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New Technology

16 Nov New Imaging Technology for UK Steel Industry

A researcher from the University of Bath has been awarded a new grant to develop an innovative way of assessing a key stage of the production of steel, greatly benefiting the competitiveness of the UK and EU Steel industry.

The shell-thick project will develop an innovative induction tomography system for assessing the solidification process of metal. This new system will significantly improve the continuous casting process of steel by providing a real-time, non-destructive and reliable method of measuring the molten steel to detect any defects or fails as it solidifies and becomes a market product.

The system will form a kind of contactless bracelet around the billet of molten steel and take continuous measurements as the steel solidifies. It will visualise the electrical conductivity of the different states of the solidifying steel and therefore provide an image of the structural composition of the steel as it cools. By enabling industry to continuously monitor and alter the cooling process of steel, this innovative method will improve the quality, safety, productivity, costs and ultimately competitiveness of the UK and EU steel industries.

Induction tomography Is a new and emerging non-invasive imaging technique used in a number of applications including medical diagnostics, geophysical exploration and civil engineering. The EU and particularly UK steel industry is currently in a desperate state and facing widespread job losses due to its inability to compete with the highly subsidised steel industries in China. Steelworks such as the Tata steelworks at Port Talbot are currently in emergency talks to try and prevent the plant closing. It is hoped this technology may help the UK/EU steel industry become more competitive and have greater job security in the long-term future.

The university of Bath works closely with its industrial partners in the UK and across the EU to being innovation to the marketplace, delivering impactful research to industry and society. Dr Manush Soleimanifrom the University of Bath’s Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering has received an EU Horizon 2020 grant to lead this three-year project and will work with colleagues at the Fundación Tecnalia Research & Innovation in Spain as well as Italian steel industry companies Ferriere Nord and Ergolines Lab.

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Powder Coating

19 Oct The Powder Coating Process

Powder coating is used very widely to impact a long lasting, durable and anti-corrosive coating to a wide variety of objects including architectural steel parts, such as railings. It is preferred and specified by many designers because of its attractive finish and wide range of available colours.powder-coating-prices-australia

The most common type consists of a pulverised mix of epoxy resin and plastic polymers with particles anywhere from 5 to about 50 microns thick. When heated to around 150°C, the compound melts and the constituent parts fuse to form solid protective coating over the surface of the object. Because of the way it can be formulated, there are many types of powder and a very wide range of colours.

Once the object to be treated has been completely cleaned of all contaminants (often by shot blasting or soda blasting) it is electrically grounded. The powder is then sprayed on using compressed air and a spray gun that imparts an electrostatic charge to the powder. This causes it to adhere evenly across the surface of the object. The object is then heat cured in an oven or by using infra-red heat in situ. While the compound melts the flows to form a liquid coating at about 150°Cit needs to be cured at 200°C. The duration required for the cure varies from about 10 to 20 minutes depending on the formulation and characteristics of the powder.

Most any metal object can be powder coated, from domestic items to handrails in shopping malls. Two characteristics are mandatory in suitable subjects:

  • Must be capable of holding an electrostatic charge, which is critical for the powder to stick.
  • Must withstand the heat of the curing process without sustaining damage

Typical examples of suitable materials include those made from steel and steel alloys such as mild, galvanised and stainless steel as well as others such as aluminium.

Advantages

  • Powder coating is an environmentally friendly process, with no fumes or odours during the spraying process.
  • Powder coated surfaces are far more resistant to chipping or cracking than conventional paint because of the inherent elasticity of the compound.
  • It is a fast process – an item can be prepared, sprayed, cured and ready with an hour.

Disadvantages

  • Powder coating is commonly applicable only to metal items and only those that can withstand the heat of the curing oven without suffering damage. Ultra violet curing with special powders can be performed on plastic but this is a highly specialised branch.
  • After spraying, the powder adheres to the object through electrostatic attraction only and therefore it is easily dislodged if moved or while being placed inside the curing oven, for example.
  • It is not a process suitable for performing on-site and really needs an engineering shop environment for professional work.
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Tarrant Gunville 3

05 Oct Structural Steel or Reinforced Concrete?

Tarrant Gunville 3One of the early decisions that needs to be taken for any structural frame is the use of steel or reinforced concrete. This has long-term effect on the project, including cost and durability. Your choice has an overall impact on different aspects of building design, and its performance. Many businesses comparing structural steel to reinforced concrete find that steel is a more cost-effective solution compared to concrete. But cost isn’t the only factor you should consider when working on construction or civil engineering projects.

When it comes to cost then structural steel has a slight edge over reinforced concrete. Structural steelwork represents only 20% of overall steelwork used in construction, and this is the main reason why steelwork is much cheaper compared to reinforced concrete. The price of construction material has grown overall but the impact of this growth is more on concrete (by mass) than steel.

In terms of construction timing, concrete has a slight edge. It is said that building with concrete can be double the speed compared to a steel structure. But there are different views in support of structural steel as well. Many businesses prefer working with steel due to its versatility, strength and ease of construction.

 

Here is a summary of the comparative advantages and disadvantages of structural steel and reinforced concrete:

Reinforced Concrete Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Better fire-proof quality than steel, wood or brick.
  • Can take any shape with the right moulding.
  • Cost effective construction materials when it comes to certain structures like dams, footings, and piers.

Cons

  • Comparatively expensive.
  • When compared to steel it has low compressive strength.
  • Requires mixing, casting and curing. This might result in a change in the final strength of the concrete.

 

Structural Steel Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Cost effective in terms of materials and labour.
  • They are considered as the future of construction, with many innovations improving the quality and versatility of steel year on year.
  • Useful for construction of offices and commercial buildings.
  • Easily available at competitive prices.
  • Space can be optimised.

Cons

  • Not all builders are used to this material and it requires special tools to operate.
  • Structural steel components are prone to fire damage compared to concrete.
  • During winter the steel structures get cold easily and this might affect people working or living inside it. (This negative can be counteracted with the appropriate coatings and insulation.
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46

28 Sep Structural Steel Fabrication and Construction

The construction sector has advanced and with it, many new and improved methods including the use of structural steel. Nearly everything in construction consists of structural steel with skyscrapers, large warehouses and shopping malls springing to mind. In fact, steel framed structures are commonly used across a wide range of construction projects including garages, residential housing and short-term temporary structures and for good reason.

Steel fabrication is used to create various components and products with different qualities for numerous applications. Structural steelwork has been the primary choice for most builders, engineers, contractors and structural steel fabricators. Many industries rely on steel products and fabrication services due its quality, reliability, flexibility, cost effectiveness and sustainability.

Steel Framed Building | Dorset

Durability and Versatility of Structural Steel

Structural steel ductile which means it has the ability to withstand stress for long periods of time and bend without breaking. Steel can be moulded into virtually any shape and needs little maintenance. It’s also reusable and easily recyclable without affecting its properties making it a great eco-friendly option. Standing tall against strong winds and extreme weather conditions make structural steel buildings a sure winner.

Structural steel frameworks are made with exact precision ensuring the highest standards and safer building practices. The durability of steel needs no introduction as these benefits clearly indicate:

o  Resistant to adverse weather and remains rust-free

o  Strong underwater and does not shrink

 Fire resistant through the application of intumescent retardants

 Can apply corrosion and weathering resistant material during steel framework fabrication instead of on-site

 Unaffected by termites and insects

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welder Industrial automotive part in factory

07 Sep Types of Fabrication Techniques

There are many types of fabrication techniques where the most common ones are cutting and machining, punching and drilling, straightening, bending and rolling, fitting and reaming, fastening, finishing etc. A few types of fabrication techniques are listed below in detail:

 Cutting– For cutting there are numerous ways and it is done with the saw, plasma torches, water jets, and lasers.

o  Machining– The process of machining involves removal of the piece of metal from a piece of material. It is performed either on lathe, where the material will rotate against a cutting tool, or in some other kind of cutting machine.

o  Folding – Some parts require bending and with the help of a press brake which has a set of dies to pinch the metal, it is useful for forming a crease. This is performed in specific cases only.

o  Shearing– To make a long cut on the piece of metal is known as shearing and it is performed on a sheet metal.

o  Welding– To join two pieces of metal, welding is done. Various kinds of welding is performed on range of metals used for diverse applications.

 

In the fabrication process many types of fabrication materials are used. As fabrication process is quite complex the composition of materials which are being used need to have some desired proprieties. Features of these fabrication materials are stated below:

o  Casting raw material – Casting is a fabrication process which is 6000 years old and, in this method, a liquid metal is forced into a mould which is then allowed to cool so it can harden in the required shape. For applications that need complex geometries it is an ideal method. Common metals used for casting are steel, magnesium, gold, silver, iron, copper, etc.

o  Flat metal raw materials – flat metal Is a type of metal that has been rolled or pressed in thin or flat pieces. Thickness of a metal sheet varies greatly and is measured in gauges. Three general categories of flat metal raw materials are foil or leaf metal which is the thinnest type of flat metal, second one is sheet metal and the thickness of this metal is less than 6mm and the third one is plate metal is thicker than 0.25 inches.

o  Formed and expanded metal – the name expanded metal is derived from the process which is used for creating it. To create holes in diamond shape that are surrounded by interlinked metal strands a stock metal sheeting is first sheared in the press and then the shearing expands the metal to its final size. Expanded metal raw materials come in various grating sizes and standard thicknesses.

o  Hardware raw materials– Hardware is defined as the many standardized parts or fittings which are useful to make a product strong, easier to fabricate and more functional. It includes basic raw materials like handles, locks, latches, chains, etc.

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Steel Frame Fabrication Dorset

23 Aug Basics of Steel Fabrication

Fabrication is “the action or process of inventing or manufacturing something”, as explain in the oxford dictionary.

Steel Framed Building | Dorset

Steel fabrication is a sensitive task because it needs skilled individuals who can handle the process well and work with care. It covers designing, detailing, drawing and constructing many steel structural members like deck, handrails, stairs and a lot more. Steel is used for constructing bridges, residential building, etc. Structural steel is useful for building complex and simple structures in a cost effective and time saving manner. A systematic well-designed steel fabrication process offers many benefits.

 

A good steel structural fabricator follows a specific process and the metal has to pass through many operations. A basic overview of the fabrication process steps are explained below:

  • Firstly, structural sections may have to go through surface cleaning procedures so different cleaning methods need to be applied, such as, blast cleaning, flame cleaning, manual cleaning, etc.
  • Once the surface is prepared cutting to the length is important and it can be done by implementing the most suitable process like, shearing or cropping, flame cutting or burning, cold sawing, punching or drilling and arc plasma cutting.
  • After the above process, the steel may become distorted because of handling or transportation process. Thus, it needs to be bended, rolled or straightened.
  • Now fitting and reaming will come into the picture. Minor defects will be corrected here.
  • Now the use of fastening methods has to be proper as the strength of complete structure depends on it. The three fastening methods are riveting, bolting and welding. Now-a-days welding is the most common method, but sometimes the need of bolting and riveting may arise.
  • Then comes finishing. Finishing will be done by sawing, milling or any other suitable means. For satisfactory finished cuts, a saw machine is used and for smoothening the steel surface other methods are used accordingly.

Lastly, the surface treatment is done with metal or paint coatings.

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workplace safety

10 Aug Employee Safety is a Priority

Safety vs. Productivity

When it comes to safety vs. productivity, employee safety should always be the clear winner. In fact, when properly implemented the two goals should complement each other. After all, safe employees are productive employees.workplace safety

A survey by the national safety council reported that 70% of employees say that safety is part of their induction and ongoing training. It’s important to remind both employees and employers not to let safety practices slack due to a heavy workload and pending deadlines. Encouraging employees to stay focused will not only keep them safe but will actually help get the job done right and on time.

Important: Employees cannot and should not be forced to choose between safe practices and the pressure of keeping productivity goals. Most importantly, they must have the ability to stop production when they feel safety concerns are at stake. Safety is always the priority.

Safety culture begins at the top

When it comes to worker safety in industrial fabrication, a safety manager is a key liaison between management and employees. The safety managers responsibility to provide a safe working environment, including:

o   Providing a workplace free from serious recognised hazards

o   Comply with standards and regulations listed under OSH Act

o   Ensure employees have and are trained to use safe and properly maintained tools and equipmentworkplace injury

o   Establish or update operating procedures and communicate then so that employees follow safety and health requirements

o   Provide safety training in a language and vocabulary workers can understand

 

Safety issues should always be addressed immediately before anyone gets hurt!

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Steel Fabrication Trends

30 Jul Trends in Steel Fabrication

The metal fabrication industry has seen growth in jobs and technology over the past several years. Although there was some anticipation about possible impacts with th3D Printinge new administration change, overall manufacturing has seen positive growth over the past year.

As a whole, metal manufacturing is in a good shape, although recent government intervention and Trump Tariffs are causing big concerns about the future as steel and aluminium prices have surged at record rates. Hopefully, steel and aluminium fabricators will see continued strong demand as the market adjusts to these new pricing realities. The good news is that the economy overall is boiling at a good rate – shops are busy and demand is strong. Here are the top 3 Trends in the industry.

Reshoring

The reshoring trend is due in large part to new technology, automation and advances in speed and productivity, as well as rising costs overseas.

Tube laser Technology

Tube laser technology introduces several significant advantages over traditional manufacturing and fabrication processes. Tube lasers increase the ability to produce more intricate cuts, increase fabrication speed, save on downstream assembly and can reduce costs while improving quality.

3D Printing

Things are looking exciting for the metal industry as metal fabrication businesses invest in 3D printing technology. Metal 3D Printing differs from traditional steel fabrication processes as it invoices the stamping of metals to produce a required design.

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Green Copper

13 Jul What Is Green Copper?

As a result of oxidation, the natural weather process that occurs when air and acidic moisture react with the copper surface. Since copper’s patina is a result of environmental exposure to carbonates, sulphates and sometimes chloride salts, the oxidation process can be quicker in areas with higher exposure to sea salts and pollutants, such as seaside or industrial areas.

Green CopperCopper’s characteristic greenish-blue patina is actually a protective surface coating that presents further corrosion (similar to aluminium corrosion). The visually appealing green patina can be recreated artificially on copper through a chemical process.

At 130 years old, Lady Liberty is still one of the most iconic and easily recognizable women in history. She represents hope, democracy and peace. Standing 151 feet tall atop a 154-foot pedestal, she gives new meaning to the term ‘statuesque’ and has a lovely green pallor.

But the Statue of Liberty wasn’t always green copper. When she was originally assembled in 1885, all 350 pieces were the typical brown colour native to copper. Over the course of the next 30 years the copper brown colour slowly changed, first to a darker brown, then to near black, and finally to the green copper colour we see today.

Copper surfaces can be maintained to avoid further oxidation by periodic oiling with a high-grade paraffin oil. The oil should be rubbed in with a clean, soft cotton cloth and repeated regularly to maintain the natural copper finish.

Copper and bronze have been used in architecture and sculpture for thousands of years. Durable and strong, copper is used today in both architectural and industrial metal fabrication applications. Sheet copper can be used as a lighter-weight alternative to slate or tile roofing materials, and can be shaped to cover domes, chimneys and other architectural features that require a watertight folded seam. Copper alloys used in architectural metal projects include bronze (an alloy of tin and copper), and brass (a copper/zinc alloy).

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Steel Framed Building | Dorset

29 Jun Why Cheapest Isn’t Always Best

Here atSteel Framed Building | Dorset, we pride ourselves on unbeatable prices with the highest quality and great customer care. We provide thorough research before supplying a quote to guarantee we provide quality materials and services at the best prices.

We all want the best value for money, but when it comes to metal fabrication, especially large-scale construction projects, the lowest bid doesn’t necessarily always provide the best value.

The lowest bid is often a result of a bidder’s mistake – scope items may have been missed, complexities may be underestimated or, worse case, craftsmanship may be undervalued. Any or all of these issues can lead estimators down a slippery slope.

Ultimately – and particularly when quality is at stake – the lowest bid almost always leads to other hidden costs that present themselves when it is too late to change.

Price quotes can vary for a multitude of reasons, and so can a company’s experience. When it comes to metal fabrication, and especially large-scale projects, you want the most qualified company for the job. A lesser-experienced company will often present a lower bid, and that inexperience is often reflected in lower-quality materials, shoddy workmanship, safety oversights and ultimately in the final project.

When it comes to choosing the one metal fabrication company that best suits your needs, there are five main factors to consider:

  • Capabilities
  • Experience
  • Quality
  • Methodology
  • Customer Service
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