Curved Steel Beams in Architecture and Construction

The summer months are typically the time of year when many families go on vacation. Vacations are a time to unwind, relax, and enjoy time away from work, spending time with family and friends.  Vacations may be spent at home, close to home, or far away.  Some choose to drive, others may fly or take a train or some combination of the three.  The employees of bender/roller companies also look forward to their vacation time. A time away from work, spent with their family and friends.

As an employee of Chicago Metal Rolled Products the past 17 years, our family has enjoyed numerous family vacations. Our family has traveled extensively, mostly by minivan. We have visited 40 of 50 states.  With hundreds of hours and thousands of miles “on the road”, there has been the often asked question that can only come from children whose dad is employed by a bender roller. “Dad, did your company curve that?” or “Honey, was that one of your projects?” Now the challenging aspect would be how do I answer this question? “Yes”, “no”, and “I don’t know” are  three possibilities.  Many a time the answer is “I don’t know”.

Curved Steel at a Tollway Rest Station
Curved Steel at a Tollway Rest Station

As an estimator, I have had the privilege to work on thousands of projects. Some are large and well known, but many are smaller and known only by the fabricator and the owner. Much of what is curved or bent by a bender/roller is specified by the fabricator (via a list or take off) or detailed ­­­­per a shop drawing or sketch.  The “project name” is not indicated.  We do know that the beams are to be curved the hard way (x-x axis) and are part of a roof structure, or a canopy, or that these angles, rolled long leg-out are for lintels, used to support masonry for arched openings, or that these pipes are curved to specific radius for a sculpture, a canopy or the shell of a building. Even though the “end use” may be known, the project or job name is not known.  Hence, the answer, “I don’t know.”

But there are times when the question is asked, “Is that one of your jobs, Dad?” and the reply is a definite “Yes”! “Our company curved those steel tubes the easy way for that building.”  There is a sense of pride and satisfaction of a job well done.

Curved steel is all around us, even while on our vacations.  So, if you know your company provided the curved steel for a specific project, be it those beams curved the hardway, that are part of the roof system for a Dick’s Sporting Goods or the curved pipe for the Los Carpinteros, “Free Basket” at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, or the pipe bends that form the bollards at the gas station, there is plenty of curved steel to be seen and appreciated.


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