Flexibility keeps fabrication experts on an even keel
Fabrications engineers at ECS Engineering Services have completed several major one-off projects in the opening months of 2020 whilst also keeping other jobs flowing through the workshop at a steady pace.
Matt Enright, Production Manager for the Fabrication production team says they have balanced urgent jobs with scheduled work, and this has worked out well:
“We have had some big bespoke projects go through the works; each time we were fabricating trusses, beams and columns for large scale structures. These jobs were completed alongside a steady throughput of lock gates for several canal refurbishment projects in Scotland.”
The large structures were all for major building projects: one was for 300 tonnes of steelwork and needed to be completed in 4-5 weeks; another started out at 400 tonnes and grew several times during the fabrication process, yet still needed to be finished within four weeks; a third one was for 350 tonnes and had a 6-10 weeks schedule which could be easily accommodated.
These jobs all required the fabrication of a range of beams, struts, columns, trusses and supports, with each one made to a high degree of tolerance. This ensures they would fit together accurately as per the architects’ plans, as otherwise small errors could accumulate and create a major problem on site. Processes required for each of these jobs included laser, plasma and CNC cutting, drilling, milling and welding, all of which ECS carries out in-house or through our approved supply partners.
For each job ECS was providing sub-contracting fabrication services to a main tier 1 contractor so that the construction works could continue on schedule to meet the end client’s completion date. With major construction projects, keeping to the agreed timetable is paramount because even the slightest delay can have major knock-on effects for other aspects of the wider programme.
To this end the ECS workshop regularly runs overtime and/or nightshifts so that such jobs are completed on time. To ensure quality, all work has CE Marking approval up to EXC4 with traceability records maintained for all jobs.
Matt again: “ECS has its design office located next to the fabrication office so that we can all work together as one seamless team. However for some jobs, including the recent ones, we are issued the fabrication drawing packs by the client. In such cases we review them together in detail so that we fully understand what is required before issuing internally to our process systems and transferring the CNC data to the relevant workshops automated machinery.”
“Erection on-site may be by our in-house installation team or the contractor’s, but either way, our aim is to give them fault free, to specification sets of beams, trusses and columns that will go together as expected without any issues or reworking required.”
While these jobs were going through the works, ECS fabricators were also manufacturing multiple sets of lock gates destined for Scotland. This is a large project with the gates being made to a schedule that synchronises with the refurbishment work on site. Generally, the canals are drained section by section so that each lock can be refurbished in turn.
ECS’s fabrication workshop and expert designers offer a comprehensive design and build service as well as the fabrication of structural steel frames up to 1,500 tonnes. For steel fabrication on a short lead time, ECS has all the necessary skills and expertise.