Our workshop transforms raw material into siding and paneling that ships to the job site ready to install as cladding. The final product is artfully customized, faithful to the original design, and reliable in its structural integrity.
We follow four stages to turn a raw sheet into a panel:
Here is the process of each step, in detail:
Raw material is laid out on our 5’ x 16’ CNC table to be cut to size for fabrication. One of our CNC machines get to work, maneuvering its cutting head along the sheets to slice them to size. If there is one thing we hate, it is waste, so we program this part of the process to utilize as much of the raw material as we can.
The cutting process splits raw sheets into individual sections that will become distinct panels. Any departure from the designer’s original schematics will upset not only the rest of the fabrication, but delay the installation process as well.
We rely on the accuracy of CNC technology, which communicates numerical directions to the cutting head of our machines. These directions come straight from the horse’s mouth, or rather from Autodesk, where the original CAD file was crafted. Our CNC technicians supervise the process, and our in-house design team is present for clarity and guidance.
For this stage, the spindle on the CNC machine is equipped with a milling tool that separates the desired material from the rest of the raw sheet. For milling, we use a rotating cutter suited to slice effortlessly through the raw material that we are working with.
The cut stage is where the rubber meets the road and design is first acted on. Synergy from design to fabrication is critical. At our headquarters, cutting happens in view of our design office.
This step showcases the three-dimensional mobility of our CNC machines. The newly cut sheets are grooved by the cutting head, making indents between what will become the panel face and the panel sides.
These creases will make folding up the sides of the panels easier, and mitigate any error in the process. The trick is to groove the raw sheets in a way that facilitates bending, without compromising the structural integrity of the finished product. If the cutting stage is a study of accuracy, grooving is an exercise in precision.
For a siding material such as ACM, the overall thickness of a sheet is typically around 4mm. When working with an element so thin, the difference between a cut and a groove is minuscule. The process necessitates a surgeon-like touch, while production must match the timely needs of a fast-paced industry. This is why we rely upon the latest tech for grooving our materials.
Our CNC machines act on data in three dimensions, and their cutting heads accommodate the necessary mobility for a perfect groove. Where milling tools are used for cutting, grooving requires our spindle to be armed with a lathe, a drill-like tool used for shaping and smoothing metal.
No fancy machines at use for this stage of fabrication: just some good old-fashioned elbow grease. Our fabricators bend along the four indented edges, turning the flat sheet into a panel.
The cutting and grooving process often results in metal dust. Right before bending begins, pressurized air is blown on the sheet to ensure no residue is enclosed in the grooves.
A plumb fold is key to the structural integrity of a panel, so this stage is no less tactful than the work carried out by the CNC machine. Our team creates temporary handles on the side flaps using clamps—modified for the particular use case—that aid the fold. These handles distribute pressure equally so that the sides bend evenly.
Assembly is the final stage of the fabrication process. Here we fasten the panels and ready them for a long life of service. Fabricators lock everything in place using corner brackets joined to the panel with screws, rivets, and other fasteners.
The sides of the panels may have been bendable in the last stage, but it would be a Herculean effort to try and fold them back after assembly.
These fasteners will remain out of view once the panels are installed, but this does not mean they can be devoid of quality. A cladding solution is only as strong as its weakest link, so our panels are fastened using materials that match the durability and structural integrity of the base product. Brackets are typically made from aluminum and come in long strips from our suppliers to be cut to the exact needs of our panels.
Once the corners are secured, additional brackets are fastened to the sides, for later installation on the base wall. This is done with the installer in mind. Attention to detail and the design schematic are crucial. The final installation hinges on coordination between these brackets and extrusions fastened to the base wall, so our team is careful to assemble the panels accurately.
When the assembly is complete, so too is the fabrication process. From there, the finished product is shipped out to the job site.