A visit to Ash & Lacy’s main production plant, our students saw a range of production methods with aluminium composite material (acm), perforated sheeting and solid aluminium. A few key considerations to apply to the project development are:
The manufacturer’s do promote recyclable elements in their products, particularly with the remaining burs from the perforated sheets. There are opportunities to use this factor with one of the driving concepts to production show – recycle and reuse.
Finishing of the material can be applied in a number of ways – powder coating or anodising. Mica can be added to powder coating process to simulate a metallic finish.
Aluminium expands at approximately 1mm per 1m of material. All fixings should provide tolerances to avoid imperfections to the material finish during long exposure to temperature fluctuations as the metal expands and contracts.
The material sheet in its raw state has a minute directional difference which means any finish application is applied in one direction. This effect is similar to velvet when stroked in opposing directions.
The next stage for students to follow is developing initial physical prototypes using aluminium samples from the factory visit. The task is to define a process of combining the existing scaffolding with new interchangeable elements and the interface between an existing permanent and new transitional system of fixing.