We recently finished up some Tube Steel ¾” X ¾” X .065″ WALL 6063-T52 ALUM bent into a double 90° configuration to a 3¼” inside radius. These curved steel parts will be used for seat frames on small airplanes. We do a number of parts for the aviation and aerospace industries including hydraulic lines, exhaust lines, exterior structural parts and interior support elements like the seat frames pictured below.
After many years of consideration, we determined it was the right time to move our shop workers into personal digital devices and start “working smarter.” The initial desire was to have workers get rid of the old, antiquated paper time card system and move to a better digital solution. What evolved was a very powerful personal digital device that shares a wealth of information internally and externally. Some highlights include:
1. Picture Vault. Operators have the ability to take pictures of a customer’s project during various phases of production and easily upload those pictures for sharing with the customer via our website. 2. Time cards. We no longer fill out paper time cards or punch a clock. Workers are able to apply time automatically to orders and machines with a simple click of the button. All of the time is automatically tied into our job costing and payroll system avoiding double entry and extra handling of paper time cards. 3. Daily and Weekly Schedules are now available for all workers on their personal device, instead of being on a central computer that all workers had to walk to. 4. MTR’s are now available for workers to review for all jobs that require heat numbers to be verified and transferred. 5. Internet allows workers to access our Bending Calculators page and use our powerful bending calculators to help with daily math. 6. Email is available to certain workers that have Albina email accounts to allow for documented communication between workers. 7. Scientific calculators are available to all workers. 8. Access to Albina’s vast library of tooling. 9. Access to saved production notes for repeat parts. 10. Access to setup pictures that can be zoomed to get a detailed view of what is required. 11. Ability to preview a work order without tracking down printed paperwork. 12. Access to a company wide vacation schedule so workers know when vacation time is coming up and when vacation time is available. 13. Ability to preview a purchase order and receive a purchase order. 14. Ability to update job status and mark when parts are complete in real time. 15. Performance Review. Each worker has the ability to review production productivity and production efficiency percentages weekly, monthly and annually.These personal digital devices have become very powerful tools for our workers and certainly help with efficiency. We continue to strive to be an industry leader with innovative, “out of the box thinking.”
In addition to bending, Albina can assist its customers by providing added processes to materials we handle. Many value-added processes can be included with our scope of work allowing our customers to receive turn key parts. Whether the parts are rolled, or standard straight sections, we are here to help. Albina has countless pieces of fabrication equipment allowing us to provide complete parts whenever required. Our talented fabrication personnel and equipment can reduce a customer’s lead-time and overall cost by handling some fabrication processes in house.
Albina employs several full-time welders and fabricators that carry various welding certs from AWS to fit the various needs of our customers. Our fabricators can weld steel, aluminum, stainless and copper nickel materials. We have MIG, TIG and Stud welding abilities in most of these materials. In addition to being able to weld, our fabricators and equipment allow us to add production cut (CNC), precision CNC trim (saw or plasma), punch/drill holes, CNC plasma cut holes (round, square, diamond, triangle and oval), rollbead ends of round material, flare ends of round material (37° and/or 45°), cope (manually and CNC) up to 6” OD material, split and taper both wide flange and HSS sections, cope T,K and Y connections in round and square materials, and thread or tap items.
Albina continues to grow and evolve as a full-service shop. We have invested in CNC technology over the years to provide repeatable quality parts. Many of the secondary processes we offer customers can be performed using manual processes (for smaller quantity runs) or CNC processes (for larger quantity runs). We are constantly adding to our capabilities and capacities. Please contact sales or estimating if you have specific questions regarding our ability to assist with your next project.
If we can’t do it….we know who can. The industrial area of Tualatin where our facility is located is home to many businesses that can assist with the needs of your project. We have developed some very close-knit ties with local vendors allowing us to partner up and service all of your needs. External services such as laser cutting, hot dip galvanizing, sandblasting, painting, powder coating and precision machining are all within a mile of our facility.
I often take time at the beginning of each new year to reflect on some cool projects we have done over the years and to make sure that we get those out to the digital world and share them with steel enthusiasts. One of the coolest art projects we have been a part of was the “Molecule” by Larry Kirkland for Winona State University in Minnesota.
Albina rolled 200, 12 foot lengths of ½” SOLID ROUND 6061-T6 Aluminum to net 133 full circles. Our customer then trimmed and fabricated the “Molecule” complete.
Another Awarding Winning Project in the books for Albina Co., Inc. “The Spheres” have received the AISC 2019 IDEAS2 Presidential Award for Excellence in Fabrication! Albina bent 750,000# and 1,050 pieces rectangular tube steel bent the easy way and a portion bent off-axis for this project. Almost 8 miles of welding work and grinding was avoided because of Albina’s ability to bend a portion of the project. Almost NO correction was needed during fabrication or erection as the bends fit to the fixtures within 1/32nd of an inch! Numerous Pacific Northwest businesses collaborated to make The Spheres possible. Way to Go Team & Congratulations!
The Albina Co., Inc. team recently spiraled a true HSS stair stringer to a very tight configuration for a spiral staircase project in Washington. The project consisted of using an induction heat source, on our custom made bending equipment, to spiral bend tube steel 16″ X 12″ X .625″ WALL A500 GR B the easy way to a 77” Center Line Radius. VERY TIGHT and VERY IMPRESSIVE! Great work team!
Albina Co., Inc., located outside Portland, Oregon, has been providing customers with innovative, quality curved steel services and products since 1939. A family owned and operated, third generation business, run by Brian Smith, specializes in structural steel, tube and pipe bending, plate rolling and fabrication. Albina produces virtually any metal component that needs to bend or curve without the use of pre-formed fittings. Albina has provided curved steel for many high-profile buildings, stadiums and structures in the United States and Canada. Albina was the steel bender of choice on the recently completed Amazon Spheres in Seattle,Washington.
Albina is an industry leader in research and development and in 2018, purchased an MCP30 by Davi, the first type of bending machine in the United States with a “iRoll” smart camera system, allowing operators to view the part being bent compared to a radius template on the control screen. The machine has the ability to “learn and remember” how different materials bend, where the rolls need to be positioned, and how much spring back is associated with a bend / material.
Albina also purchased a Bend-Tech Dragon A400 Plasma Cutter, a commercial grade CNC tube cutting ,engraving, and marking machine with the world’s most powerful CAD/CAM software. Other new equipment included new welders, jib cranes, induction heating coils, an electric forklift and 40 sets of tooling.
Albina was an instrumental player in the development of the first ever Design Guide of its kind in the United States offering information on the fabrication, design and detailing of curved members. Design Guide 33 “Curved Member Design” was released in October 2018 by the AISC Bender/Roller committee and is an invaluable resource for the industry!
Albina not only has one of the newest, most technologically advanced machines on the market, Albina also has one of the oldest, custom made bending machines ever created! In honor of the 80th Anniversary, Albina created a museum on site, called “The Smith-sonian”, honoring the family name and housing one of the first ever pieces of equipment that Albina owned and used to bend materials. Brian’s grandfather built the“Model-T” bending machine in the early 1940’s utilizing the transmission and differential from a “Model-T” Ford. This machine was used until the 1990’s to bend various materials such as pipe, tube, and square and rectangular hollow structural steel. “The Smith-sonian” is ready for visitors. Cheers to 80 Years!
With every New Year comes excitement about the anticipation of what is to come, but also a bit of caution as to what may lie ahead. That is why we took two New Year’s pictures this year as a family! We must stick to what we know to keep our family and business strong, but we must also have the fortitude to take a leap when a project or challenge comes our way. The uncertain economic and social times we live in pose challenges each and every day, but I am confident in the companies we partner with, the people we work with, and the projects we invest in. Maintaining a strong steel industry, just like raising a strong family, is a collaborative effort. All hands on deck! Lets work together to get through these uncertain times and come out stronger on the other end!
And with every New Year comes reflection about the year prior. 2018 was one for the record books as we worked on many exciting curved steel projects. Albina was fortunate to team up with some great fabricators on a massive project in California this last year. The project (to be named at a later date) consisted of 100’s of trucks, thousands of pieces and millions of pounds of bent steel. This was the largest project Albina has processed to date and we look forward to working on more projects that have this level of complexity and excitement in 2019, the 80th Anniversary of our company!! Cheers to 80 Years!