It’s been some time since we have developed a new decorative aluminium panel. Most of the panels we designed were similar in design to what was in the market place mainly so people could have some comfort in familiarity.
I’ve decided to make a new design and thought about some of the more “fortress” look I had seen while travelling around Tunisia and France. This sort of riveted, steel band look that guarded old structures.
This was the base of the SA13 panel, there are some issues with a panel like this and it’s mainly the manufacturing cost, safety & castability.
Cost – The problem here is that this is the heaviest panel we have made coming in at over 5kg. I had 5kg in my head as the top limit to what I would consider a normal panel (this is a ½ panel) Any of this extra weight of aluminium just gets added onto the cost for what’s really a little return as people buy decorative panels for their style rather than their weight. Getting the panel to under 5kg will be important.
Manufacturing – Some time ago we were manufacturing for another company making panels and had a panel of similar shape but a lot sharper, processing panels takes a long time as the quantity is not enough to warrant automated process so it’s all done by hand. This style of panel with all of its windows will add a lot of time of physically filing to get a smooth surface that you cannot cut yourself on. To overcome this we’ll be making our first 2 sided mould where I will contour the back of the part so it leaves the flash on a ridge where it will be a lot quicker to remove and will look better too.
Lastly castability is the final hurdle, all of the panels are cast through the top, in the SA13 we have a heavy section on the top and on the bottom and “lines” through the middle. This is slightly offset by the bars on the outside and I’ll use these when designing the delivery system so that they are “highways” that make the aluminium go to the bottom to fill as quickly as possible. If the part fills correctly we’ll have a nice little passage of solidification starting from that bottom section, quickly through the middle and then to the top. My only concern is that the middle will set too quickly.
I’m at a late part of the design now but it’s not 100% so I’ll make a few alteration to address the above and then we’ll go ahead.
To see the current range of panels we have please head HERE