STILL IN ITS
infancy is the Glenview, Ill.-based Metal Construction Association's Metal-Forming Equipment Council, which I chair. The purpose of the council, which began in January 2004, is to bring together the manufacturers of equipment and companies manufacturing roofing and pre-engineered building products to discuss problems, limitations, manufacturing efficiencies, solutions, new products and any other functions tied to manufacturing metal products for the commercial and residential roofing industries and pre-engineered metal building industry.
Equipment manufacturers are a good source for the answers to make manufacturing better in terms of being more efficient and less costly. We have been designing and building rollforming systems for the roofing industry all over the world, so we know more than just North American trends.
We also have been building rollforming systems for many other industries that roll form their products. And there are many! We have found solutions to increase lines speeds in excess of 600 feet (183 m) per minute to produce more volumes and with limited handling; solutions to cut holes on the fly in any pattern specified by the manufacturer (such as adding a part number or logo); solutions to limit time changing the coil (down to two minutes, for example); and solutions to change profiles on one machine in a matter of minutes.
We started this council to educate North American companies so we, as an industry, can remain globally competitive. Some hot topics covered at our council meetings include oil canning, warm rollforming on prepainted steel, length tolerance issues, lubrication issues and packaging equipment for the end of the rollforming line.
The committee also will be discussing trends for equipment, new profiles, computerization and new products to capture more market share. Some suggestions for future meetings include a panel of architects or engineers to cover this topic.
MFEC meets at MCA's annual meetings, which are open to anyone. A smaller task group meets at MCA's semi-annual meetings to work on the METALCON International trade-show focus group. The next semi-annual meeting is July 30 to Aug. 2 in New Orleans. Visit www.metalconstruction.org for details.
We have had a focus group at the last two METALCON trade shows as part of educational sessions. Members of focus-group panels have included manufacturers (both on site and in plant) and contractors. In-plant manufacturers generally produce higher volumes and ship via truck to several job sites. On-site rollformers produce their products at the job site and have some different issues than in-plant manufacturers, but there are some consistencies, as well. We also like to include contractors as panel members because they are very involved on the job site and have a lot of input about how they like/need to receive their products.
Focus-group topics include coil changeover time, packaging equipment suggestions, oil canning issues and how to make sure the equipment is not the cause, set-up issues and a few other problems common among many fabricators. A focus group will be part of METALCON International 2007, Las Vegas, Oct. 3-5 (www.metalcon.com).
All meetings are open for anyone to attend. And if any operations people would like to be part of the upcoming panel for the MFEC focus group at METALCON, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mark Engle, executive vive president of MCA, at email@example.com.
Our agenda really is quite simple--helping roofing and pre-engineered building manufacturers--and I urge you to get involved.