An Introduction To Wall Panels
Wall panels are structural building components used in residential and light commercial construction. A wall panel is a conventionally framed wall section which is identical to a custom field framed wall except that it is framed off site in a controlled environment and delivered to your building site just like roof trusses.
Wall panels offer the following advantages over conventional “stick framed’ walls:
The Manufacturing Process
- Wall panels significantly reduce the on- site dry in time. This reduces the exposure of your building materials to weather and gives you a higher quality structure with less chance of problems developing due to rain or snow.
- Wall panels reduce labor costs on site. The WTCA did a comparison of 2 identical homes built side by side. One house was stick framed while the other used structural building components (wall panels, floor trusses, and roof trusses). The study found an overall savings of 16% on the component built home. Specifically the study found a savings of 66.5 hours for the wall panel portion of a 2600 Sq Ft home.
- Wall panels result in a cleaner and safer job site. Waste removal is getting more and more expensive. Wall panels can result in 1 or 2 less dumpster drop fees on a project.
- Wall panels use materials more efficiently. All materials are processed through computerized equipment. Our saws optimize lumber and sheathing resulting in less waste and less materials used.
- Wall panels are easy to set and erect. Two or three people without extensive framing knowledge can easily erect a wall system using wall panels.
- Wall panels are built in a controlled environment. The walls are built indoors on state of the art equipment. All wall components are cut on a computer controlled saw and assembled on computer controlled squaring tables. Walls and openings are square.
- Wall panels are environmentally sound. Framing lumber is a renewable resource. The wall panel manufacturing process insures the most efficient use of the lumber. Sheathing products can be recycled or processed at power plants. CSI Components uses the scrap lumber that we generate to fuel our boiler and heat our facility. Green certified builders gain points by using wall panels.
- The wall panel engineering process insures that all aspects of the home construction are looked at and thought about prior to building. All doors and window opening requirements are verified. Truss drawings are received via email and each truss profile is looked at prior to building walls. We can do CAD overlays to make sure that trusses align with walls and that all bearing points are picked up properly.
- The wall panel system insures a fixed cost to the home owner or builder. A structural component quote is not an estimate like your lumber estimate on a project, it is fixed cost. This helps you stay on budget and eliminate cost overruns.
Wall panel manufacturing utilizes the latest design and processing technology. Our process begins with the input of your wall design into our software. We can either input it manually from your drawings or we can input a CAD layout if you have one. The software allows complete control over all aspects of the wall. There are no walls that we cannot build. Raked walls, tall walls, radius walls are all available within the system.
When the design is complete and approved we export the wall bundles to the plant electronically. All wall components are directed to their proper computer stations for processing. There are no papers used in the process. Each part of the process has a computer terminal or projection screen which displays the information.
All wall components are sent to a computer controlled linear saw. This saw optimizes the materials by bundle and creates a cut list by bundle. The saw is equipped with ink jet printers to automatically mark the wall number and plate layouts on the fly. This saw can cut and print layouts for every part of a normal home in about 2 hours.
Sheathing is sent to a computer controlled 2 axis saw. This saw also optimizes the sheet goods by bundle and cuts all the sheathing required. Pre-cutting the sheathing to fit around the openings with this saw amounts to about a 25% reduction in the number of sheets required for an average project.
Wall bucks, beam pockets and other sub components are nailed at a sub component nailing station. The machine clamps and nails each assembly.
Door and window bucks are nailed up prior to assembly and staged for insertion into the wall panel.
Walls are framed on a framing table. The plates are placed on the table where a computerized stop moves them to attain the proper starting point for the stud layout. Sub components and window/door bucks are inserted and located by the pre printed plate layout. Studs are then inserted into the stud locaters on 16” or 24” centers. The table then clamps all the components and locks them in place. Tool dollies are moved up and down the line to align studs with plates and nail the components together.
Exterior walls are then moved to the sheathing table. The pre cut sheets match the numbers on the computer screen. Walls are moved onto the table where they are clamped square and the sheathing is applied.
Walls are then stacked according to their bundles, nailed up and loaded for shipping.