Your Guide to Custom Ductwork & Sheet Metal Duct Fabrication

Ductwork is critical to the heating and cooling of any internal space in a commercial facility. Every piece of HVAC equipment is connected by ductwork, including furnaces, boilers, air conditioners, and heat pumps to carry the flow of warm and cool air. As air travels throughout your ductwork, it exits through vents and provides heating or cooling to the indoor space. Without ductwork, the air would have no path to travel around the building. Commercial HVAC ducts must be adequately sealed and insulated to prevent air loss and temperature degradation, which can be costly wastes of energy.


In short, your commercial HVAC ducts are worth understanding so you can make the right choices during installations, upgrades, or replacements. Keep reading for a closer look at commercial ductwork, custom ducts, and sheet metal duct fabrication.

What Materials Are Used in Commercial Duct Fabrication?

Sheet metal: Sheet metal commercial ducts connect HVAC components in countless buildings around the world. They’re typically constructed of shaped galvanized mild steel with a rust-resistant zinc coating, stainless steel, or aluminum sheet metal and can be round or rectangular. Sheet metal commercial ducts are installed in large straight sections, with smaller fabricated fitting sections for changes in direction and custom transitions for connections to equipment.


Galvanized mild steel with a rust-resistant zinc coating is widely used for ductwork fabrication and custom ducting. It is easily cut, formed, and fabricated into various shapes for industrial, commercial, and residential applications and provides sufficient protection against air loss, helping lower energy bills. The smoothness of the finished galvanized steel sheet metal duct fabrication creates better airflow than some other duct materials while protecting against mold and fungus growth.


Stainless steel is another effective type of sheet metal widely used for ductwork fabrication and custom ducting that provides increased strength compared to galvanized steel or aluminum while also providing superior corrosion resistance from moisture and airborne chemicals. Stainless steel sheet metal duct fabrication is a top choice for laboratory environments, food processing plants, and other industrial, institutional, and commercial warehouse facilities. Stainless steel duct requires precision equipment and skilled craftsmen to cut, form, fabricate, weld, and install the components to achieve the highest quality HVAC system with superior performance.


Each section of steel ductwork must be fitted together tightly for stability and sturdiness and to prevent air leaks. Duct seams should be sealed at the connections with mastic, a rubbery duct sealant, and metal tape. Standard duct tape should not be used as the adhesive can dry out over time and break the seal.


What are the Benefits of Sheet Metal for Commercial Duct Fabrication


Custom-fabricated sheet metal ducts are durable, flexible, and water-resistant while providing exceptional airflow qualities. They can be made from a wide range of materials, including galvanized mild steel with a rust-resistant zinc coating, stainless steel, and aluminum. With the right tools and experience, fabricators can customize commercial sheet metal ductwork to meet the needs of virtually any HVAC project. However, few provide the precision and bulk capability of APEX Mechanical & Fabrication.


How Are Commercial Sheet Metal Ducts Made


Sheet metal duct fabrication involves cutting and forming processes.


Cutting uses shears and specialty high-definition plasma equipment, and forming uses brakes and presses to exert applied force to shape the material. This equipment makes precise cuts and bends to create geometric shapes and direct ductwork around obstacles and complex contours.


What Are APEX Custom Ductwork Fabrication Services?


APEX’s world-class sheet metal fabrication shop now offers bulk duct fabrication in addition to or custom duct and sheet metal fabrication services. State-of-the-art equipment like the Auto Fold Coil Line allows APEX to produce fully wrapped 5’ sections of duct in only 60 seconds. That adds up to over 3 million pounds of duct each year on a single shift.


The Cornermatic II is another great machine that enhances the quality of sheet metal ducts while significantly increasing the production rate.  APEX uses the Cornermatic II to insert and crimp corners at both ends of the ductwork simultaneously and perfectly closes the longitudinal Pittsburgh seam in one single, quiet, and safe operation.


Along with these capabilities and custom ductwork fabrication, APEX now offers bulk duct fabrication to supply large quantities of fabricated ductwork right when you need it, at the best price in the region. If you have questions about custom commercial ductwork or sheet metal fabrication, contact us today and talk with an expert about your next project.