for curved and radius, finished aluminum extrusions backed with an industry-leading warranty. We also can enhance the thermal performance of simple, straight and rectangular shapes, and help meet building team’s goals for energy efficiency.

Take a Sample. We know that color is critical to your project’s success. Whether matching a corporate identity, team uniform or custom palette, we can supply project-specific color chips for any Linetec-specified order or quote.

AIA Colorado

Watch for more details on the AIA Colorado 2018 Practice + Design Conference. Registration opens soon, and our Linetec representatives already are booked to exhibit on Oct. 11-13 at the Keystone Conference Center.

Meeting face-to-face is ideal, but you also can reach us by phone at 888-717-1472 and email sales@linetec.com. Please contact us whenever we can provide personalized assistance in selecting the finish for your next project.

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Linetec wins Wisconsin Corporate Safety Award

Wisconsin Safety Council 2018

From left to right: Colleen Hruska, R. N., Linetec Occupational Health Coordinator, MacKenzie Lambert, Linetec Safety Coordinator, Brian Stratton, Linetec Safety Manager, and Janet Metzger, WSC’s executive director

Wausau, Wisconsin (April 19, 2018) – Wisconsin Safety Council (WSC) honored Linetec, one of the largest finishing companies of architectural aluminum products in the U.S., with a 2017 Wisconsin Corporate Safety Award. WSC says this award recognizes companies that “value their employees and take pride in ensuring their safety.”

Rick Marshall, Linetec’s president, shared the achievement and his appreciation with the entire company. He says, “We would like to thank each of our employees for earning this honor. We are fortunate to have developed a very safety-focused culture at Linetec, where our employees suggest and implement safety improvements on a daily basis, and even coach and recognize their peers on their safety behaviors.”

Mike Schauls, vice president of operations, adds, “The #1 core value at Linetec is safety. Each and every meeting throughout the hierarchy of our business begins with safety.”

Linetec’s safety manager Brian Stratton, safety coordinator MacKenzie Lambert and occupational health coordinator Colleen Hruska, R.N., accepted the award on April 18 during the 76th Annual Wisconsin Safety & Health Conference.

Stratton elaborates, “Striving for excellence, Linetec is continuously improving our already solid safety program. Our efforts and the commitment of our associates not only allows our company to maintain better than industry average safety performance, but also to achieve a world-class safety level by manufacturing industry standards.”

For metal finishing and coating businesses, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports a three-year industry average injury incident rate of 5.0. Linetec reported an incident rate below 1.0 for the 2017 calendar year.

“The single most important factor to our success is our associates,” says Lambert. “They do an exemplary job of reporting injuries, working with the nurse, and following safety policies and procedures.”

Linetec was one of 12 winners selected by an independent panel of 30 judges including safety, insurance and human resource professionals. Each nomination was evaluated for organizational safety and health leadership, training and implementation programs, employee participation, as well as safety accomplishments and goals.

“This year’s winners embody the success stories that make Wisconsin one of the safest states to work,” said Janet Metzger, WSC’s executive director. “We would like to congratulate the winning companies along with all the finalists as they are true models to businesses across the state of what it means to make the safety of their employees a priority each and every day.”

About Wisconsin Safety Council

WSC_logo_2cWisconsin Safety Council (WSC) is the state’s leading provider of safety training and products, serving members of all sizes and every sector of the economy. WSC provides scheduled training programs across Wisconsin, in addition to private, customized training for your individual company. It is also the number one resource for safety products ranging from first aid training materials to emergency defibrillators. WSC is the official state chapter of the National Safety Council and is a proud program of WMC Foundation.

About Linetec

Located in Wisconsin, Linetec serves customers across the country, finishing such products as aluminum windows, wall systems, doors, hardware and other architectural metal components, as well as automotive, marine and manufactured consumer goods. The company is a subsidiary of Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: APOG).

Linetec is a member of the Aluminum Anodizers Council (AAC), the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Association of Licensed Architects (ALA), the Glass Association of North America (GANA), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA).

Wisconsin Safety Council 2018

Faux finish? Check out spattercoat.

Bridgeston Middle School 003Spattercoat finishing can mimic marble, stone, brick and other materials. Linetec offers spattercoat custom finishing with multi-colors, depth and texture. While this technique can be used on metal panel cladding systems, it more commonly is specified for architectural aluminum products, such as window and door frames, coping or soffits, to complement the look of adjacent façade components or interior decor.

At Linetec, our spattercoat is achieved by first painting the entire exposed aluminum surface with your specified under-coat color. On top of this, we apply additional colors of paint using a proprietary spattercoating technique. The paint spatters can be many or few, large or small, thick or thin. This produces the desired three-dimensional, textured effect.

spattercoat-12Spattercoat options are practically endless. In addition to simulating natural, earthy and artificial surfaces, we can help you create a truly unique and personalized building. Working within your prescribed color palette and brand identity guidelines, we can present a one-of-a-kind finished surface for a school, corporation or hospital.

If you’re looking outside of traditional color palettes, we also can match a color from almost any source you bring us. We’ve seen everything from hats to coffee mugs to furniture. Our in-house laboratory’s matching capabilities are unparalleled. Utilizing the latest technologies to analyze and formulate thousands of color variations ensures precise representation of your color selection.

Bridgeston Middle School 002While we understand your first priority in choosing spattercoat is the appearance it creates, we also know that performance is essential. Our spattercoat process utilizes 70 percent PVDF resin-based coatings to meet or exceed the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s high-performance exterior specification, AAMA 2605. These painted finishes exhibit outstanding resistance to humidity, color change, chalk, gloss loss and chemicals, ensuring a long-lasting, durable finish with minimal maintenance.

To request metal color chip samples of Linetec’s most popular spattercoat finishes or for personalized assistance in selecting a finish for your project, please contact us.

 

Meet with Apogee Retrofit Strategy Team in March

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Join Apogee Enterprises, Inc.’s Building Retrofit Strategy Team at Building Operating Management‘s National Facilities Management and Technology (NFMT) Conference & Exposition, March 20-22 or at GLOBALCON, March 21-22 .

NFRT is at the Baltimore Convention Center.
Expo hours are:
March 20, 12-4 p.m.
March 21, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
March 22, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

GLOBALCON is at Boston’s Hynes Convention Center.
Expo hours are:
March 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
March 22, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Apogee’s Building Retrofit Strategy Team, in conjunction with its businesses, assists building owners and property managers evaluate the benefits of window renovation and upgrades, such as

  • Improving the appearance of the building
  • Saving energy
  • Downsizing HVAC loading
  • Reducing maintenance
  • Lowering vacancy rates
  • Increasing rental rates
  • Enhancing the value of the building

Apogee’s business units supporting these building retrofit strategies include Alumicor; EFCO Corporation; Harmon, Inc.; Linetec; Sotawall; Tubelite Inc.; Viracon; and Wausau Window and Wall Systems. To learn more, please visit http://apog.com/renovation.html or contact Kevin Robbins at krobbins@apog.com, 715-409-0821.

 

Architectural Color Trends for 2018

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We rely more heavily on our sight than on any other sense – we are almost always taking information in with our eyes.

So how many colors can the human eye see? 100,000 colors? 500,000 colors? 1,000,000 colors? The average human can see 10 million colors!

The Color Marketing Group (CMG), an international association that identifies the direction of color trends, uses the slogan, “Color sells, and the right color sells better.”

When it comes to color predictions and trends for each new year, everyone is releasing their new “it” color or shade, from the fashion scene to home décor to automotive to the architectural and construction industry. This includes Valspar; they do intense research to create distinct trends and themes for the architectural coatings industry.

Valspar’s color trends closely align with those of the CMG’s International Key Colors for 2018.

Trend One: Subtle metallic and mica sparkle have become the new neutrals. From silver to graphite to blue-tones, these standout hues are more matte metallic and offer refined sparkle. Established in Europe, CMG refers to this sparkle trend as Vapor.

Valspar refers to this color trend as the “Future Lux” trend. The color implications of this trend are derived from earth minerals. These subdued colors lend a feeling of permanence and trust, and when combined with the shimmer and shine of metal, create the unmistakable look of luxury.

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Trend Two: Gray – sophisticated, conservative and intelligent. As said by CMG, gray advances with a new identity, Evolve, from North America. Standing at 50% black, it feels extremely balanced and is a strong color for design schemes.

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It creates a subtle effect when paired against deep shades, toning them down. Combining gray with lighter shades adds just the right touch of sophistication.

Valspar includes shades of gray in its “Always On” color trend collection.

Trend Three: Crisp and clean, Re-Value, from Latin America, embraces a healthy green with blue roots. These are welcoming, nurturing color tones that take into account our love of the planet and our love of life.

Trend Three

Valspar’s “Hit Pause” color collection closely resembles CMG’s Re-Value. The color implications of “Hit Pause” are rich tones and healing colors like Newborn’s Eyes and Prussian Blue. These shades help us recharge by ushering in new, positive energy

Trend Four: CMG’s final color trend for 2018 is Enjoy Life. Enjoy Life, from Asia Pacific, is pure and fresh. These are energizing and cheerful tones that symbolize the positivity of sunlight.

Trend Four-1Valspar’s “Life in Flex” colors like Marigold and Golden Bounty are bold, expressive colors that represent newness and light.

Collectively as a society, we all help create color trends, which shape our surroundings. These iconic colors of 2018 can all be provided by Linetec.

Explore Linetec’s Color Select and Spec tool, send us a sample, or contact your regional sales manager for guidance and assistance with your project.