General Electric Parts
Bending pipes for General Electric generators
A pipe fabricator who has won awards from General Electric for the quality of the parts it has supplied to G.E. came to Chicago Metal Rolled Products for its expertise in bending pipes, a component of the fabrication. Of course, G.E. has stringent quality standards which would also apply to the parts supplied by Chicago Metal. In fact G.E. itself has the machinery, capacity, and know-how bending pipes in-house and yet chooses to outsource this work. For them, having Chicago Metal make the parts represented a better value in the make/buy decision. Chicago Metal bends 2,3,4,5, and 6 inch pipe with two bends which are then saw cut to length to become component parts for G.E. power generators. We have also provided 5 bend parts.
Bending pipes for this structure created a “room” for concert goers to enjoy under suspended speakers.
Chicago Metal’s bending pipes for this structure fit up very well.
Millennium Park opening weekend 2004
Millennium Park site in Chicago 1998
Five full years before its completion, Chicago Metal Rolled Products consulted with the engineers at Skidmore, Owens and Merrill (SOM) about bending pipes for the Pritzer Pavilion trellis at Millennium Park.
At 625 feet long, 325 feet wide and 60 feet at its highest point, a complex web of 12,14,16,18, and 20-inch diameter curved and intersecting pipe was to cover an area greater than 4 football fields and to hold speakers for a computerized, sound system entertaining an audience of 11,000.
Architect Frank O. Gehry’s design called for 570 tons of pipe curved in two planes with multiple radii. Chicago Metal suggested that each arch be curved in one plane and that the radii—ranging from 100 to 1000 feet-- change at each arch’s four nodal junctions. The architect agreed and chose to tilt each arch a little to the side. This early involvement and teamwork reduced costs and facilitated construction without compromising aesthetics.
Chicago Metal used a 3-roll bending machine with a capacity of 200 in³ section modulus, one of a few machines in the country with tooling for bending pipes cold. Adapting to an accelerated schedule—an “X-node” was expedited to continue construction on the stage--the company delivered everything on time.
And, of course, the whole fabrication required AESS (architecturally exposed structural steel) quality. For example, SOM specified that the pipe have no scratches that your fingernail would hang up on. The precise bending of Chicago Metal Rolled Products made the difficulty of shop-fitting 130 curved and welded TYK joint connections “a snap”!
The trellis had to connect to the steel-clad, curvaceous ribbons which adorn the stage and which are so characteristic of Gehry’s architecture. The general contractor, Walsh Construction, and the erector, Danny’s Construction, both remarked that “the trellis pieces went together so well.” Working together, all parties helped create an architecturally significant structure that is a tribute to the versatility, economy, and beauty of steel construction. They didn’t curb their enthusiasm; they curved it.
Formed and rolled channels are used as ribs inside this railcar.
A rail car manufacturer was having serious problems with the steel channels that functioned as ribs within a tank car. The channels, rolled with the flanges out, were welded to the skin of the car on the inside of the rail car. The problem was that the welds were breaking causing expensive repair costs not the mention the cost of the time that the rail car was out of service. Engineers from the rail car manufacturer met with the steel supplier and Chicago Metal Rolled Products’ project manager, plant manager, and its executives to formulate solutions. Through extensive research and development with all parties involved, the team designed a formed, outward-wing, “hat” channel (the cross section resembling the cross section of an old-time straw hat) that would be bent by Chicago Metal Rolled Products into a 180 degree segment with straight tangents. The radius of this “U” shape must be held to +/- 3/32 inch. The new design solved the problem of welds breaking and functions well in the rail car. Chicago Metal also forms rolled, welded, and ground rings for the discharge chutes. We can also drill holes in these flanges.
Beam bending for a cable-stayed roof.
Beam bending to form a reverse curve saved over $24,000 worth of weld splices.
The architect, Cesar Pelli, created an exciting structure with the wavy beam bending.
Chicago Metal’s beam bending contributed to this project winning AISC’s IDEAS
Before designing the Ratner Athletic Center at the University of Chicago, architect, Cesar Pelli concluded that “Everyone we spoke to at the University wanted a place that would be not just functional, but exciting—exciting on the inside and from the outside.”
His solution of a cable-stayed waved roof with soaring masts makes the building instantly recognizable and exciting, and provides a conceptual link to the Gothic architecture of many of the university’s early buildings.
Early in the project, OWP&P, the architect of record, contacted Dan Wendt at Chicago Metal Rolled Products to ask if it was possible to create an S curve within one beam with no splicing. Dan and the machine operators agreed that the company could indeed provide beam bending of each of the 8 pieces of W33 x 169# x 93’ ft. long beams to an 85’ radius (14’ arc) followed by a 22’ straight tangent followed by a 146’ radius bend (reverse) (12’ arc).
With our expertise in the bending of beams, Chicago Metal proceeded to bend this steel as well as W21 x 93#, W18 x 76#, W14 x 48# , W14 x 30# and W14 x 22# for a total 310 tons of beams cold bent about the strong axis to complete the flattened-S-curved roof. Picking the best of 60 specialized machines for each application, the company maintained AESS (architecturally exposed structural steel) quality. The architects, engineers, general contractor, and fabricator all visited the shop to witness the beam bending. The “S” curves eliminated 16 $1,500 weld splices thereby saving $24,000.
Steel cables from 3 tall masts over the pool, 2 tall masts over the gym, and 15 smaller masts support these roof girders. The roof’s shape was then “tuned” by the cables until it met the desired shape.
With the masts doing the heavy lifting, only thin beams were needed to span large, column-free areas. With the east wall being all glass and with a band of glass just under the sinuous roof line, the roof floats like a magic carpet.
Pelli explains that “the Gothic arch developed as the most daring use of stone construction. The flying buttress is perhaps the most recognizable element which takes the structure from the interior to the exterior and expresses it as flying through air.” At the Ratner Center not stone but steel creates a supporting structure external to the body of the building. Pelli’s combination of curved beams, masts, and cables all attest to the beauty, economy and versatility of steel in construction.
Nichols Bridgeway rises from Chicago’s Millennium Park to the Art Institute of Chicago.
Two plates form the curved bottom of the bridge.
The bridge connects with the Art Institute 60 ft. above ground level.
A cross-section of the bridge looks like the hull of a racing yacht.
The architect of the bridge and the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago: Renzo Piano.
The new Nichols Bridgeway rises from ground level deep in Chicago’s Millennium Park, then crosses Monroe St. and lands 60 feet above ground at the third floor sculpture garden and restaurant of the new Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. This bridge comprises architecture that literally rises to the level of art in two senses: it creates a new pedestrian flow to the museum and it itself is part of the architecture that architect Renzo Piano has raised to an art form.
Chicago Metal Rolled Products expertly did the plate rolling for all the steel for the double-plated bottom of the structure which in cross section resembles the hull of a racing yacht. The steel structure is a box truss with a curved bottom steel plate covered by a soffit plate that is also structural. Plate stiffeners inside connect the flat top with the curved bottom. On a very heavy plate roll, Chicago Metal Rolled Products did the plate rolling of 112 pieces of 3/8 and 5/8 inch thick plate to a 10 foot radius in sections as wide as 12 feet and from 12 to 18 feet long taking great care with polished rolls and nylon slings not to scratch any surface. The outer plate serves as a smooth soffit without perceptible weld splices. The curved plate at both ends of the bridge is shaped like the prow of a ship.
Beam bending for a series of half ellipses.
The tube formed by this beam bending muffles the noise of the elevated train on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology.
A new McCormick Student Center at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaus, was to be linked to Chicago’s elevated “El” train system. Koolhaas’ solution to train noise was to create a steel-and-concrete tube to encase trains as they pass over the single-story, building.
Beam bending provided by Chicago Metal Rolled Products produced 104,000 pounds of W12 x 58# beams the “hard way” to form a series of half ellipses with radiuses of approximately 12’, 24’ and 34’. Chicago Metal’s customer praised the beam bending for being distortion-free and for having a profile tolerance of less than 3/8 inch: “The product that we got from Chicago Metal Rolled was almost perfect—they’ve always done a great job for us.”
“We knew we could easily bend 12” beams for the top of the tunnel where the ellipse has the larger radii, but we were especially happy to provide our customer with the extremely tight 12’ radius on the sides,” said Chicago Metal Rolled Products VP of Engineering, Dan Wendt.
The tube muffles train noise on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology. “From the point of view of both sound and vibration, it’s working, inside and outside the building,” said IIT Director of External Relations David Baker. “The El doesn’t create noise as it goes by campus any more.”
Chicago Metal curves unistrut with minimal distortion for many applications including monorails.
A customer was having problems with another supplier who was bending formed strut channel with the legs down---what we call bending the “hard way” or on the x-x axis. The customer was getting parts where the opening or web of the channel was being crushed closed. This deformation was preventing a roller assembly from rolling through the curved area. (Think about a curtain around a hospital bed with rollers that glide through a curved steel rail above. You’d want the rollers to glide smoothly.)
Chicago Metal then rolled the parts with minimal closing of the opening and checked that the customer-supplied roller assembly would pass through every part without a hitch. 100% inspection guaranteed that we had another happy customer who would continue to turn to Chicago Metal Rolled Products to solve his problems.
Tube bending of 402 tons of 12x12 for the roof trusses of the University of Phoenix Stadium.
Chicago Metal’s technology for tube bending saved the customer more than 80,000 lbs. of steel.
For the roof trusses of the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, Chicago Metal Rolled Products’ tube bending machines curved 402 tons of 12 x 12 x 5/8 and 12 x 12 x ½ square tubing to a variety of radiuses from 1000 to 1200 feet.
Across the width of the field span 256-foot-long lenticular trusses so-called because both the top and bottom chords are curved, creating a profile that resembles a convex lens. Tube bending from Chicago Metal Rolled Products of sixteen such trusses are incorporated in the two retractable roof panels.
Chicago Metal stored in its climate-controlled plant 213 pieces of tubing delivered from nearby tubing mills and then curved and shipped parts over the course of five months, always meeting the fabricator’s schedule. Since the tube mills closest to Arizona were also close to Chicago, freight costs were minimized.
According to the project manager and subcontract administration manager, this challenging fabrication fit up very well with no quality issues in the plant or in the field--a tribute to the teamwork of the roller, the fabricator and the erector.
Early involvement in the project allowed Chicago Metal Rolled products to offer cost-saving and time-saving tube bending suggestions. For example, using its advanced technology, the company provided 52 feet of distortion-free arc from stock only 54 feet long. With traditional tube bending methods, 6 to 10 feet of each tube would be lost to scrap. Chicago Metal saved its customer more than 80,000 lbs. of steel.
Tube bending to form 60ft-high parabolic arches for McDonald’s
Supersized tube bending for supersized golden arches.
The tube bending created multiple radii to minimize costly and time-consuming weld splices.
Chicago Metal Rolled Products recently curved large rectangular tubing to form the parabolic arches for the new flagship McDonald’s which opened in downtown Chicago.
The tube bending company matched the customer-supplied templates putting multiple radiuses into 50-foot-long tube to minimize costly weld splices and to reduce the time required for fabrication and erection on the fast-paced project. To meet the project’s tight schedule, Chicago Metal completed all the tube bending within three days (over Thanksgiving!) after the customer supplied the material.
The new design has two 60-foot-tall arches that span much of the entire site and help support the roof of the two-story restaurant.
Each large arc is comprised of two 20 x 12 tubes covered by plate on all four sides. The arches are 20 inches wide and vary in thickness from 36 inches at the base to 24 inches at the top.
According to the fabricator and erector, Chicago Metal’s precision in tube bending helped them fit up and erect the structure on time.
Two smaller arches made of 14 x 4 x 1/2 tube support the roof above the two-lane drive-through at the south end of the property.
This super-sized restaurant will seat 300, double the capacity of the previous McDonald’s on this site. It is the 3rd busiest McDonald’s in the United States and the 6th busiest in the world.
Tube bending for arms on a front-end loader
Through a current supplier, Case New Holland approached Chicago Metal Rolled Products with a challenge: help us develop a new design for the arms of our front-end loaders. The previous design, which was common among all manufacturers of this equipment, involved something like a 12-piece weldment of straight tubing or other structural members. Splice plates held the straight sections together. Case wanted us to work with their engineers located in Burr Ridge, IL to develop an improved model. The idea, drawing from our tube bending experience, was to use two curved tubes to replace the weldment. Initial concerns involved the strength of the tubes, the ability to fabricate quality parts, cost, and aesthetics. Chicago Metal’s engineers and machine operators produced sample parts and developed new tube bending abilities to bend 5 x 2 x ¼ tubing the hard way (x-x axis) with very stringent restrictions on deformation and length of the tube. Once the design was settled on, Chicago Metal produced hundreds of parts with no quality issues, on time, with a competitive price. The final product provided the owner of the front-end loader with better visibility, stronger arms with no failing welds, and reduced costs.
Expertise in angle bending solved a customer’s problems.
On Friday, January 28, 2011, we provided a quote to Chicago Scenic Studios for bending aluminum plate into a very complex shape. General Motors wanted Chicago Scenic Studios to create a twenty-foot tall, twisting, turning, orange, hot-wheels track eight feet wide for the world premier of the all-new Chevrolet Camaro at the Chicago Auto Show. The convertible was to be parked at thebottom of the track. The date for the final installation,Feb.8th, was just nine short days away (including weekends).
This challenging hot-wheel job immediately become a very hot job in both our shops.
Chicago Metal Rolled Products was given a 3D model in AutoCAD without dimensions. Engineer Dan Wendt developed the 3D dimensions in order to build our fixture to fabricate and partially erect the required, off-axis, helical, multi-radius curves. He then developed the flat, 2D, patterns to be plasma cut, curved, twisted, and then welded with 60 gusset plates to the plasma-cut sides of the track. Like the toy, hot-wheels track, its sides have a 10 degree flare. Dan spent 20 hours detailing the project. We couldn't purchase the material until we developed the final layout
Our initial quote incorporated 15 stock sheets of aluminum 48 x 120 for the 8+ ft. wide track. With the flat patterns in hand, project manager Joe Wendt searched for material and found extra large sheets 96 x 240 that are sometimes used to line truck beds. He was able to create the whole length of the track with just three huge plates. Instead of 14 connections, Chicago Scenic had just two splices to make.
The material arrived on Tuesday, February 1, but so did the third worst storm in Chicago history, dropping 20 inches of snow in one horrendous blizzard. There was no question that our shop would be closed on Wednesday.
On Thursday after the plate was plasma cut, we went to work over two shifts of plate rolling to create the complex shapes, to fastened the sides of the track with 60 gussets, and to partially erect the structure to ensure everything would fit up at Chicago Scenic.
On Friday, one week after we quoted this job, we shipped the curved material to Chicago Scenic. Working 24 hours each day over the weekend, Chicago Scenic Studios fit-up, welded, painted, transported, and erected the display Monday morning, February 7. Hanging from the ceiling on cables, the track was erected and ready to be presented to the media on Wednesday, February 9.
The GM hot-wheels track also incorporated large monitors to engage attendees in an elaborate contest to win a new Camaro-not the hot-wheel toys the sales force was handing out, but the real thing. Visitors competed to create the best stop-action, 3D jumping competition to be judged through voting on social media. You can see us leaping to win the prize at http://social-gen.com/chevy/cs.php?u=e2DB9
Joe attended the opening night charity ball with his sister and their spouses. In addition to seeing the final display, they enjoyed the music of KC and the Sunshine Band. When KC sang "That's the way, Uh, Huh, Uh, Huh. I like it" no doubt he was singing about this cool display.
Channels provided with bolt holes for ease of assembly with the treads in the field for this industrial application.
Chicago Metal Rolled Products bends structural steel as tank stiffeners. The company often splits beams and rolls stem-in tees up to 18” for this application. Customers like our tees because the stems are ripple-free and allow for automatic welding to the tanks. Other industrial applications include circular stairs for tanks, rolled plate for tank walls, and bent process piping.
Miller Park, Milwaukee, WI: Chicago Metal curved 2100 ft. of heavy rail weighing 750 tons to support a retractable, baseball stadium roof. Held +/- 1/8 inch radius tolerance. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries evaluation: we “thank all of the Chicago Metal employees for their quality of workmanship and their spirit of cooperation in the rolling of Mitsubishi’s rails for the Miller Park project.”
Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, PA: Chicago Metal curved 300 tons of 5-inch square steel tubing 45 degrees off axis to form a barrel-vault skylight 150 feet high and 327 feet long. Held +/- 1/16 inch radius tolerance—“unheard of in structural steel or even architectural steel” according to Rafael Viñoly Architects.
Train tube at Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL: Chicago Metal curved 52 tons of W12 x 58# beams the “hard way” to form a series of half ellipses with radiuses of approximately 34 feet, 24 feet, and—an extremely tight—12 foot radius. Held 3/8 inch profile tolerance on the AESS curved beams with no distortion. Fabricator’s response: “The product that we got from Chicago Metal was almost perfect—they’ve always done a great job for us.”
Pritzker Pavilion Trellis, Millennium Park, Chicago, IL: Chicago Metal curved 570 tons of 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 inch OD pipe to multiple radiuses with no distortion or even scratches to snag a fingernail. The work was performed with such precision that the structural steel fabricator, Acme Structural; the erector, Danny’s Construction; and the general contractor, Walsh Construction, all remarked how “the trellis pieces went together so well.” Furthermore, early in the design phase of this project Chicago Metal made cost-saving and time-saving suggestions. John Zils of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill said Chicago Metal’s advice “was a significant contribution to the project.”
Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO: Fabricator’s comments: “All of that 12” pipe ended up making two of these box trusses. They are on 8th Street, the West Face of Busch Stadium. They are called the Eads Bridge because their architecture was modeled after the engineering marvel that crosses the Mississippi here is St. Louis. I’m not sure if I passed this along back then or not, but these pipes were rolled DEAD ON. The guys in the shop said that had never seen a pipe come in and hit every point like that in a long long time.”
8 each 2-1/2 inch x 5/16” bar rings rolled the “hard way” to a 71 inch inside diameter, tack welded. Missouri customer’s response: “On behalf of our Rep in Houston and the entire team in California, I can’t express enough how we appreciate your team’s performance on the last project you did for us. This project was a children’s hospital in Houston and was so critical to get our dampers in place for a complete overhaul of a HVAC system during a shut down period over the holiday Christmas/New Year season. Your team performed as expected, we received the rings as expected, and my team performed as expected. The product will arrive on time and all is well. Your team should be congratulated on a job well done. I personally as an Operation Manager know the difficulties and pressures of the industry and wish to thank all of you, and it is a pleasure working with such a professional team as yours. Thank you and have a wonderful Christmas.”
“On behalf of my students in the course of “Materials of Construction,” I wish to thank you for coming to my class on October 5 to deliver a lecture on what your company does. It was a well organized and clearly delivered presentation on the “bending of steel” with numerous instructive examples and illustrations. The lecture fit very well within the context of what the class was learning at that time, i.e., mechanical properties of steel. You lecture was well received by all present.”
A. Longinow, PhD, PE, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology.
A Midwest fabricator, December 22, 2009: It's been great working with you this past year. It's nice to have a contact who gets quotes out so quick. With today’s rush it really helps. I look forward to working with you in the coming year. Have a joyful Christmas and safe new year.