When you are in the development phase of a new product, you have to think outside the box. Or just rebuild it entirely!
Tool Development for the Manufacturing
One of the problems we were having was welding the pans together with out metal distortion. The extruded pan has a seam down the middle where the two halves are joined making the complete 22" wide shelving pan. Aluminum hates too much heat and will warp, twist, and distort itself when welding it. Usually, the metal that is being welded is clamped down to a table with various clamping devices, which is what we were doing, but this method took too much time. So, I invented a special welding table designed specifically for the welding of the seam with speed and proficiency in mind. The table has a thick plate of aluminum for the surface that is "perfectly true" (i.e. flat) that aids in absorbing the heat. The table is equipped with an adjustable bridge that glides up and down the length of the table with a screw vice and adapter that presses down on the pan's seam while it is being welded. The process is begin stitch welding the seam at one end and move the bridge down the length of the pan as you continue to join the two halves together. Sorry, I can't show you any pics of the table; this tool would be great for many other welding applications and mine is the first of it's kind. So it is going to be another patent project in the near future - keep watching for more information on this!