Proper temperature and humidity aren’t the only important variables for lamination. The lamination team must also ensure that the adhesive itself is the right temperature, the adhesive is applied evenly throughout the material surface, and the lamination process is completed before the adhesive sets.
After checking the facility temperature and humidity, Pascual checks the adhesive temperature on the hot melt lamination applicator and starts the countdown clock. Within seconds he feeds luan plywood through the applicator. Time to get focused, and move fast.
On the other side, the lamination team receives the luan and inspects the adhesive application under a black light. The black light makes the applied adhesive visible as purple light.
As the adhesive applied luan emerges sheet after sheet from the hot melt applicator, the lamination team builds the roof layers on a fifty-foot pinch rolling table. The luan is passed to the team member on the opposite side of the table and placed into position. The sense of urgency against the clock is palpable. No one is talking. Everyone is eyes on task.
Once the roof elements are assembled on the table, the lamination team pushes, and then pulls the roof through the pinch roller. As the name implies, the pinch roller features a heavy cylinder that spans the width of the table and is carefully adjusted to a pre-determined pinch height. As the roof runs under the roller, the roof lamination is pinched together.
The roof is run through the pinch roller three times; forward, back, and forward again. For the second and third pass through, tapered panels are placed on both sides of the roof to give the final roof a specified pitch.
The team doesn’t have enough tapered panels to run the full length of the roof, so they have to place them forward into the roller, and then run them back to the still-running roof. I asked Pascual why they just didn’t have more tapered panels and he said, “It keeps the guys in shape”.
A few moments after the third and final pinch roll, the adhesive in the roof begins to set. A few hours later, depending on outside temperature and humidity, the adhesive sets and the roof is ready to be moved to the main building for routing.
Inside the main building laminations are routed by hand on a V-shaped open table designed to capture the resulting routed-out sections, sawdust, and other debris. In these photos you can see laminated sections being routed, and the resulting routed components; big and small.
The larger laminated components include sidewalls and roofs. In this photograph you can see one of the roof laminations from above being hand routed by Marcelino Dela Torne with a series of jigs on a V-shape routing table.
Almost in the dead center of the main production building, we found Valentine Sanchez tucked away and hard at work building a mountain of drawers.
He was very excited when we asked if we could take his picture. I think the rest of the plant forgets he’s back there, hidden behind his rather impressive output. If anyone from Adventurer Manufacturing is reading this, please check on Valentine now and then.
Above the production floor we discovered Bobby Cantrel creating the wire harnesses. With what looks like up-ended tuning forks, he was weaving a complex network of wire, each color-coded to identify the specific gauge and application.
The materials and elements that go into a finished truck camper are manufactured simultaneously to supply the production line as they are needed. As we have already seen, this process includes everything from the preparation of raw materials to larger components like cabinetry and laminated roofs and sidewalls.