Southern Air Construction Artists
Brainstorming happens every day at Southern Air and good ideas can blossom with as little as a pen and a bar napkin. When customers build a new facility, renovate an industrial plant, or install a new manufacturing line, they have some type of process needing mechanical and electrical systems to function. Maximizing revenue-generating space takes priority, often leaving little room for mechanical and electrical utility equipment.
This is where the true value of a modular process skid comes into play. Skids contain process systems within a frame and built off-site in places like Southern Air’s Fabrication Facility. Skids allow mechanical equipment to be packaged in a way that capitalizes on limited spaces. Our engineers, designers and tradespeople create skids full of chill and hot water systems, boilers, buffer tanks, pumps, reverse osmosis water systems, stainless steel pipes, breakers and electrical systems. From the bar napkin to fully functioning mechanical systems shipped to your door is a delicate process, and one Southern Air has mastered.
“We are solutions people,” says Greg Graham, Southern Air Mechanical Vice President. “In the space the customer gives us, let’s see how innovative and creative we can be as solutions people to come up with a design, apply good engineering and product installation practices.”
Our engineers collaborate with customers to understand their process and develop a piping and instrumentation diagram. The 2D drawing includes major equipment, proper orientation, and how these systems will integrate within their business. Once our engineers determine the most efficient way to lay out the skids, we move get into 3-deminisional space with our Building Information Modeling Department.
“My favorite is the challenge of making something that isn’t supposed to fit well in a space and making it look like a piece of art,” says Wayne Harris, Southern Air BIM Manager. “We’re not artist but we definitely can be a little more creative with how things are laid out. There’s a method to the madness and a reason why things are the way they are.”
Harris’ team converts 2D conceptions and basic 3D sketches into full-blown 3-deminsional drawings. Using CAD software like REVIT and NAVISWORKS, we provide our fabrication shop with overhead plans, material lists, spool sheets as well as isolation drawings, singling out specific parts of the build. The equipment installed on the skid relies on elevation references from the floor. This allows our tradespeople to accurately assemble, weld and install the equipment to specifications.
“Then we turn these highly skilled tradespeople loose and they do their work,” says Graham. “These guys are like magicians, the beauty of some of their workmanship, it’s unbelievable! These guys are highly skilled craftspeople you just can’t find. The ductwork, the conduit, the piping – it’s absolutely beautiful.
“They are construction artists. That’s exactly what they are.”