When you see ornamental steel, you might assume that it is cast iron. In many cases, this would be true. However, with the skills and technology available today rolling and bending steel to get the desired look of a curved cast iron product is becoming much more popular for many reasons. Recently a job came through the shop for a decorative piece that was going to be attached to the side of a light post to give it a more aesthetically pleasing look. This project would be quite similar in scope to many other ornamental cast iron jobs.
Originally, the customer had planned to get the design created out of cast iron. Although, after finding out that the lead time was going to be more than three weeks, he started looking for better options. Due to the intricacies of crafting cast iron ornamental products, it is not uncommon to see such an example. Accordingly, the customer contacted Chicago Metal Rolled Products to see if we could help him create this decorative piece without the long lead time for the traditional method of construction. With a lead time of 3 days, CMRP rolled a series of 1” X 3” flat bars to different radii then welded and punched the material to the customer’s specifications. Utilizing a bender roller in this situation with the knowledge and fabrication experience to meet custom design requests, they were able to shorten their lead time to finish the project significantly.
With the tight radii and precision that bender roller companies can offer today, customers are now using rolled steel more frequently for these types of ornamental fixtures. Every day, rolling and bending companies are pushing their limits and becoming more adept at mimicking the look of specialty curved cast iron shapes. So next time you require a precise ornamental piece that could be formed by bending or rolling, try calling a company with that specialization first to see if they can cut costs and lead time to help you meet the expectations of your customers.