If in the market for industrial ducting, you are probably weighing your options for the various types available, whether to use flanged, spiral, or “clamp together” ducting. What are the differences between these options? Are they not all just conveying air/dust? Does it matter?
Is acquisition price the major decision factor, or is there a case to be made for the total cost associated with the air cleaning system? Price of the duct should be a factor, but you should ensure you factor in all the costs associated with your air cleaning system. Let’s get down to cost. Yes, cost, not price. You see, there is a difference in the price of ducting and the total cost of putting the ducting into service. What is the most expensive asset of any corporation? People. Your human capital is always your highest expense. Does the price difference for Spiral vs. Clamp Together Duct counter-act the total cost, including the additional manpower and time to install?
Installing duct can be a long, tedious and expensive process. Measuring, trimming, bolting, supporting… all while you are going up and down a lift or ladder. Which of the three types of duct is going to be the easiest to install? With flanged/spiral ducting, you will need to take exact measurements and cuts, then weld or Vanstone your flange on the end and bolt the flange to the next piece, which generally requires 6-12 bolts. This is very tedious, exact, unforgiving, and involves numerous moving pieces.
We have found the clamp together system is typically the winner here with generally a 70% faster install time. If you take your measurements, cut the duct close to where you need it, and utilize the adjustable sleeve, you can be off several inches in your cut and still have the right length, as you have 11” to play with. Couple this adjustability with a single clamp to connect one piece to the other and its clamp, then on to the next.
In cases where a shop foreman has an idea that he wants to move or add a machine, clamp together ductwork once again proves the most effective solution. Not only is the duct reusable if you decide to move the whole system, but you can easily install new drops or utilize the adjustability in the duct to change where the duct is running. In addition, you can do all of this without tearing everything down and starting over.
Spiral ducting also has ridges inside the duct. You can run your hands inside the duct and imagine how the air or material will be traveling against those “bumps”. Ridges increase static pressure and allow for catch points, as well as leak points. Ridges capture debris, requiring increased maintenance costs in cleaning out a spiral system significantly more times than you would a clamp together, smooth interior system. Static pressure also affects cost. The additional work the fan must do to compensate for the increased pressure/drag results in higher electric costs, as well as the increased risk of overworking your collector. Over time, this will require more maintenance, and possibly replacement.
At first glance, when comparing side-by-side initial price, spiral duct appears to be the less expensive option. However, when you consider the overall costs and time savings, clamp together duct is the clear winner. If you are looking to update or install a new system, clamp together duct may be the best option for you. We think you will be surprised and your installers will thank you!