A Metal Rolling Firm Outgrows Chicago. In The Fabricator magazine of NOOMA.

This 2005 article in The Fabricator magazine of NOMMA (National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal Association) recounts how Chicago Metal's growth in tube bending and pipe bending required expansion to another plant in Kansas City. Included in the highlights is the company's tube bending for the largest McDonald's arches.

Downloadable Document

A Metal Rolling Firm Outgrows Chicago
In The Fabricator magazine, January/February 2005
NOMMA member, Chicago Metal Rolled Products, has opened a new 30,000 square foot facility to curve structural steel, sheet, and plate in Kansas City, MO.According to its President, George Wendt, the centrally-located facility will allow the Chicago-based company to serve its customers in the central, southern, and western United States with even greater capacity, speed, and reduced freight costs.

Fabricator: Can you tell us a little about each of the facilities owned by Chicago Metal Rolled Products?

Wendt: The Kansas City facility has 10 rolling machines to complement the 50 rolling and bending machines in its 100,000 square foot plant in Chicago.In Missouri, our company can curve up to 40 inch wide flange beams and up to 20 inch diameter pipe; in Chicago, up to W44 inch beams on the world’s largest beam bender.Missouri can bend up to 1 inch x 10 foot wide plate; Chicago can bend up to 5/16 x 12 foot wide plate. At our third 20,000 square foot facility in Bryson City, NC, our company supplies tight-radius, draw bending of tube and pipe up to 6 inches.

Chicago Metal has maintained a 98 percent on-time delivery record for five years running while offering 3-day, 2-day, 1-day and same day service.Customers near the Kansas City plant have raved about its quick delivery and have many times enjoyed “rolling-while-you-wait service.” That is, when quick turn-around is critical, a fabricator brings his material to the shop and waits until the parts are curved and reloaded on his truck. Multiple machines, well defined processes, and a well trained team of 70 employees guarantee reliable quality and delivery.

Fabricator: What’s the history behind your family-owned-and-operated company?

Wendt: Founded in 1908, Chicago Metal was purchased in 1923 by George F. Hauf, my grandfather. With limited formal education, he built on his experience working in steel mills and for fabricators to become an entrepreneur. His company grew to employ more than 300 workers in a 200,000-square-foot plant which could fabricate virtually anything from light sheet metal to heavy plate. He also developed a line of standard angle flanges and straight-seam, lock-seam pipe in 10-foot lengths.

Fabricator: Who runs the company today?

Wendt: Today, I head up the company; my brother Joe heads up sales; and my son, Dan, heads up engineering. And our mom keeps us all in line. Building on the pioneering roll-curving technology developed by the company over the decades, in 1984 Chicago Metal Rolled Products was created as a separate company to specialize in forming rings and curved segments from tiny 1 by1 by 1/8 angle to massive W44 by 285# beams and everything in between. Angles, bars, beams, channels, pipe, tube, tees—-every structural shape can be curved by our company in virtually every orientation. My brother Joe likes to say, “If it can be bent, we can bend it.”

We can roll-curve sections to extremely tight radiuses with minimum distortion, for example, a W6 x 12# beam rolled the “hard way” (against the strong axis) to a 2 foot radius. We also regularly bend steel into ellipses; roll arcs with straight tangents at the end(s); does off-axis and multi-axis bending; create true, helical coils; curve compound bends, and manufacture plumb, circular stair stringers.Lastly, Chicago Metal Rolled Products curves aluminum extrusions to create arches and bows on curtain-wall and store-front systems.

My son, Dan, thrives on the engineering challenges provided by our customers. The problems are solved partly by developing accurate layouts, partly by extensive training of all involved, and partly by other in-house engineering and technology. For example, working with miscellaneous and ornamental iron shops and the skilled craftsmen in the shop at Chicago Metal, Dan has helped create stair stringers with a tight pitch out of 12 by 4 tubing for monumental, circular staircases. The shop also produced a galvanized, circular, stair system with the bolt holes for the treads prepunched for easy assembly on the job site.

Chicago Metal also regularly forms complex canopies with waves, compound bends and reverse curves for NOMMA member companies. Most often our complex bends reduce the number of weld splices otherwise required.

Fabricator: What’s the secret to the successful fabrication of these complex structures?

Wendt: The secret is that we welcome early involvement and teamwork with the fabricators, designers, and owners of any given project. Our company participated in the actual design of three, award-winning, architectural masterpieces in Chicago in the last year: the trellis for the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park by Frank O. Gehry; the elliptical train tube for the McCormick Student Center at IIT by Rem Koolhaus; and the sinuous beams that support the roof at the Ratner Athletic Center at the University of Chicago by Cesar Pelli. In each case, early involvement solved problems, reduced costs, and facilitated construction.

Fabricators, engineers, and architects often consult with Chicago Metal to check on the feasibility of particular designs. For example, five years before its completion, Chicago Metal consulted with the engineers at Skidmore, Owens, and Merrill about the trellis for the music pavilion at Millennium Park. A web of 12,14,16,18, and 20-inch diameter curved and intersecting pipe was to cover an area greater than four football fields and to hold speakers for a computerized sound system. Gehry’s design called for 570 tons of pipe curved in two planes with multiple radiuses. Chicago Metal suggested that each pipe be curved in one plane and that the radiuses change at the nodal junction of the pipes. The architect agreed and chose to tilt each arch a little to the side. The result is both esthetically pleasing and cost effective.

With the addition of our new Kansas City plant and technological improvements in our Chicago and North Carolina facilities, Chicago Metal Rolled Products seeks to provide its customers with improved speed, quality, service, and value. We welcome all inquiries from NOMMA readers.

  • "A big thank you to your team. Your parts are receiving the most positive feedback possible. Your company has new fans here."
    Bruce E., Kansas
  • "Without CMRP able to roll these channels to my specifications, there was no way this beautiful round antenna would have ever worked. 
    Damon S., Wisconsin
  • "My customer has installed several truckloads worth of 36" x 160# WF beams you rolled and cambered for us. The quality is spot on."
    Justin J., Alabama
  • "The rolled stringers were right on the button as far as pitch and radius."
    Bob O., Illinois
  • "I really appreciate your company coming through on this order & expediting the material when you said you would.You stick by their word."
    Jason R., Missouri
  • "The last order of rings were the best that we have received from you. The flanges were all flat. Keep them coming like that."
    Lenny P., Ohio
  • "Thanks for OVER AND ABOVE EXCELLENT SERVICE.  The quality and accuracy of CMRP's work is outstanding"
    Peggy, Texas
  • "The ring looks good! The OD is dead on. Thank you for your concerns regarding our questions and responding so quickly. I was impressed!"
    Fran Z., Pennsylvania
  • "Please pass on to the workers, . . . (your) rings . . . were some of the best our fitter has seen."
    Jeff K., Illinois
  • "I want to thank CMRP for exceeding what you promised. You are ahead of schedule and the strakes are fitting great."
    Jim A., New York
  • "Your advice was a significant contribution to the project.  You provide excellent service and knowledge"
    John Z., Illinois
  • "These pipes were rolled DEAD ON. The shop guys said they had never seen a pipe come in and hit every point like that in a long long time."
    Joe C., Missouri
  • "The rolling on these rectangular tubes was absolutely perfect! Barely any adjustment needed to be made."
    Tom G., Massachusetts
  • “We just placed an order for Rolled Angle Rings & you delivered them to us within 2-1/2 days ... we are three states away.”
    Jim S., Pennsylvania
  • “I would like a quote on a spiral project. I have heard many good things about your quality and timeliness from other fabricators.”
    Ryan L., Utah
  • “The rolled beams were delivered yesterday and look very good. Thank you for great service!”
    Thomas S., Maine
  • “I’ve worked with CMRP for over 16 years and can rely on them for any size job and in any time frame. CMRP delivers every time.”
    Mindy, H., Indiana
  • “It is unbelievable how good a job you guys did rolling these beams.”
    Richard G., Canada
  • “You all helped us out greatly when no one else seemed they could. Everything worked out wonderfully!”
    Cliff P., Florida
  • “The parts are very impressive and the service was stellar. I will certainly be recommending you to anyone needing such services.”
    Randy W., Georgia
  • “We got everything we needed in a very short turnaround, I appreciate it.  We are happy to have a reliable source to turn to.”
    Russell P., Illinois
  • “Quote was great! Timely, appropriate, and frankly less money than we expected.”
    James L., New York
  • “CMRP immediately took action and shipped out my order the same day! This all happened like clockwork, allowing us to meet the deadline.”
    Margo R., Ohio
  • “We only use CMRP for our rolling needs. We can always depend on getting a finished product that is to our expectations or better.”
    David P., New York
  • “I wish everyone could get quotes back that fast! That is why we use you, fast response to quotes and questions and great quality!”
    Will F., Indiana
  • “Your quotes are always so well organized and thorough, I trust your work.”
    Jessica, South Carolina
  • “On larger more complex rolling items, I typically only go to Chicago Metal Rolled Products for pricing due to quality.”
    Kevin H., Pennsylvania
  • “Thanks for providing the material. First two sets were laid out and fabricated. Radius was excellent!”
    Brad, Iowa
  • “We really appreciate your work on this. Amazing attention for a smaller sized job. Thank you for coming through.”
    Erik J., New York
  • “The project was AMAZING! Thank you so much for your help. I really do appreciate it. Always a pleasure doing business with you.”
    Kelly E., Iowa
  • “Your salesman provided a quick quote with an offer to explain things we should take into account. It's known you guys do the best work.”
    Mark R., Maryland
  • “Thank you for your help with the project and for getting everything complete and shipped out in a such a timely fashion. You guys saved the day.”
    Ben B., Florida
  • “You guys did an amazing job on these stringers. We would NOT be having such a success story without your team's effort & patience!”
    David B., Oklahoma
  • “You gave me excellent service and help which I appreciated very much. Material was on time and right on spec.”
    Brian S., Pennsylvania
  • “Your positive attitude is noted & CMRP reputation in the steel industry is impressive. All of our locations will contact you in the future.”
    Dave B., North Carolina
  • “My boilermakers in the field had positive things to say about the quality and accuracy of the angles that you rolled. Thank you.”
    Walter L., New York
  • “The project is complete and our customer is very pleased. I appreciate your diligence and quality on this one.”
    Dusty A., Texas
  • “CMRP has been instrumental in our ability to deliver high quality & great looking parts. Any job, big or small, CMRP has come through.”
    Eddie C., Kansas
  • “Your rolled steel worked great! We check lengths & chord dimensions ...everything was within an 1/8".”
    Don L., Michigan
  • “We received our order on time and the level of workmanship is excellent!"
    Roger R., Georgia
  • “Your company did a great job rolling these parts. Our fab and installation is going very well thanks to the quality of your work."
    Ronnie S., North Carolina
  • “Your company is the only one that was able to give me a quote that was right on with my specs, everyone else had to modify at least one dimension."
    Adam S., Minnesota
  • “Thank you for the follow through & turn around time, it greatly helps in the environment that exists today."
    Don F., Nevada
  • “This was our first experience with your company & I was very impressed with all aspects."
    Rick N., Minnesota
  • “I want all to know your hard work and efforts have not gone without appreciation."
    Lance B., Minnesota
  • “The accuracy and quality of your product put a smile on our foremans face - that is hard to come by."
    Jonathan S., New York
  • “Competitive price. Beat the schedule. No complaints from the project site."
    Lane K., Florida
  • “We appreciate you working with our tight schedule and overdelivering on this project."
    Alyson M., Texas
  • “The rolled segments were perfect and priced right. We will definitely use you again."
    Joe M., Nebraska
  • “Your group is awesome to work with and greatly appreciated!"
    Tammie N., Kansas
  • “You did EVERYTHING correctly. That's why you guys are the best in the business!"
    Walt W., Florida
  • “It was very impressive to get such rapid service and a great product."
    Jeff L., Pennsylvania
  • “Very impressed with your speed and overall service!"
    Brian W., Iowa
  • “Great service, product looks good, arrived a day early. Thank you!"
    David C., New York
  • “Your work, as always, near perfect, timely, and accurate. Exactly the same for the last 40 years."
    Pat M., Wisconsin
  • “Absolutely fantastic job by your guys! The fit of the two parts in AWESOME!"
    Kenny R., Florida
  • “The other guys were off by 3/4", CMRP spot on. We won't even question where to send our rolled plates in the future."
    Brant M., Illinois
  • “Your guys responsiveness is way better than any vendor that I have ever dealt with!"
    Jay W., Minnesota
  • “I always appreciate your continual positive attitude even in some difficult situations."
    Christopher L., Illinois
  • “We could not be happier with the parts and customer service you and your team provided. We have never been disappointed."
    Rodney H., Virginia
  • “What an amazing first time experience!! Couldn't be happier!."
    Jason S., Indiana
  • “We consider your company to be one which we can always count on to be on time and accurate."
    Andre T., Missouri
  • “It was very easy working with your company. I will recommend your company to others."
    Jim R., Illinois
  • “You handle all of our orders quickly and efficiently. Working with you is a joy!"
    Patti W., Texas
  • “Pieces fit like a glove"
    Mark F., New Jersey
  • “Customer service is important to us and you hit the mark! It has been a pleasure."
    Dan P., New York
  • “Couldn't be happier with both the order and how quickly you processed everything. Very happy!"
    Dan M., Texas
  • “The rolled plates & tube laser parts are perfect - having the plates rolled without any pickup, & ends meet up on true verticals is HUGE!"
    Jim M., New York
  • “High praises on the work you folks did. It's nice to know you guys are around."
    Peter B., Illinois
  • “Your superior service and quality are unmatched. This is not a cliche."
    Ted S.,Indiana