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3 Key Advantages of Structural Steel

  • June 11, 2018

Structural steel holds a unique place in the world of construction materials. In fact, compared to other building materials such as concrete, wood, and masonry, structural steel commands a much greater market share. Yet despite this continued popularity, many people fail to understand the particular advantages of structural steel.

Unfortunately, this lack of understanding leads many to overlook structural steel when it comes to constructing new buildings, as well as structural components such as stairs and platforms. If you would like to improve your knowledge of structural steel, read on. This article will discuss three key advantages of this versatile building material.

1. Lightweight

Most people naturally think of steel as a heavy material. It can certainly be a surprise to learn that, when it comes to building materials, steel tends to be one of the lightest options. This ties directly to its incredible internal strength. It would take a veritable heap of concrete to rival the strength of a relatively thin beam of steel.

Perhaps more surprisingly, steel retains its lightweight status even when compared to wood. This doesn't mean that a piece of steel weighs less than an equally sized piece of wood. Steel, after all, has a much greater density than wood. For example, the density of steel is about 12 times greater than that of the commonly used framing wood known as Southern Yellow Pine.

The difference lies in the amount of the material necessary to build a sound structure. It would take a much greater volume of wood to achieve the strength of steel. Taken as a whole, then, steel represents the lighter way to frame a structure. This can have a huge effect when it comes to reducing both labor and shipping costs.

2. Faster Construction

When it comes to the time it takes to actually put together a structure, steel holds a clear advantage. This stems from the fact that steel building components have been meticulously pre-engineered to fit a particular building design. In other words, the steel has already been fabricated to fulfill its ultimate goal.

The difference between structural steel and other building materials can be likened to the difference between Legos and Play-Doh. Once structural steel has arrived on-site, workers simply have to erect it and fasten it together. This allows more time to be spent on quality control. It also makes it easier to disassemble the structure in the event that any changes need to be made.

3. Durability

Structural steel also holds clear advantages when it comes to long-term durability. Wood and concrete, by comparison, both suffer from significant Achilles' heels. In the case of wood, this has to do with the propensity to develop mold and/or rot when exposed to water. Rot in particular can be devastating, quickly reducing a wooden structure to a pile of moldering scraps.

Concrete also displays key weaknesses when it comes to its relationship with moisture. Concrete is naturally porous, meaning it will soak up water in a sponge-like manner. This can cause the volume of the concrete to undergo changes, swelling to greater sizes as its moisture content increases. Increased amounts of internal stress can in turn cause cracks and other structural problems to form.

Steel remains invulnerable to both rot and moisture absorption. Of course, it should be acknowledged that steel can be compromised by corrosion. Fortunately, structural steel building materials almost always come with a  protective coating of zinc to help keep rust and corrosion at bay.

The more you learn about structural steel, the more clear its advantages become. For more information about what it takes to fabricate and erect structures made of steel, please don't hesitate to contact the metal working pros at A Plus Industrial Installation.

Is Your Small Business Expanding? 3 Signs You Need a Conveyor System

  • April 13, 2018

For every industry, a principal function of the business is to satisfy every customer by producing products that are of high-quality and meet customer demands. A conveyor system can help you achieve these goals with greater ease.

If you're a small business that is expanding, now is an excellent time to start considering the many ways a conveyor system can help you achieve your goals. Here are three scenarios that indicate the need for one of these systems.

1. Business Demands Exceed Ability

The goal of every business is to increase profits, and one of the fundamental steps along the journey to this goal is an increase in demand. However, when demand for a product exceeds the production abilities of a business, this can mean trouble.

Increased demand is a dream, but when a business can't meet these demands, customers may take their money elsewhere - which will have the opposite effect on the potential for profit. If demand for your product is nearing your production maximums, then it's time to start looking at conveyor systems as a vital business tool.

A well-designed system can increase your productivity by as much as 25 percent in a short amount of time, which will allow you to satisfy your current base. However, a boost in production can also help you welcome new customers, which will further expand your business.

2.  Labor Costs Are Skyrocketing

There is not a single business that can survive without the hard work and dedication of their employees. On the other hand, there is not a single business that can survive with unmanageable labor costs. However, as the demands on a business expand, the need for more employees and overtime pay often come into play. 

If the balance is not perfect, excessive labor expenses will elevate operating costs, which will eventually decrease profits and put the business in jeopardy. Conveyor systems streamline your efforts and reduce labor costs by minimizing the need for extended hours and reducing your overall employee demand.

When you consider the wages, benefits, training, and insurance that goes into each employee, conveyor systems can help you significantly. Also, when you consider the setbacks that occur from injured employees or PTO, these systems keep you in greater control of your labor costs.

3.  Efficiency and Proficiency Are Declining

It's not enough to simply supply customers with a product. If the product does not meet expectations as advertised or in terms of its appearance and function, then you should not expect your business to flourish. Even with training and great care, when there are human hands involved, there is always an elevated risk of error.

Human errors can delay production and cost you money in the form of customer returns or wasted materials. Automated conveyor systems are programmed to your specific need. Provided that you are doing your part to maintain the system, it will perform with a heightened level of accuracy - day after day.

From product assembly to shipping preparation, these systems can satisfy your needs. This improved efficiency keeps your current customer base happy. It also helps strengthen the brand reputation of your company, which can help you expand your customer base.

At A Plus Industrial Installation, we want to see small businesses excel. From the installation of live roller systems to air conveyors to automated systems, our team has more than three decades of experience.

We will use our knowledge to help you identify your needs so that you can be paired with a system wellsuited for the demands of your business. Allow us to help you take your business to the next level.

2 Key Aspects of Conveyor Belt Maintenance

  • February 12, 2018

Investing in a conveyor belt system represents an exciting development in the life of a business. Conveyors boost performance, promote greater overall cost effectiveness, and reduce the physical demands being placed on your employees. For these reasons, adding a conveyor belt makes a lot of sense as a strategy for growing your business.

Yet you have to appreciate that conveyor belt systems will require periodic maintenance to keep them in good working order. Otherwise, your operations may grind to a halt. Worse still, repairing the problem may end up costing you a small fortune. This article will help you prevent this from happening by discussing two key aspects of conveyor belt maintenance

1. Bearing Lubrication

Pulleys represent one of the most important components of a conveyor belt system. They provide the belt with its tension while also transmitting the power necessary for moving the belt. A conveyor belt contains a number of different types of pulleys, including head drum pulleys, tail drum pulleys, bend pulleys, and snub pulleys. 

In order to keep the conveyor working efficiently, each pulley must be capable of moving with a minimum of friction. Bear systems ensure fluid movement — so long as the bearings remain properly lubricated, that is. Pulleys with under-lubricated bearings will experience a greater amount of friction. This will impede the smooth functioning of the belt, while also increasing the rate of wear being placed on other components.

Many people overlook the fact that over-lubricated bearings can be just as damaging as under-lubricated ones. An excessive amount of lithium grease — the most common form of lubrication — will attract and retain dust and other contaminants. Even when an adequate amount of grease remains, such substances increase friction and lead to gunked-up bearings.

A trained conveyor belt technician knows just how much grease a bearing system should receive. They will be able to quickly and accurately identify both under- and over-lubricated bearings and make whatever changes are needed to ensure ideal operation

2. Pneumatic Pressure

Two main types of conveyor systems exist: mechanical and pneumatic. The pulley-and-belt-based system described above constitutes the most common form of mechanical conveyor belt. Pneumatic conveyors, on the other hand, utilize a network of pipes or ducts. Pressurized air acts to push materials from one end of the system to another.

Pneumatic conveyors, in other words, represent closed systems. They provide clean, efficient results for operations involving the transport of small, granular materials, including but not limited to the following:

  • Cement powder
  • Wheat flour
  • Plastic pellets and resins
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    Food products
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    Sand or crushed aggregate
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    Metal powder

Pneumatic power sources generate the air used to move such materials along. Too low of a pressure means that the materials will back up — an obvious and inconvenient problem. Yet too much pneumatic pressure can be just as bad, since it places an excessive amount of stress on the components that make up the system

Pressure issues often stem from water that has gotten into the pneumatic lines. Most pneumatic systems contain air dryers used to collect humidity before it can cause problems. Problems with system pressure often indicate that the air dryer has either reached its capacity or has experienced some form of failure.

Having a trained technician perform periodic inspections of your conveyor system means you can catch problems like this before they impact your business. They will be able to take readings of the pressure inside of a pneumatic system and use this information to determine what changes need to be made.

If you have recently invested in a conveyor belt system for your business, be sure to arrange to have it inspected and maintained on a regular basis. For more information, please don't hesitate to contact the conveyor system experts at A Plus Industrial Installation

Keep Your Conveyor System Functioning With Proper Belt Care

  • December 15, 2017

Belt conveyor systems are excellent for regulating workforce hours and meeting customer demands in a timely fashion. However, just how inherent these benefits are to your organization has everything to do with how well you maintain the belt. A conveyor system that is operating correctly is going to perform better than one that is not.

Learn what measures to take to keep the conveyor system running efficiently.

1.Perform Routine Belt Inspections

The heart of a conveyor system is its belt. A damaged and worn belt will affect the overall operation of the unit. Inspect the condition of the belt by running periodic load-free cycles so that you can get a clear view of the belt. The main things to look for are large rips or tears because these imperfections signal a belt that is long past its expiration period.

To keep the belt in motion, these systems operate by dispersing a steady amount of tension throughout the belt. A large tear or rip disrupts the tension, putting undue pressure on the belt sections that surround the hole. This will make failure inevitable. It's important to note that small holes are often repairable, but significant damage signals a belt in need of replacement.

2.​Store Replacement Belts Correctly

Having extra belts on hand for quick replacement keeps your operation moving with minimal disturbance when belts develop holes, fraying or other signs of damage. Just make sure you're storing replacement belts the proper way.

Always avoid storing a belt directly on any surface, including a floor or storage shelf because rough spots on a shelf, such as a loose or raised screw, can cause a puncture. It might not be immediately visible, but after a few cycles, the belt will form a large hole.

Keep belts wrapped in a protective material or hang them. Store belts in a climate-controlled area because high heat and humidity levels can also cause damage.

3.​Keep the Belt Clean

Make it a habit to include belt cleaning as part of your routine. Food and other material spills send particles traveling throughout the conveyor system. In excessive amounts, this buildup could reduce some of the tension in the belt or push it off the track. With chemical spills, the harsh ingredients can cause the belt to deteriorate, leading to premature failure.

At the first sign of a spill, stop the conveyor and promptly clean it. Afterward, ensure the belt is dry before restarting operation. Any moisture on the belt will travel to other areas of the system where it can increase the risk for corrosion development and possible electrical damage. You should also only use cleaners approved for use on conveyor belts.

4.Know the System's Weight Capacity

A leading reason for belt damage is friction caused by loads that are too heavy. To put this in better perspective, consider a wheeled cart. Say you place an object on the cart that exceeds its weight capacity. As you push the cart along, you'll hear the wheels grinding into the ground below. This noise is the result of the friction caused by the extra weight. Continue to use the cart in this manner, and the wheels will fail. 

When you transport items that exceed a belt's rating, this creates friction that makes it harder for the belt to rotate. Not only does this mean an increased risk of damage to the belt, but the overall system must work harder as well, leading to accelerated wear and higher operating costs. Ensure you know the system's capacity rating.

A Plus Industrial Installation is standing by to ensure you're paired with the right type of conveyor system, to handle all your installation needs and to provide you with valuable operating tips. Get the help you need to keep your conveyor system in motion

Maximum Efficiency With Minimal Oversight – Advantages Of Robotic Conveyor Systems

  • July 31, 2017

The next major change you can expect to see in the outlook of the global economy is a transition toward automation. As technology continues to evolve in the direction of maximum efficiency, it's important that you take a look at your current setup and fairly evaluate whether you'll be able to keep up with competitors who embrace new technology with open arms.

Unfortunately, many businesses hesitate to make these important adjustments either due to a lack of comfort with the technology or a sense of obligation to their existing labor force. While it's understandable to take your time when considering major changes, it's vital that you stay open to the positives at hand.

Below, you'll find a guide to some of the major advantages of embracing robotic conveyor systems. Keeping these positives in mind can give you the confidence to proceed with a major change to your business and can help guarantee that you never find yourself in a position where the market has passed your company by.

1. Safer Working Environments

Even the most responsible and professional members of your labor force are susceptible to making mistakes from time to time. Fatigue is unavoidable and injuries are a part of humanity. When workers are tired, they may be more likely to make mistakes. When your employees perform the same tasks every day, they may be subjected to repetitive stress which can cause long term problems.

A robotic work force can allow you to avoid all of these concerns. The repetitive stress concerns with a robotic setup can be handled by proper maintenance and oversight without introducing unfortunate complications into anyone's life.

Robots won't show fatigue in their work and can help maintain a clean, safe, and stable working environment. This has massive positives both from a human interest perspective as well as a financial perspective, as your insurance obligations may drop substantially with the decrease in risk.

2.Fewer Assembly Steps

Human limitations can create some difficult challenges that even the most efficient employees might struggle to overcome. Equipment handling, for example, can pose a serious challenge if there is a great deal of weight or the potential for hazardous materials to be involved. The slow steps involved in that handling can grind production to a halt and can leave you scrambling to catch back up.

By automating your work force, you can avoid these concerns and substantially simplify the process. The increased speed that accompanies the installation of robots isn't exclusively due to worker capacity, but is also the result of not being subjected to natural slowdowns.

A direct process is a more efficient process, and as efficiency increases in your workplace, you're likely to see a corresponding leap in the quantity of your profit margins.

3. Automatic Inventory

Operating an efficient industrial process isn't the only task your labor force needs to be able to handle. They also have to be able to fully account for their production, and that means trusting inventory and accounting to people who may already be fatigued by a long shift on the line.

An automatic process can cut out the middle step and simply generate a running tally as the shift goes on. Being able to immediately determine the quantity of items handled and packaged at a given point in the line can go a long way toward securing your production and maximizing your output.

A Plus Industrial Installation offers a wide variety of services to help modernize your industrial operation. Turning to experienced professionals can help guarantee access to the results you need while simultaneously bringing you into the growing modern economy with the enthusiasm and excitement you deserve.

Bottle Filler and Capper Installation Project

  • July 31, 2017

Installation of a filler and capper for a local brewery in the Dallas-Ft Worth area. The filler weighs over 40,000 pounds and can produce 1200 bottles of beer in a minute, or 72,000 in an hour.