Our active customer base has become well accustomed to the unique fabricated metal solutions that we offer along with our extensive line of Linear Bar Grilles and Perforated Grilles. Coco Architectural Grilles & Metalcraft is still driven by the five core characteristics that have been passed down over four generations and counting: Experience, Integrity, Quality, Service and Flexibility. In this post, we would like to share a solution that was engineered specifically for this project and focus on our Flexibility.
The Challenge: Every project for us holds a challenge and on this particular job, we experienced several. Most of them were nothing extraordinary. We faced the typical request for expedited prototypes and production of 2,000 linear feet of decorative fascia grilles, the assemblies were large for this style of linear bar grille (24” tall), the end conditions, filler pieces and triangular shapes were all meticulously produced, and the custom formulated powder coated color match was exact. But it was my first meeting with the general contractor, sub-contractors, and architect that presented our challenge. While I was making recommendations on the bar grille fabrication, the architect simply asked “Why can’t we paint the linear bars white and the cross members black?” The intent was for the cross members to disappear into the black background leaving white linear lines that would appear to wrap the fascia as if they were floating in air.
This was a straightforward question. And what was being asked for would have been a metal finishing nightmare. I could not think of anyone in our vendor base of quality powder coaters that would be willing to do this. It would require an immense amount of labor hours to mask the surfaces and run the parts multiple times. We would not be able to guarantee the quality over such a large production run either. Responding with the lead time issues it would cause or what was best for our fabrication schedule would not have been appropriate. We are in the business of Fabricated Metal Solutions. And that is exactly what I wanted to offer.
The design and fabrication process of the bar grille itself was quite different than our typical linear grille offerings. In order to produce a grille that could be manufactured, racked for finishing, and installed without compromising the quality, durability or, most importantly, the architect’s vision for this building, we still needed that unique grille solution. The construction of the bar grille was simply a 1/4” x 3/4” solid bar that was TIG welded onto a 1/8” thick x 2” wide x 1/2" deep channel. Special welding fixtures were laser cut in order to keep the assemblies square and mounting holes were added to the channels to assist the field labor with the installation. Everything was ready to go except for that black cross member.
The Solution: After some quick prototyping in our shop, we perfected a light gauge sheet metal cap in aluminum that was powder coated flat black! It sounds simple, but in order for everything to work we had to hold precision tolerances on the grilles and the caps. We are happy to report that 2,000 linear feet later, the custom white powder coated grilles came off the line with the caps waiting for them. Each cap, which looked like a comb, snapped over the channels for a tight fit and all of the mounting holes lined up perfectly as well.
The Result: Success! Another unique fabricated metal grille solution that was engineered to, above all else, realize the aesthetic vision of the architect.