The Custom Heavy Ductwork Fabrication Process

Sep 19, 2016

Have you ever looked at the metal ductwork that adorns many industrial facilities and wondered how it was fabricated? One thing you can be sure of — whether it’s connected to HVAC equipment, a boiler, or another application — that ductwork wasn’t bought off the shelf. Each facility has unique requirements, which means any ductwork must be created through a process of custom metal fabrication.

Read on for a peek into each fascinating step of that process.
Custom Heavy Ductwork Drawings
Creating heavy ductwork begins at the drawing board. A process engineer creates a visual plan for the implement and breaks it down into its constituent parts for manufacturing.

The engineer overseeing the project will verify the shop drawings. Once they have signed off, the drawings go to the fabrication team. In most cases today, all of this work happens digitally, with files passing from one team’s computer to the next, rather than on paper.
Steel Plate Processing and Fitting
Drawings create specifications for the dimensions of the ductwork. Once all part measurements are verified, large pieces of thick steel are cut with plate shears.

Cut pieces are bent or rolled depending on the different shapes of ductwork needed. Next, the pieces are sized and lined up to verify they fit perfectly.
Welding and Inspection
Once all of the basic pieces are judged to fit exactly, welding can begin. This step involves careful preparation to ensure metal is joined securely and safely.

Highly-trained in-house staff inspect and document each weld. At some points in the process, outside testers come in to perform an independent inspection.
Lining or Insulation
Some ductwork requires lining or insulation. After the structural integrity of the welded metal is verified, heat- or abrasion-resistant lining/insulation is applied.

An outside metal layer may be added to cover insulation for some heavy ductwork. An additional inspection verifies this step is completed up to specifications.
Trial Assembly
Heavy ductwork is usually enormous in scope, which means it must be assembled in pieces. Once all of these individual sections are fabricated, the process of trial assembly begins. Before any pieces are shipped to the facility for installation, they must be tested to verify that they fit together into one functioning whole.
Surface Prep and Paint
If it isn’t stainless steel, heavy ductwork requires finishing. In-house staff preps the metal surfaces, coats them with primer, and then applies the high-temperature paint.
When it comes to heavy ductwork, shipping is no easy matter. To minimize the difficulty of installation on-site, fabrications are sent in large subassemblies. Pulling this off requires a strong partnership with a skilled, experienced freight carrier.
Dixie-Southern: Your Vision, Our Custom Quality
Dixie-Southern creates many specialty and customized items, working with our customers one-on-one to develop designs and production timelines based on their specifications, blueprints, and plans. We remain a top choice for companies in need of customized overweight and oversized steel products. We have the capabilities to:

  • Design, source, manufacture, ship, and erect products to our customers’ exact requirements
  • Manufacture steel plates and pipes using the most cutting-edge methods in the industry
  • Work with stainless steel, carbon steel, abrasive resistant steel, and many metals and alloys
  • Create process components for countless industries
  • Deliver quick turnaround times, even for overweight and oversized orders

Visit our homepage or contact us today for more information!

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