In this article, we will outline our accordion shutter manufacturing process. Accordion shutter manufacturing is a complex process that involves an engineer, project manager, saw operator, hydraulic punch press operator, and an assembly team working together to create the high-quality shutters that Floridians rely on to protect their homes and families. All while meeting the strict code requirements required by your city.
Accordion shutter manufacturing is a detailed process that starts with a quote from one of our sales representatives, which our staff engineer then reviews during a walkthrough. Once all required HOA approvals, permit applications, and other required steps are completed, the hurricane shutter manufacturing process begins. But let’s start from the top.
When the accordion shutter sale order received
Once the sales order is processed, it’s entered into accounts receivable and given to our project manager, who will check the quote for accurate pricing and review any special instructions requested for accordion shutter manufacturing.
The hurricane shutter engineering process
The order is handed off to our hurricane shutter engineer
The accordion shutter order is then placed into the engineer’s inbox. Our engineer will review the sales order and any special requests by the salesman or homeowner.
The most common requests are related to attachment types, such as;
- Over the decorative bands
- Trapped on the bands
- Walkover tracks
- Recessed tracks
Another typical example is when the customer has a fixed window over another window or slider. The customer may prefer to have both windows covered by one accordion shutter, which makes it easier to close without a ladder.
Our engineer will set an appointment to inspect the home
The engineer will then call the customer to set an appointment to inspect the home for engineering. His job is to look more closely at the home’s construction and windows to decide how the hurricane shutters should be manufactured.
- Our engineer will walk around the house, measuring each window and door around the home the customer ordered.
- The engineer will then check the edge distance for each opening to ensure the finished installation will meet code requirements. Most product approvals require at least 3 inches of clearance, and if there is not enough edge distance, the engineer must change the type of track or attachment used.
- The engineer must ensure that all windows and doors have a solid structure. Accordion shutters cannot be attached to pavers, most plywood, or any hollow wall.
- Next, the engineer will measure the mean roof height of the building.
Note: windows and doors positioned on the exterior corners of the property are referred to as Zone 5 areas. In Zone 5 areas, wind exposure is expected to be higher, and these areas have more strict guidelines for safe installation.
Accordion Shutter Wind-Load Calculation Form
The engineer must provide a wind-load calculation form in the permit application to the city. These charts dictate the pressure for each opening based on their size, location (Zone 4 or 5), and the height of the building. These forms will also contain design and installation details such as;
- The components used to manufacture and install the accordion hurricane shutter
- How the shutter will be assembled
- The substrate we will install the shutters in
- The appropriate amount of anchoring required to comply with the strict hurricane shutter testing set forth by the Florida Building Code.
In addition to these guidelines, we must consider making your hurricane shutters look good on your home — hiding as many exposed screws as possible and keeping the track length as slim as possible. We always follow the strictest guidelines set by the Miami-Dade Building Code.
Hurricane Shutter Engineering Review
Next, the engineer will review the findings and changes with the project manager.
The project manager will then make the necessary adjustments within our software designed to assist in the accordion shutter manufacturing process. This program is used to help us order the correct amount of blades and tracks and will provide a cutting sheet for our manufacturing and installation teams. Cut sheets help us reduce waste and keep our prices low.
The project manager will then generate a cut sheet which will then be given to the production manager.
The Hurricane Accordion Shutter Manufacturing Process Begins
After proofreading the cut sheets, the production manager will assign the various cut and assembly lists to the appropriate accordion shutter manufacturing team members.
The team comprises the 18″ pneumatic automatic saw machine operator, the hydraulic punch press operator, and the accordion shutter assembly team.
The material is delivered from our warehouse to the saw operator
We receive the material from the delivery truck using a forklift. It is then loaded onto a cart to be wheeled to the saw.
The raw material comes in full-stock length when the aluminum enters the accordion shutter production line. It must be cut to the proper measurements to manufacture your accordion shutters.
Most components come in 20′ lengths, whereas the shutter blades more commonly come in 3 sizes, 14’6 “, 16’6”, and 18′. We have discovered over the years that these blade sizes produce the best results in minimizing small, unusable drops.
The cut material is handed off to the punch-press operator
Once the aluminum is cut to the proper size, the punch press operator will receive the cut pieces and create the necessary holes in the components to house the lock assembly. This component is called the centermate and is a pivotal part of the accordion shutter.
Another component called the closure channel requires predetermined holes to be punched at each end. These holes will later provide the installer with a guide when installing the accordion shutter.
They will connect the top and bottom tracks to the sides of the shutter.
The precision of the holes is vital to adhere to the building codes related to the maximum allowable gap between the tracks and the blades. These gaps must comply with the applicable Notice of Acceptance.
The punch press operator will then punch the holes in the areas of the tracks that will receive tapcons or wood lags to make the attachment to your home. This process is essential as the design engineers have predetermined the anchor spacing when designing and testing the accordion shutters.
The NOA will have anchor spacing charts for the various spans of the accordion shutters in conjunction with the multiple tracks and calculated wind pressures. All this data is used in surmising the maximum allowable anchor spacing.
Accordion Shutter Assembly Process
After the shutters have been cut and punched, the rest of the assembly process is completed on adjustable tables to accommodate the various lengths of blades cut.
Some accordion shutters might be 14″ tall for small glass block windows, whereas some might be 200″ tall for oversized windows.
The team receives a detailed list of each accordion shutter that needs to be assembled for a job. This list will contain the blades required for each side of the accordion hurricane shutter.
The assembler will slide the blades individually until the proper quantity is achieved. The centermates are installed on the top of each stack, and the closure channel is placed on the bottom of each stack.
The accordion shutter is now ready to receive the assembly screws and wheel assemblies.
Once this step is completed, the quality assurance label is adhered to one of the accordion shutters’ centermates in clear view for future quality inspections.
The stacks are wrapped and labeled with the customer’s name and opening number. The corresponding tracks are then placed alongside the left and right stacks, thus completing the first opening of the job order.