ProLogis, a top global provider of distribution facilities, in partnership with Portland General Electric, a leader in the charge on clean energy in Oregon, decided to add solar panels to the massive roofs atop seven ProLogis warehouses in Portland, Oregon. The panels would supply reliable, clean energy, which Portland General Electric could then distribute to its customers — essentially creating seven mini-power plants for the energy supplier.
Northwest Solar Solutions LLC, a division of Snyder Roofing of Oregon LLC, was hired to install the new roofs and solar panels. To support this green initiative, The Energy Trust of Oregon Inc. provided Portland General Electric with a clean energy rebate for the project.
Large Roof, Short Timeframe
With a timeline of less than four months to re-roof 900,000 square feet, as well as install the solar panels, the ProLogis roofing project was no simple feat. It required a knowledgeable and experienced roofing company, as well as proper roofing equipment. When choosing the tools to complete the job quickly and efficiently, Snyder Roofing already knew where to look to find those of the utmost quality — Swiss manufacturer, Leister Process Technologies.
“I’ve been in the roofing business for 15 years. Though roofers may try tools from other manufacturers, they always end up with Leister because of the quality,” said Josh Strickler, one of the on-the-job foremen for Snyder Roofing. “Leister tools are just built better. They are higher quality and have clearly been tested for their intended use.”
Synergy of Professionalism and Unbeatable Tools
In addition to the re-roofing, the project involved the heat welding of 2,387 10-feet-by-20-feet solar panels to the new roof, which had to be installed one at a time. Snyder Roofing began the job using the Leister VARIMAT V hot-air welding machine, and soon switched to the updated VARIMAT V2 when the new model became available, due to its increased speed and improved controls.
In an effort to work as efficiently as possible, Snyder roofing split its teams into two groups — one responsible for the roofing membrane, and one for the solar panels. It was also running a minimum of three buildings concurrently throughout the project’s duration.
The roofing-membrane team first secured the mechanically attached TPO membrane to the roof in 10,000-squarefoot sections. Then, while they moved on to another section of the roof, the solar-panel team completed the section by individually securing the solar panels.
VARIMAT welding machines were used for all overlap welding of roof sheeting material and solar panels, and Leister’s TRIAC S hand tool was used for detail work.
The major challenge of the project was Oregon’s unpredictable weather during the build — rain interrupted work regularly throughout the undertaking. Since the roofing membrane being installed was fleece-backed, it would absorb rainwater if there were leaks or the surface was not dry. To prevent damage and to keep water from getting underneath the sheeting, Snyder Roofing had to be sure all packages were sealed properly, and open packages were kept dry.
Due to its speed and durability, the VARIMAT V2 helped Snyder Roofing place and weld the roofing membrane and solar panels in a timely manner, despite the weather conditions.
“The VARIMAT V2s took it another step,” said Strickler. “The machine itself goes nearly twice the speed of the original VARIMAT V, with the same amount of power. I could use the same generators, but greatly increase our daily output. When you need to put down a large amount of square footage fast, it makes a huge difference.”
The VARIMAT V2 reached speeds up to 18.5 feet per minute, compared to 11 feet per minute with the VARIMAT V at the start of the project. Welding speed depends on temperature and weather conditions — under ideal conditions, the VARIMAT V2 reaches up to 39 feet per minute.
“Due to the extremely wet weather conditions, I don’t think we could have finished on time without the VARIMAT V2,” said Strickler.
Relying on Leister Tools
Strickler touts the quality, longevity and design of Leister products as what really sets them apart from other roofing tools he has used in the past.
The entire job was completed on time and budget thanks to the hard work of everyone involved, the effective project coordination of Snyder Roofing’s experienced team, and the reliability and efficiency of Leister tools.
Building Owner: ProLogis, Denver, CO, USA, www.prologis.com
Roofers: Snyder Roofing, Tigard, OR, USA, www.snyderroofing.com
Plastic-Welding Equipment: Leister Process Technologies, 6056 Kaegiswil, Switzerland, www.leister.com
Sales and Service Partner: Assembly Supplies, Co., Escondido, CA, USA, www.hotairtools.com
Text: Laurel Miltner, PR 20/20, Cleveland, OH, USA, www.pr2020.com
Images: Steve Garlock, Steve Garlock Equipment, Inc., Portland, OR, USA, www.stevegarlockequip.com; Leister Process Technologies