The Cutting Edge Fabrication (CEF) team are experts at large custom metal fabrication. We recently constructed numerous concrete surge hoppers, comprised of over 50 different ASTM A-572 grade 50 steel components with an assembled length of 25.5 feet, and weighing in at 5,0000 pounds. The massive project involved every area of the fabrication shop. CEF also fabricated the heavy-duty paddles that stir the concrete during travel and evacuate the hopper’s mixed material.
Fabrication Project Scope
Manufacture concrete surge hoppers and paddles that transport, agitate, and deliver concrete by railcar to construction sites.
Fabrication Operations Required
laser cutting, plasma cutting, production sawing, press brake forming, bending, rolling, and welding
Cutting, Bending, and Bump Forming
Like most fabrication projects, we start by cutting metal plate, sheet metal, and channels to shape, angle, and size. We utilized the CNC laser, plasma cutters, and automated miter saws for this task. Many of the parts possess a radius and conical feature. We apply a bump forming process on our CNC press brakes to create these parts. Numerous bends are made at precise positions with variable brake pressures to form the parts to specification. Many custom fixtures, templates, jigs, brackets, and braces are made and used during the fabrication process.
Fitting, Tacking, and Assembly
Hopper fabricating starts in an inverted position. Formed and rolled panels are wrapped around custom-engineered templates to create a massive shell. Pre-welded channels and other metal components are tacked into place as we assemble the 5,000-pound puzzle. Numerous turnbuckle brackets and braces are used to position and hold parts during the fitting and tacking process.
The tacked metal structure enters into the welding phase - a combination of stitch welds (intermittent) and seam welds (continuous) bond the fabrication. The hopper becomes stable during this process, with many braces and brackets removed, leaving the build table and rotating by crane for continued welding. Weld strength is critical, as well as the need for seal welding. Remember, the hopper transports concrete and must be tight against leakage.
Finishing and Final Inspection
The hopper is finally in its upright position. We remove the bracing, clean the welds and seams during the finishing stage. Quality checks took place at every fabricating phase; now, we enter into the final inspection to review every square inch of the structure again. The fabrication passes quality inspection, meeting, or surpassing all design specifications and is deserving of customer delivery. This level of ingenuity, dedication, and quality make Cutting Edge Fabrication the preferred metal fabricator.