Aluminum Composite Panels are popular external cladding products that are widely used in modern architecture and buildings. They are also used as the internal surface designing and coating material. To ensure that these products fit correctly into the design of the construction, they need to be fabricated precisely and then installed in various methods. Almost all of the methods utilized in the industry for this purpose are approvable. Before installing ACM panels, some prior action needs to be taken, considering thermal contraction and extraction, removing the protective film, and defining the process direction.
Thermal Contraction and Expansion
Change of temperature can lead the ACP fasteners into intolerable overstressing and bowing. Thus, to avoid this type of damage, heating the construction work and ambient air process must be considered. It is essential to know that aluminum composite panel has a coating system, damaged if the temperature exceeds 100-centigrade degrees. This means that the thermal resistance of the material must be modified before installation.
Removing Protective Film
Generally, aluminum composite panels’ manufacturing company leaves a non-transparent protective film for covering the material before leaving the product line. Humid ad hot weather conditions can make the film’s residual glue stick onto the lacquered surface of the ACP. Thus, removing the protective film as soon as the material reaches the construction site is necessary. After the removal, it is essential not to use a marker pen or tape on the coated surface. Particles such as acrylic, rubber, and epoxy can be very harmful to coating integrity.
Aluminum Composite Panels Process Direction
It is crucial to install the ACP materials in the predefined direction, whether horizontal or vertical. Manufacturers apply the paint finish in one consistent order. Thus, for maintaining the finish and the color across the panels, each ACM panel must course in the correct direction. Identifying the path is not so hard. The protective films are being developed, having an arrow on them, which defines the proper installing order and the applied finish. Builders need to install all the panels in the same direction throughout a construction project.
Aluminum Composite Panels Installation Methods
After the preliminary preparation steps, it is time for the installation process, which can be done utilizing many methods. Here are some of the most common ACP installation methods in the industry.
Hanging Method for ACP
One of the most common ACP installation methods is the hanging method. This installing system can simplify the procedure, and as a result, it shortens the construction period. In this system, panels are not fastened tightly to the mainframe and are suspended. Thus it is easy to loosen the movement of thermal expansion and contraction. The hanging installation system must follow the steps below.
- The design of the facing is defined relative to the axis of the construction. The ACM panel skeleton consists of vertical and horizontal pieces. The vertical rod should be fixed, followed by the anchor point determination of the vertical frame.
- Then installing the fixed connection part of the basis of the pay-off line is required, followed by an electric welding fixture. Thus, the connection partition is welded to the embedded domain.
- The welding frame is utilized to take the main skeleton on it. This step of installation includes checking the elevation and center lining the position. Additionally, the cross-section weld should be treated as anti-rust paint. Then the quantity, height, and depth of the insertion will be set.
- The last step is to install the Aluminum panel on the inner frame of the profile using the screw holes and fixing them to the steel frame block with particular supplies such as rivets. The boards need to have 10-15 mm of a gap and be injected with silicone-based material for sealing purposes.
Wet Sealant Joint
Another renovation and modern method for aluminum composite panels is using wet sealant joints. This method includes applying appropriate sealing material to the joints to ensure water-tightness and prevent water infiltration into the building structure. Followings are the six steps that need to be followed in a wet sealant joint installing system.
- Choosing an hourglass-shaped sealant is essential, and the width should be twice the depth of the gap.
- The backer rod diameter is generally 25% larger than the central joint, which needs to be filled.
- Joint sizes are typically designed to be four times greater than the expected movement.
- The sealant is not made of caulk, and it should never be tooled with a finger. Choosing the right tool is always a priority.
- Then, preparation for sublayers is necessary.
- Applying wet sealants under average temperature is recommended. This is due to the expanding and contracting characteristic of the joints.
Dry Gasket Joint used in Aluminum Composite Panels
There is another installing method for ACP materials instead of wet sealant joints, including dry gasket joints. This method is durable and can reduce the amount of strain and dirt on the panel’s surface. The process will be completed by doing the following 11 steps.
- Inspecting the gasket to ensure the absence of defects and checking if it has clean cuts with no rips or tears is essential.
- The gasket should be placed between the panels with precision.
- Avoiding applying to release joint compounds on the surface of the gasket is needed.
- It is familiar to insert 2-3 bolts through connecting panels to reduce the damages and pinches.
- Load bearings need to be coated with lubricants considering many factors such as particle types, sizes, and temperature.
- Consulting with the gasket manufacturers is vital in defining the torque values that need to be applied to the nuts.
- The most efficient way to tighten nuts is by utilizing a cross-bolt pattern and multiple tightening rounds during the ACP installation procedure.
- The nuts need to be tightened by hand but generally with 20 percent lower torque than the recommended amount.
- Each nut will be torqued 30 percent of the predefined torque amount.
- The last step needs to be repeated by applying 40% torque until 100% of the maximum torque is approached.
- Finally, involving at least one final maximum torque to all nuts is needed to place all nuts in a uniform torque.
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