Monday, December 16, 2013

SlPs Component Specification: Crunchy or Smooth?

Consider the following scenario: You want to manufacture and sell peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. While not a complex product, you want to ensure the quality is consistent. So you decide to create and follow a recipe when making your sandwiches. First you need to consider the bread. Wheat or white? You decide on wheat. But wait, this decision requires further analysis. What kind of wheat should the bread be made from — whole white wheat or regular red wheat? And what about the composition? Should it be 100% whole wheat or a multigrain mixture? You stop to consider the peanut butter: Should it be smooth or crunchy? Should it be all-natural or include sweeteners? Should it be made from 100% peanuts or include other oils? You’re exhausted and you haven’t even tackled the jelly yet. 

What does this achieve?
Needless to say, setting specifications for the components used to manufacture your product line can seem pretty daunting. As illustrated in the above example, you need to consider several options for eachcomponent when setting a specification. Ultimately, though, you’re trying to answer this simple question: “What am I looking for when my component material arrives at my door?”
In structural insulated panels (SIPs), the most basic configuration uses an insulating core sandwiched by two relatively thin sheets of facing material. Keep in mind, however, that several different materials can be used for each of these components. 
But before you go running for the hills, here are some general guidelines regarding what to look for in SIP components:
o   Facing: Structural properties (bending strength and stiffness, compressive/tensile strength and stiffness), durability, dimensional tolerances and storage or handling instructions.
o   Core: Physical properties (density, load resistance, insulating factor (r-value), water vapor permeance or water absorption), dimensional tolerances and limits of use (such as limits on compression loads or deflection during use in manufacturing).
o   Adhesive (when applicable): Compatibility between facing and core materials, application/clean-up instructions, load capacity (short and long duration) and durability. 
Already done
In many cases, the specifications related to product performance are met by component manufactures through a product certification stamp or label. For example, oriented strand board (OSB) is a common facing material used in SIPs. OSB manufactured by a mill that’s a member of the APA–The Engineered Wood Association will include a mark of quality on every board. The mark references various standards, such as Voluntary Product Standard PS 2 to which the product complies. The standard is the answer to your question of compliance; the mark on the product is proof of that compliance. This standard may not exist for all components, so you’ll want to talk with your suppliers to obtain relevant information about their product for your consideration.

Peace of mind
Among other benefits, an important outcome of setting specifications for the components used to manufacture your SIPs is that youknow the materials coming in your door today met the same requirements as the batch that arrived yesterday. 

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