Common Challenges In Large-Scale Metal Projects

March 14, 2024
A Women Overcoming Challenges - Large Scale Metal Projects - rrow Engineered Products Custom Metal Fabrication Ontario

With over 100 years in the metal machining and fabrication industry, we’ve seen every challenge imaginable in large-scale metal projects. Thanks to hard work and ingenuity, our team has always risen to address these challenges with forward-thinking, innovative solutions.

Here are two common challenges metal fabricators face and how Arrow Engineered Products solves them

Accounting For Material Shrinkage And Distortion At The Weld Site During Large-Scale Metal Projects

Welding is a standard practice in large-scale metal projects and product engineering. Stainless steel, an alloy primarily composed of iron, chromium, nickel, and other elements, is widely used when applications require durable, corrosion-resistant joins. 

However, many welders face material shrinkage and distortion challenges when working with stainless steel. This is because stainless steel’s high thermal conductivity results in rapid temperature changes if not properly managed. In other words, the material expands as it heats up and then contracts while cooling, exacerbating the potential for unwanted shrinkage and distortion as different sections of the material cool at varying rates. 

Additionally, the welding process induces residual stresses within the stainless steel, contributing to distortion. These stresses arise from the non-uniform heating and cooling cycles during welding.

Our welders at Arrow Engineered Products help solve material shrinkage and distortion for your complex metal designs with the following strategies:

Pre-Weld Planning

We undertake a thorough pre-weld planning process that involves assessing the specific grade of stainless steel and understanding its thermal properties to help us develop the right welding solution that will minimize the risk of material shrinkage and distortion. 

These solutions can include controlling the heat input during welding, using techniques such as pulse welding, or controlling the heat conduction speed. Another method, known as back purging, can reduce oxidation and minimize the formation of excess residual stresses by using an inert gas on the backside of the weld.

Proper Joint Design During Large-Scale Metal Projects

Proper joint design plays a vital role in minimizing distortion during large-scale metal projects. For example, joint designs, such as butt joints or fillet welds, can provide better support and control over the welding process and help reduce the possibility of distortion.

Joint Fixture And Clamping

Adequate fixturing of the stainless steel components helps control movement during welding, minimizing the risk of distortion. Strategic clamping techniques can also counteract the material’s natural tendency to distort by applying pressure in specific areas to counteract the forces generated during welding. 

Weld Sequence And Post-Weld Heat Treatment

Implementing a strategic weld sequence that considers the direction of material contraction can help mitigate material shrinkage. Also, performing post-weld heat treatment by carefully controlled heating and cooling cycles will alleviate stress and minimize distortion, helping to restore the material to a more stable state. 

Reducing Time And Costs On Large Storage Tank Installation 

Traditional installation methods of large storage tanks, whether used for petrochemicals or water treatment, involve complex on-site assembly processes such as welding, insulation application, and cladding, contributing to extended project timelines and increased costs. 

However, we recommend pre-insulating and cladding the tanks in a controlled environment before shipping. This drop-in solution eliminates the need for extensive on-site labour, mitigates the risks associated with on-site accidents and errors, and optimizes project scheduling. 

Our controlled factory environment allows for precise-fit application and consistent layers of insulation materials, ensuring optimal thermal efficiency and enhancing the tank’s ability to maintain temperature stability, which is crucial for industries dealing with sensitive materials.

The cladding applied during manufacturing protects the tank from environmental factors, corrosion, and other potential damages. This additional layer adds a level of durability that extends the lifespan of the storage tank, providing long-term value.

In addition, reducing on-site construction activities has a positive impact on the environment. The controlled factory environment allows for efficient waste management and recycling practices. Furthermore, our drop-in solution reduces the need for on-site transportation of construction materials, minimizing carbon emissions associated with traditional installation methods. 

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Engineered Products That Save Time And Money During Large-Scale Metal Projects

Arrow Engineered Products believes that our products are investments that pay back in value over time. That’s why we use a combination of advanced technologies, sustainable practices, and highly skilled tradespeople to develop solutions that contribute to the long-term success of your company. 

Our forward-thinking approach to metal machining and fabrication continues to challenge traditional norms and deliver quality products to our customers sooner. This commitment to value is why we’re celebrating our 101st anniversary this year – and we’re not stopping now. 

Read More: Tailoring Design To Custom Metal Fabrication Requirements

Get A Project Quote From Arrow Engineered Products For Your Next Design And Fabrication Project

Partner with Arrow Engineered Products for high-value design, engineering, and fabrication solutions to suit almost any application. Visit www.arrowmfgep.com/contact/ to experience the Arrow difference in quality, precision, and service for yourself. Get in touch with us today!

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