Sheet metal ductwork fabrication is a vast industry. Each fabrication shop will have its own specialty. Determining which shop to partner with is important for anyone managing a large project. In previous posts, we’ve covered how to find the best fabricators for welding and how to order quality custom ductwork.
Here, we explain how asking focused questions about sheet metal ductwork fabrication can allow you to buy a superior product for a better price.
When ordering fittings, your goal should always be to cut the field prep and installation time. Ordering quality material makes your installers jobs easier and allows them to work more efficiently. Therefore, even if you purchase mass produced spiral or coil line rectangular duct, you should still consider focusing on the quality of the fittings that you purchase. Make sure that your fittings are fabricated by people who understand what makes work easier for installers.
When making choices about which fabricator to partner with, consider asking these questions:
1) Do I need custom fabricated ductwork fittings?
Many “one stop shops” will mass produce rectangular duct from a coil line or spiral duct. If your project does not require many fittings, a larger shop may be a good option. However, if your job requires multiple custom fittings, you should choose a smaller shop with better quality control. Unlike stock materials, custom materials must be sealed by hand. Rather than working with a shop that mass produces stock material, consider working with a specialized custom fabricator. Often, a “one stop shop” will charge you more for fittings than a custom shop. Make sure you partner with small shops that are able to manage a large shop’s capability but have significantly higher quality control standards.
2) What quality sheet metal does your shop use?
The material that your fabricator uses is very important to consider. Ask your fabricator if they always use G90 galvanized metal. G90 is a hot-dipped steel sheet that has been continuously galvanized. The designation G90 is a coating thickness. This matters because G90 metal has the ability to have its shape changed without losing strength or breaking. The superior ductility of the metal will lead to a better fabricated fitting. By asking about the shop standards and ensuring that all of the metal is G90, you will avoid overpaying for an inferior product.
3) Does the shop specialize in producing both S&D and TDC connections
S&D (Slip and Drive Duct Connections) are the industry standard duct connectors for rectangular ducts requiring a rigid, leak-proof connection. In order to save time in the field, expert sheet metal workers must seal each connection by hand.
TDC (Transverse Duct Connector System) is a flanging system. Fabricators form a flange on the duct ends. Fabricators that focus on quality control will ensure that their conner pieces perfectly fit into the groove that is formed into the ductwork.
Whether your job requires S&D fittings or TDC connections, the quality matters. “One stop shops” will charge you as much for the fittings, if not more. Even more importantly, you want to prioritize working with a shop that can guarantee that your fittings will be square and sealed by hand. Settling for a low quality product will cost you additional money in the long run because your installers will need to make too many adjustments in the field.
4) Does the fabricator provide quality connector systems?
To be sure that the connectors are easy to install, work with shops that
Provide DuroDyne’s EZ Connector System with all TDC orders. DuroDyne’s EZ Connector System allows the installer to fasten the locking bolt using a cordless impact driver. DuroDyne’s EZ Connector System uses a lag bolt rather than the traditional nut and bolt corner connection. This system cuts the field prep time and makes installation much faster. Also, work with fabricators that provide all of the necessary connectors and cleats with every piece of ductwork.
To learn more about how to get small shop quality and large shop capability, Contact Madon Sheet Metal. We produce superior welded ductwork, fabricated ductwork, and accessories. Contact us or call us at (224) 300-7995 to learn more or get a customized quote.