Dave, you brought me over to a different
area here to see the walls being built. Where are we now? – We are at our climate
controlled lamination shop. Let’s head in! – Perfect! – We are at the Outdoors RV
Manufacturing plant in La Grande, Oregon. This is part two of the Outdoors RV
factory tour in which Dave, the director of manufacturing shows us how the walls
are made. And Matt even gets hands-on with one part of the process. If you
haven’t seen part one of the factory tour, watch that first. You can find the link
in the video description. – We ‘ve just walked through the door there and I see
a load of.. what, aluminum going on here? What am I looking at? – Well we have
finished product. These are slide-out end walls which all product when we after we
glue it is a 24 hour cure. The first 20 minutes is 80% cure but we want a
hundred percent cure before we let it go out into a non climatized environment. – So you bring the raw materials in here. This is kind of a
holding zone for those to acclimate.
– Yes. – Make the walls and then let them sit
here again but at least 24 hours before they leave. – Correct. Because raw materials have
to acclimate to this building for a minimum of 48 hours so it’s at room
temperature when we laminate it so you have no delam issues. – Gotcha.
– I bet this building is like the most popular the staff in winter when it’s
super cold outside – Absolutely!
– and it’s really nice and warm in here. – Yeah we have
employees that wear shorts in the winter and they like their job. – I bet. It’s really
nice in here. – Yeah. This is where the sidewalls and rear sections begin, as raw
materials, as you can see. Right here this aluminum has been acclimated in our
warehouse. They brought it in. And they will start milling it to print. This is
our aluminum mill. He’ll take the raw stocks off of these e-racks, take
it there, he has a print list, he cuts it to print and then he will bundle it and
put it on the roll carts for the next run that we’re doing. We always try to
stay two runs ahead so nothing gets rushed and missed.
– Yeah. – Okay. You can see
that this aluminum has been milled and it’s being bundled. They do separate it
in different stacks because again I mentioned that all our
sidewalls have wood filling in them for the leg points for that second bite
that we need to keep our stuff super strong and try to
stay ahead of some of the competition. – So what comes in here as raw product? Just
extruded aluminum and foam and wood paneling. When it leaves here it is
completed wall sections ready to go. – Correct.
– And that puts out all the
window cutouts and everything in there. – Yes. Once it’s laminated we’ll go
through the CNC process where we make a laminated substrate look like a trailer.
– That’s awesome and you’re kind of, fairly.., you know what’s going on in here, right?
Because I hear you designed this entire building.
– Yes, I did. – Why don’t you
continue the journey and show us what’s next.
– Let’s go! Talking raw materials, this is all our wood fill right here that has
gone through our wood mill, cut to length and dimension. – And what type of wood is this? What are you using? – We use different
substrates for wood fill. On the floor, with the floor only being a one inch
tube, we run plywood in there. You take a one inch piece of wood and you
run a screw in it, you have a potential split. – Yeah.
– That’s why we use plywood
down there. – Okay.
– You can get our screw spacing, which we like to have 12
to 9 inches, without splitting that wood and losing your second anchor point.
– Gotcha. And what ab out in the walls? – In the walls we do use pine.
– Pine. That’s cool. So this wood goes inside.
– Inside these tubes on, not on every tube, just the wood fill tube. Right here you can see
that the wood fill for that second anchor point it’s going. This is in a slide-out back wall.
– And so when the screw comes in, it will bite not just
into this but into the wood inside. – Correct. Two anchor points. Electrolysis
don’t have a chance when we do that. If it does, we’re still locked into the wood. – So I see a lot of different units here that all are very similar. They’ve been
clamped together I guess. – Yes. We stack weld. If we went one frame at a time it
isn’t as efficient. By stacking it we can build, the bottom one is a jig and he’s
building one, two, three, four, five front sections at once. – He get’s them really carefully lined up and then just goes in welds the whole lot. – Correct. And the
bottom one is a jig. It’s gonna be built like the actual product and then you’re
just stacking above the proper tube. And then you just piece it
together like a puzzle and then weld. And we do full welds.
– Not just spot weld, a full weld down the seams. – Correct. On the interior seems we do.. We’ve been
asked why don’t we weld this position here. In the lamination process, if
you welded on the front or back, when you leave the sheathing on it, that’s going
to act like a temt post, so from your tent post out you’re going to have a
certain portion that you have no adhesion. We want a hundred percent. Okay, one thing I didn’t mention on this aluminum. When we do get it, it goes through an acid bath. A lot of extruded product they’re using a
lubricant on it to run it through the dyes. Well, after that process they
do run this through an acid bath for etching and we need that etching to increase the
dyeing level which is a both potential for adhesion so we get a good bite
on the gluing process. On the gluing process, when the glue hits
aluminum, yes. Now the other thing, we take a second step which we’ll go through
later, is we also do a hand acid wash before we laminate too. Because in this
process a lot of people have touched with their bare hands and the oil of
their skin will contaminate the potential for adhesion in that finger
play. – So it gets totally cleaned down so then when the laminate goes over the top, it
completely adheres all the way across. – Correct. One thing that you notice
is we run grid tables and the reason for that, that we did cover there, is
after they stack, they have to clamp that to keep everything flush before they weld
and that’s why these are grid tables so it allows us to get a clamp down
there and clamp those items together. – And what are we looking at here? These look like they are welded in a stack. – These ones, are actually welded
side by side because the weld points are so close together. If those were stacked,
the bottom one you couldn’t get the nozzle for the welder down in there to
weld that particular item. And what that item is, is that is a
skirt that goes below the slide-out floor. – I have you got a good bulk discount on clamps.
– Yeah, we go through a bunch. – I bet!
– Right here this employee is building a roof truss and everyone asks where does that roof truss go? If
we look at this A frame cart behind it, that’s the actual rear section and that
with us went in the trolley roof we have to have that roof truss incorporated in
and we went with aluminum on the rear section rather than wood.
– And he just bends that aluminum across – Correct. – And then welds it in place.
– Yes. – I guess what I’m looking at here is a stack of sidewalls and I’m guessing this is the foam that goes inside them.
– Yes man, it is. This is a completed sidewall. Once, it’ll go through
the wood fill process too. The rear section goes against this. The screw will
be lagged into this. That is a reason we would filll this. That is pine. Again with
the top.. which this unit is upside down when we run it through our process.
This wood fill again is pine for the roof. – So then the screws come in and they
bite really hard into that wood inside. – Correct. On the floor because we use that thinner
stick this is where we actually use 5/8 plywood in there so we don’t have any wood splitting.
– And then the screws would go in from this side?
– They’re actually leg bolts. They’re four inch lag bolts that go up through the floor into the wall.
– Wow. And then this foam I’m guessing is gonna
fill the cavity on here. Tell me about this foam.
– Okay, one thing that I will mention is we don’t use any recycled product. Our aluminum is virgin
aluminum. Likewise, we don’t use recycled foam because we want a density of
two pounds on our walls for integrity because that’s really the
heart, the nucleus of our wall. – So this is not lightweight stuff then. This is
pretty heavy is it? – Yes it’s very heavy. You can see it’s
really dense. It’s a two-pound, inch and a half and again this is not
recycled foam, it’s virgin foam. – Can I try to lift one of these?
– Absolutely! That’s got some weight to it.
That is not packing foam or something. – Not at all.
– That’s serious. – Yeah. It has some weight but it is lighter than a
wood wall. – Oh yeah, definitely.
– And a lot better insulating as well.
– Yes. yes the insulation value.. – How well does is insulate? How good is the insulation here? – The best way
I can describe it is we’ve all drink coffee out of a cup. If you can take the
coffee cup, polystyrene cup, that is 1/8
to 3/16 in thickness and you can sit there and hold it with 212
degree water in it and it’s not scolding you. That should give you some of the
insulation reflective value. – And this is even better quality foam and it’s a long thicker than a coffee cup.
– That’s correct. This is one of the frames we just looked
at. It’s getting ready to flip over on the table to get the pre-cut insulation
stuffed in all the empty quadrants. – So this is the entire sidewall on the trailer,
from end to end, there aren’t multiple walls here? – Correct. It’s a one-piece.
Some things that we do to increase the dyeing level which again is potential
for adhesion is certain areas we will also sand and then we will wipe down
with an anodyne acid to increase that bonding value.
– And then when these are ready they flip these over? – Yes, they’ll flip them over onto the table.
Which they then here, they will take the foam that has been cut for each
quadrant and they will install that foam. What they do is they’ll make a whole
stack of just foam because then they have adhesive that they have to
deal with so they don’t have a glued up mess. They’ll work down and what
the working down is they’re putting that electro galvanized metal on the coach
which you can say see is the shape of our cabinets. That is the tie-in plates
for all our cabinets. We tie everything from the inside out on a laminated wall.
– So then when you put the screws in to attach the cabinets to the walls, the
aren’t just going to foam, the screws are actually going into the aluminum and then the foam.
– Correct. They’re going through the wall board and then a
second anchor point which we need is that electoral galvanized steel stripping.
– Oh, and it’s steel, not aluminum. – No, leaving it’s steel. – I keep saying aluminum.
– Yeah. The steel: two things that it does for us 1) it’s a stronger anchor point than
aluminum and 2) we can, once that wall is assembled you cannot see that bonderizer,
that makes it capable we can run a magnet along the wall and in search out
where that bonderizer is located. – Gotcha. But these pieces are aluminum, right?
– Yup. – It’s just the strips that are steel? – Corect. And this is a
slide-out opening there’s no foam in it because that will be routed out and all
these are is a brace to keep our slide out opening square. What they’re doing
now is they’re taping that foam in because when you’re going from a
horizontal to vertical back to horizontal if that foam falls out it’s
chaos. They have seven minutes from when they start the lamination process
to where to they finish the pinch process. That tape helps hold that foam
in when we go to lay the glued wall board on that tape will be
removed because our lamination strength is only as strong as adhesive on that
tape so it will all be removed and disposed up.
– This is just temporary? – It’s just temporary, just to hold the foam in. A lot of times – anytime we hang a TV we don’t depend on just the bonderizer.
We’re gonna actually laminate 3/4 plywood in that wall.
– Oh, really? So where
the TV mount would be, it’s actually not even a steel sheet, it’s an actual piece of plywood. – It’s actually 3/4 plywood.
– Wow. – The TV’s with them hanging on the wall and going down
the road, we need that something that’s more rigid that’s gonna ensure you don’t
have a TV on the floor. – So then you’d screw through the wood panel a little bit of foam, then into plywood? – It actually goes from the wood panel, the plywood will be
layered to where it’s against the panel. – Gotcha.
– Yes. – And then here we have I think the panel is now moving over and about to get stacked. – Yes. Now they’re flipping that wall again. It’ll be right side up to where it can go over
to the lamination table. – So those walls then are structurally really strong but
they are still light enough that three people can lift and move them on their own.
– Yes. In the lamination, once we bond that that rigidity will increase significantly. One thing I might mention here is we can see that the foam wall has these lines on it.
What they do is they’re forming these, they laid a carpeted jig on that has
slots in it. They’ll take a felt marker and draw these lines. That tells
them the centerline of their bonderizer where they will install it. The
bonderizers are adhered with high-temp, high-strength spray adhesive. – And that’s the spray adhesive going on now?
– Yes. – And then the people working here, do they work as kind of teams?
– Absolutely! Teamwork is crucial. – How long will one team kind of work
together for? Do they stay on? Is this team always in this area?
– Yes. This team is on the foam install crew and they will stay there, usually throughout their
career unless they’re looking for advancement and they will be looked
at for that. Okay, Matt. This is this is what we call a harp saw. This is how we
mill the foam. – Okay. I’ve milled the foam with saws but you
get all the little pebbles. If that gets in your lamination process it can’t
pulse it’s not good. We cut everything with a heated wire. And this again is a harp
saw. Why don’t you give it a try and see the simplicity of it? – Wow, I’ve been really impressed with how tight-fitting the foam is over there. I’m going to do this on some scrap that I think. It’s probably safer. So then I latch that from there.. And then.. that comes onto there.. – That’s just an armature wire with a DC
voltage in it to where it heats up and then it melts right through the
extruded styrofoam. – and then back up. – And then loop that around, like that. And then I should have.. Look at that! I did it! What do you think? – Nice, clean cut!
– It is! That’s a really clean cut. That’s really smooth. [Diana] Foolproof! – Just about, just about!
– Good job Matt. – Thank you! So Dave, we’ve seen the stack of walls get
assembled now. What’s next? – The next process is, they will shift over to where
they will actually have the substrates put together through our lamination process.
– Can we take a look? – Absolutely! This is the heart of our system .This is our, how we
apply the thermal hot melt glue to the substrates for assembly. A thermal hot
let is it’s similar to a hot melt gun but this being a hot melt
that’s reactive, it only reacts one time. You can put a you take it from a solid
to a liquid, it will cure back into a solid
unlike glue guns you can actually take a match and reheat the glue. This is a
one-time deal. What we depend on in this is A) temperature, that’s why it’s
climate-controlled and B) humidity, humidity is a catalyst that activates
the glue to cure.
– Interesting. – The glue, upon being demanded from the switch will
come out of what they call a platen. We get them in 400 pound drums. It goes up
through these lines and then will go to the application rollers. Okay we’re at
the beginning of the lamination. This is our layout table. What they’re actually
laying up now is a rear section. So what they’ve done, is they took outer sheeting
fiberglass panel. They put it there. They blowed it off. We want no dust particles
killing the glue, so they are blowing that off. And what they’re gonna end up doing
we’ll watch they’re gonna call for some panels. The application rolls will apply
the poly hot melt in a thin film which we try to get around 12 grams
per square foot. Here comes one now. They got their alignment points.
That’s a luan sheeting, double-coated because it’s got to stick to the filon
and the frame. They feed that second sheet out. Two four by sheets make
eight foot, now it’s an 8 foot rear section. – And they have to move quickly in this area? because of the time the glue?
– Yeah, have to move quickly because once that sheet that first sheet goes
through they have seven minutes put the last sheet on and run it to the nip roll
at 70 degrees room temperature. We can get a little bit more open time if we
run the temperature up in the room. But the trick is they’re building that eight
foot by 8 foot wall now they have the same amount of time as if they build in
a 30-foot wall to get the substrates on. Now they’re setting the
frame of the rear section. They’re removing that masking tape as we want our
bond against the frame and the bonderizer not against masking tape.
When you see them leaving, they there actually unloading off into these
tables which I might give you a little background on it. There’s blowers on
these tables and there’s perforated and act like an air hockey table to where
they can move that item without A) scratching it and B) a bunch of strain
on their back. He’s laying a paper up on the top there.
That’s because they’ll put foam in there. That overhanging if it
gets pinched you have to have that foam in there to get a full pinch on it
so you have no deal am at the top, on the edge. Now they’re putting the wall
board on. This gluing process unlike a lot of gluing process is you don’t have
to glue A and B, you only have to glue A. Then this particular rear section
will go through a nip roll that puts 8,000 pounds per square inch of pressure
to transfer the glue line from A, the wall board, to B the foam and frame.
– So then this press here, that’s the heat press just adhered all those together.
– Correct. That’s how you get your glue transfer. – And they gonna slide things down here
and stack them up and that’s where they sit for another 24 hours?
– Correct. In our warehouse. Then they’ll go for the line for assembly. That’s
why it’s crucial this building is a minimum of one run ahead of the line.
– So that wall unit now is totally sealed but I’m sensing there’s a problem.
We need to get some windows and doors in here. So how do we do that?
– Well come down I’ll show you. Okay, this is our CNC machine. It’s kind of unique in CNC’s because it’s 1- foot wide and 45 feet long.
– It’s huge! – Right now there’s routing the windows in the slide-out end walls.
What they are doing is you have to have a zero zero point, the computer. Once you
line up that it sees everything on the table and then it’s just a push of a
button. – And how does it cut the holes? What’s it using to cut those with?
– It’s actually using a carbide double edge bit.
– So with
all these wall sections ,you’re cutting these pieces out. What do you do with the
leftovers? – Some of them will actually be used in the trailer as a component such
as under your dinette cushions. That panel that’s under the cushion?
– Correct. – That once was one of my windows?
– Yes. That was once of your windows. What he’s going to do, is on this next one, about every fourth route-out they do a
pull test on them. And that’s what I’m gonna have him do.
– And what does that mean? What do they do for a pull test?
– It’s actually, they will try to separate the glue to see how good an adhesion we got on the product. – Even though it was only just done a few minutes ago? It’s already strong enough?
– Absolutely. It’s strong enough for a pull test about 15 minutes after
gluing process because you have 80% of your adhesion is complete.
– Wow. – What he’s doing, he’s actually
putting a putty knife in there to start that panel to tear. What he’s looking for There. We have a hundred percent adhesion. – And we know that because the foam itself is still stuck. It’s actually the foam that
fell apart, not the foam bonded to.. – Yeah, there’s no shiny spots. If
you notice, when that glue comes out of the machine it shiny.
Now it has that dull color that’s because that is foam that’s actually
stuck to the glue line. – Wow. – We test that for potential of delam, we
try to eliminate it. If we end up having something that it turned out the red
flag goes up. During our process of lamination we record what unit of luan,
what lot number of glue. That way we can find which component is failing and we
can eliminate it off our lines, so we kill it then.
– And how often do you do these tests? – These pull tests, they’ll be done about every
fourth route out on the end walls. On the trailer we do on a full sidewall we’re
gonna do the front, the middle, and the rear section. Because the front was the
first panel, and the last panel is at the rear and then we also test the
middle. – Wow! On every single?
– Every wall. Every wall.
– Wow. – Every side wall we check front, back and middle.
– So when it leaves here you know it’s bonded, you know it’s.. – That’s correct. – In the third and
final part of this Outdoors RV factory tour we will see how the rest of the trailer
is built. If you’re new here, this was Matt and Diana and you’re watching
Adventurous Way channel. We are on a quest to visit all four hundred-plus National
Park Units and we’re doing it by living full-time in our Outdoors RV 21 RBS
travel trailer. Subscribe to see part three of the factory tour and more
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