What Is Important for Your Thermal Break Assembling Machine and Why?
By Bogdan Grebenyuk, Product Manager at Thermevo
on May 27, 2017
Thermal break assembly systems are crucial for an aluminium facade to function well, but what is needed in them?
Anyone investing in thermal break profile assembly equipments needs to consider just how many functions these hi-tech devices carry out during the manufacturing process. It has long been established that polyamide isolation strips are essential for any aluminium window system to provide a good level of thermal insulation. However, what many people who are not experts in the industry fail to understand is just how important the exact position of a polyamide thermal break can be. Indeed, some architectural and consulting engineering firms will specify a particular manufacturer of aluminium-framed windows and doors without ever considering just how much variation there can be in the thermal performance of the products being selected, depending on the thermal break rolling machines being used. Without knowing what sort of machines for insulating aluminium profiles are to be used for a bespoke project, specifiers really cannot tell how reliable the resulting thermal performances will be for their design.
Why Thermal Break Assembly Counts
No matter whether an aluminium thermal break door or window frame is being selected, its thermal efficiency - and therefore its ability to contribute a passive house concept - will be defined by how its polyamide insulating strips are fitted. If they are too close to one side of the extruded aluminium profile, then they simply don't function properly and heat loss becomes only too apparent. Scientific studies into their efficacy have repeatedly demonstrated that they must touch the inside of the frame as little as possible. Nevertheless, they must be secured in their correct position and unable to shift around, particularly when in transit to site ready to be fitted. The overall U values, as worked out carefully in advance, could well be down if the thermal break profile assembly equipments being used are not calibrated to the right degree or are of an inferior quality with more room for error. For some projects, this can lead to certain energy-saving certification not being issued and even dissatisfied clients who are faced with augmented heating bills. Ultimately, the quality of the thermal break assembly comes down to the sort of machinery that the window manufacturer concerned is operating, along with the skill of the operator, of course.
Overcoming Issues with Shear Strength in Insulated Aluminium Frames
A physical bond must exist between an aluminium profile and its polyamide thermal break. As a result, sometimes patented mechanical processes are required for crimping the polyamide material into a groove on the inside of the frame. Given that the aluminium used to form this groove is manufactured by being extruded, it also needs a further process for the strip to be secured fully otherwise the recess would be too smooth. The best means by which high-quality thermal break assembly equipment achieves this is knurling the material beforehand. Although knurling can be carried out as a standalone process, specialist machines which are specifically designed for this task are available for window producers to buy. These systems allow for exceptional levels of rigidity, or shear strength, to be maintained within the frame once the insulating insertions have been fitted. Without such equipment, insulating material is often simply pummelled or sandwiched into place which can damage the integral strength of the extruded aluminium.
"The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency." - Bill Gates.
Modern Thermal Break Assembly Equipment
Some assembling machinery used by window manufacturers uses a three-in-one technology which knurls the aluminium profile before inserting the strips and then crimping them within a single unit. These machines commonly require two operatives to run effectively and have fast set-up times. Other machines are either designed for knurling, crimping or strip insertion functions only. Although the set-up process may be a little longer, they tend to require fewer man hours to operate. Many of these systems have guidance rollers and adjustable parts which allows for different sizes of aluminium profiles to be processed rapidly. Fast configurations are especially noticeable when the assembly equipment is supported by software systems which allow the window designs and dimensions to be transferred into the machines' settings with just the click of a mouse.
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