Manufacturing Processes and Purpose-Built Components for Commercial and Medical Use
Top stainless steel air distribution manufacturers produce HVAC components specifically for sterile or commercial environments. They’re different from the ductwork, grilles, and diffusers you can purchase at your local hardware store because they’re designed to efficiently move air and prevent contamination.
And by incorporating HEPA filtration into the products, airborne pathogens are removed, and truly purified air is distributed throughout the building. These companies produce products including diffusers, ceiling systems, fan filter units, air extractors, and stainless steel grilles.
Types of Stainless Steel
Air distribution companies mainly use two types of stainless steel in production of HVAC components. These are Type 304 and Type 316.
Type 304 stainless steel is a versatile austenitic stainless steel composed of 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel austenitic alloy. In addition to its applications in air distribution components, you’ll also find it used in the automotive industry, kitchen equipment, truck bodies, storage tanks, and flatware.
This stainless steel is resistant to acidic and caustic solutions, but does not weld as well as 304L stainless steel, which contains less carbon. Type 304 stainless steel is ideal for critical environments – those that require sterile air – because it’s easy to keep clean to prevent contamination.
Type 316 stainless steel is an austenitic chromium-nickel stainless steel that resists heat and corrosion, even when exposed to sea water and brine. This type of stainless steel is easy to weld and fabricate. Because it contains 2 percent molybdenum, it avoids metallic contamination.
Where the Parts are Used
Critical environments, such as hospitals, labs, food processing plants, pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, and more, must circulate clean, sterile air, so as not to contaminate testing, production, processing, or patient care areas.
Some other types of commercial buildings, like large office buildings, also benefit from stainless steel HVAC components and advanced HEPA filtration systems, especially as the public becomes more and more concerned with the air’s viral and bacterial loads.
Even the HEPA Filters are Stainless Steel
If you’ve shopped at a big box store, you’ve seen room air purifiers and even vacuums that boast about having HEPA filters. But these filters are subpar in comparison to the stainless steel versions that air distribution companies manufacture as part of their components.
Because they don’t harbor bacteria like paper filters, stainless steel HEPA filtration systems are ideal for critical environments and clean rooms, making them one of the most in-demand components of any custom air distribution system for facilities like those.
Component Fabrication Best Practices
Stainless steel HVAC products must be carefully manufactured; fabrication best practices are followed to create sturdy and durable products that perform well on site. The multi-step process is focused on turning out the highest-quality product possible, with proof that each piece will be effective once in place on site.
After a construction company places an order for the HVAC components, most top fabricators begin by laser cutting stainless steel on sheet metal. After cutting, stainless steel and aluminum parts are bent into shape on CNC press brakes.
Each part is then welded into place, either by hand, or via a computerized welder. It’s vital that welded seams are air-tight, to keep air sterile when the product is in its place on site.
After welding, the fins on grilles or fans are cut to size and rolled into shape at precise angles for a consistent look and air distribution.
Because the fabrication process can be a bit messy, all parts are thoroughly cleaned in an alkalized wash cycle, heated deionized rinse, and a fresh-water rinse. Once dry, this is when each part receives its powder-coated finish or polish.
Any additional parts that require hand assembly are put together and installed on the component before it’s time for leak testing. Every product is tested with a photometer to ensure they meet high standards for critical environments.
If the parts meet the standards, they are carefully packed and shipped to the job site, where construction crews and HVAC service providers assemble the systems. Generally, product manufacturers do not perform installations, although they do provide instructions on how to do so.
Requesting Estimates for Stainless Steel HVAC Products
If you’re leading a construction project that requires the use of stainless steel HVAC products in critical environments, then you should begin soliciting requests for proposals (RFPs) from fabricators early on in the project. These RFPs are free and completely customized for your job site.
Once you’ve selected your fabricator, you should expect absolute perfection and consistency of size and shape for every stainless steel component you receive. There’s no room for error when it comes to critical environments; the best stainless steel HVAC product makers know this.