Final inspection poses some special challenges when the product is a 120 ft2 unit, the largest IEA has ever built.
On April 8th, 2016 IEA will ship 12of the largest vertical radiators it has ever built: 120 ft2 giants that will be put to work in the desert southwest, where their particular ability to handle the altitude and unusually high ambient temperatures earned them the assignment.
Mounted to CAT’s new 4 MW, 16 cylinder C175 engines, these IEA-exclusive products, weighing in at almost 15,000 lbs. each, make the operation of these engines in thin air and ambient temperatures as high as 122º possible.
Their exceptional performance is more than just a matter of sheer size. To produce the amount of cooling required and still maintain necessary efficiencies, IEA engineers, using a previous 110 ft2 model as a base, developed a proprietary, three-layer coolant circulation system, which the additional square footage made possible. Moving coolant through the radiator in a specialized pattern multiplies the effective cooling surface to more than double the physical core frontal area.
IEA’s ability to produce such a large product when competitors could not, created the move away from a factory package solution. IEA’s engineering expertise then maximized the unit’s performance and brought the business to Kenosha.
“IEA’s competitive advantage is our ability to create customized solutions to challenging applications,” said Al Meissner, VP Engineer. “This is a great example of how our two core strengths, thermal engineering expertise and manufacturing excellence, can come together to provide customers with products they can’t get anywhere else.”
On March 31st, IEA was host to a tour through its factory, sponsored by the local SME chapter. Participants were five students from Gateway Technical College, SME chairman George Yust and GTC Student Chapter Adviser, Rich Buhnerkemper.
Phil Bulwicki of IEA’s engineering staff was the official IEA host. He led the group through the heart of the company’s production process; core fabrication, core, cooling and back section assembly and final assembly.
Kevin Schmidt, Director of Manufacturing, was up next, guiding the group through the latest expansion to IEA’s manufacturing capability, the fabrication department. There the group was literally walked through the progression materials take from sheet metal to a stamped/laser cut flat part to a formed section to a welded component part, which is then moved to the assembly departments they had visited earlier in the tour. The design of the welding department and its robotic equipment proved a particular highlight.
“Seeing first hand the size and range of our products, and learning what it takes to design and produce them, kept the group engaged and enthusiastic throughout the tour,” said Bulwinki. “They asked a lot of great questions and seemed genuinely amazed at how many different places our products are essential to making vital localized power possible.”
The final stop on the two-hour tour was the Calorimeter Lab, where Test Technician Craig Snyder got to demonstrate one of primary reasons IEA is able to guarantee its customers that the products they buy will perform up to specification. Being the “techiest” place on the tour, the Lab garnered a great deal of interest, with several students inquiring about the possibility of future employment.
“We were more than happy to work with SME in providing this group a close-up experience with all that industrial manufacturing involves and the opportunities it can provide to them”, said Schmidt.