Behind the scenes at SBD member company Asgard
Asgard Steel Storage design and manufacture steel sheds and metal storage units from their facility in West Yorkshire, many of which have achieved the rigorous requirements of Secured by Design’s Police Preferred Specification.
Asgard can draw on a wealth of metal fabrication experience with a long history of engineering and manufacturing excellence. Asgard is a division of Flexiform Business Furniture Limited, a leading UK manufacturer and supplier of steel storage systems for almost 50 years - and one of only 6 GPS (Government Procurement Services) appointed companies in the UK.
Christopher Raby, one of Asgard’s longest serving engineers, takes pride in working on the manufacturing side of things and takes us behind the scenes to explain what goes in to making these sheds.
Asgard Steel sheds are made from sheet steel. How do you design them so they don't flex?
We design them with added folds and interlocking joints. Strategically positioned stiffeners create rigid panels particularly when parts are screwed together. This makes them solid units, which is why our sheds are a popular choice for people who want something that has the strength of a building, rather than an everyday wooden or plastic shed. This construction method has helped us to achieve the much coveted Secured by Design Police Preferred Specification.
How do you design the kits so they can be easily self-assembled?
Although there are a lot of fixings, we have designed the product to generally only use three types of screw. Self-tapping (PZP) screws are used for fitting the panels together, countersunk machine screws are used for the fitting of doors and self-cutting masonry screws are used for securing units to floors. This keeps tools required for the assembly to an absolute minimum and simplifies the build. Every shed is supplied with fully illustrated instructions showing the build step by step and detailing part numbers, screw types and quantity required at each stage of the build.
How do you ensure the storage is secure?
Each of our LPCB and Secured by Design sheds have been through a controlled rigorous testing procedure. The sheds are attacked, with numerous tools, over fixed time periods. This includes the pick and drill resistant Euro profile lock, which is used on most of our products. Asgard sheds feature interlocking joints, security tags and strategically positioned stiffeners around doors and attack points, all of which helps to maintain the strength and integrity of the storage.
What is the first thing that happens when the metal arrives at the factory?
Asgard are a fully accredited ISO 9001 company, so everything we do is in line with our Company Operating Procedure. Raw materials, i.e. the sheet steel, is booked into stock and stored on racks ready to be loaded onto the punching / bending machines as required. A fully automated MRP (materials requirement planning) system then “calls off” materials as they are needed.
What other steps are there to form the metal into the parts?
Once loaded onto the punch stations, the sheet steel is punched to form the blank that will become the panel or part when folded. The finished blank has all the holes, corner notches etc. that will allow the panel to be folded to the required design. Larger components are generally folded on one of our folding machines. One is manually loaded with single blanks whilst the other much larger machine can be loaded with a pallet of blanks. The finished folded component is then unloaded at the end of the process. Some parts are complete at this stage and are ready for powder painting, others however form part of assemblies. When several parts are brought together in our fabrication department these parts are generally, riveted, spot welded or welded or all three depending on the part. Once complete these will then go to our powder plant. Smaller components tend to be manually folded.
How is the steel protected from the weather?
All Asgard sheds are made from galvanised steel. Each of the panels are washed and pre-treated with a phosphate rust inhibiter before polyester powder painting. This makes Asgard sheds weather proof and durable and of course a great place to store things like electrical gardening equipment, lawnmowers, bikes, and whatever else you can think of that needs to be protected from the elements.
The newspapers like to tell us about the rise of the robots, do you see a future where Asgard sheds are made entirely by robots?
The automated folding machine is already essential in the manufacturing process, enabling more volume, shorter lead times and excellent quality and consistency. The diversity of the products that we manufacture however means that dedicated robot lines for welding corners at the moment would be extremely costly and not practical to set up. We have seen them in operation however, so never say never.
You can find out more about Asgard and their extensive range of SBD recognised products here: https://www.securedbydesign.com/member-companies/sbd-members?view=companydetail&account=0011i00000JpvznAAB