As the leading material in the industry for hot water cylinders due to its strength, reliability and high resistance to corrosion, stainless steel has a reputation to uphold. However, one of the key techniques in ensuring that stainless steel performs to the best of its ability is the manufacturing process. So, how do Gledhill provide you with a premium stainless steel cylinder that’s also the lightest on the market?
Various manufacturers of hot water cylinders still continue to produce copper cylinders, which itself takes skilled and experienced coppersmiths that understand the unique copper making process. However, stainless steel has become the more innovative and cost efficient path in meeting the hot water demands of homeowners, meaning different tools, machinery, skills and manufacturing processes are required to ensure top quality systems.
Quality, innovation and reliability are at the heart of what Gledhill do, which is why Gledhill’s Manufacturing Centre of Excellence for Stainless Steel is dedicated to all aspects of stainless steel manufacture, where their flagship product the StainlessLite Plus range is produced and consistently reviewed to ensure continuous advancement within the hot water industry.
Consisting of over 100 employees, the central Gledhill factory begins its stainless steel manufacturing process by sourcing sheets of LDX2101 Duplex Stainless Steel in various sizes and light weights for the cylinder bodies. The steel is then efficiently placed through multiple production processes using both manual and automated methods.
The first step begins with an automated punch machine, where the fabricator ensures that the steel sheet is punched with the required holes to meet the measurements and positions of the tappings. These tapping areas are then bossed and the sheet is rolled to create the cylinder shape of the main body, which the fabricator then welds at the seams and the bossed areas.
Like Gledhill’s copper cylinders, the top and base of the cylinder are obtained from a spinning centre that specialises in shaping sheets of stainless steel into circular sections, specifically domed to facilitate the high pressure of the StainlessLite Plus unvented range, or the lower pressure of a vented cylinder. The fabricator is then able to use a unique manual technique, established by Gledhill manufacturers, to guarantee a strong and durable weld of the top and base to the cylinder body.
Following the application of the tappings, coil and immersions etc, the stainless steel cylinder undergoes a revolutionary circumferential welding procedure, producing a flush neat weld. This completes the cylinder’s inner body, which is submerged in water to be leak tested, promising a strong and reliable product. The acid pickling process is then carried out to ensure the stainless steel provides a strong protection against any corrosion, crevice or stress, before finally moving on to the aesthetics.
Contained within Gledhill’s flagship white StainlessLite casing, the cylinder is nearly complete. The cylinder casing is injected with 50mm of Gledhill’s HCFC Free EnviroFoam insulation to achieve astonishingly low levels of heat loss.
Finally, it is absolutely paramount that the cylinders are subsequently tested thoroughly. Gledhill’s cylinders are all tested to represent their lifespan, with each and every model of the StainlessLite Plus unvented cylinder range placed through a life time test that represents 25 years. To comply with the EN12897 standard, all unvented cylinders must be tested to 20,000 cycles, however Gledhill tests far in excess of this figure, promising customers a product that they can be confident in.
With over 90 years’ experience manufacturing hot water cylinders, Gledhill’s precision, innovation and dedicated workforce ensures that each and every stage of the stainless steel production is carried out using expert skills, effective processes and mastered techniques. As a proud leader of British manufacturing within the hot water industry since 1926, Gledhill’s Manufacturing Centre of Excellence for Stainless Steel promises manufacturing expertise and unrivalled cylinder making processes that they continuously strive to develop in order to provide top quality hot water systems.
To find out more about our stainless steel cylinders please click here.