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Architects and Fabricators Agree:
V-Grooving Machines Ideal for Curtain Walls

Thursday, November 01, 2012
 

Curtain-wall systems (says Wikipedia) typically are designed with extruded aluminum members, although the first curtain walls were made of steel. Copper cladding enables architects to incorporate visually desirable features into building design. Sheets, shingles and prefabricated panels can be cut, routed, sawed, filed, drilled, screwed, welded and curved to form complex shapes. Ceiling panels also can be fabricated to create a unique decorative appearance, as can elevator entries.

V-grooving sheetmetal panels enables forming
sharp corners to fabricate aesthetically pleasing curtain walls and other architectural panels.

To achieve sharp corners on panels, to enable a seamless appearance when the panels are assembled on the building, the V-grooving process has become popular with fabricators. With this process, panels are formed like pans with four to eight grooves. A V-groove is machined on the inside of the bend line, and when the material bends along that line a sharp corner is achieved, providing a distinctive, high-quality look and precision fit.

Early V-grooving machines were created to enable forming of sheetmetal with sharp outside corners on bend lines. Some machines were modified planers, others were more like routers, and in some cases fabricators would perform V-grooving on milling machines. These early versions of V-groovers had limited capacity, often capable of fabricating decorative stainless steel to 3 or 4 mm thick.

Taking V-grooving to the next level, Hydrapower International, Marco Island, FL, has introduced grooving machines that can accommodate sheets and plate to 1/2 in. thick and 20 ft. long. The machines can finish a 10-ft. by 0.045-in.-deep groove in 16-gauge stainless steel in 5 sec., and finish off a panel with four 10-ft.-long grooves in about 1 min. And, using Hydrapower’s new software, fabricators can activate a “pause” function to automatically bring the sheet to the front of the machine, where the clamps will release and the operator can rotate the sheet 90 deg., to run grooves in the perpendicular direction. This feature also finds use when making grooves on both sides of a sheet.

The machine’s tool holder features cavities to hold several tools that can be used in combination, or just a single tool, depending on the application. Fabricators can select tools to make square grooves (like a keyway), V-grooves or grooves shaped like semicircles.

Hydrapower Intl.: 239/642-5379; www.hydrapower-intl.com

 

See also: Hydrapower International Inc.

Related Enterprise Zones: Fabrication


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