What is the meaning of “Yes, we have the capacity to bend that beam”?

Probably the most common question we get from new customers is, What is your capacity for bending, particularly for the bending of beams. We have a quick and easy answer: W44x290# beams the “hard way” (x-x axis) and the “easy way” (y-y axis) as well as W36 x 848# the “easy way”—all on the world’s largest beam bender. But a more comprehensive answer would include information on all of the following:

  • The size of the section. Some lighter sections are sometimes more difficult to bend than heavier ones.
  • The capacity in each orientation: hard way (x-x axis), easy way (y-y axis), off axis, with reverse curves, with multiple radii, or bending in two planes.
  • The radius, particularly if the radius is relatively tight.
  • The radius tolerances for the specified part.
  • The amount of deformation, if any, that is allowed for the application.
  • The amount of excess material required at each end, if any, for trim.
  • Most bending machines do not start bending a beam until a certain amount of straight section has moved through the bending process.
  • Whether there are straight tangents or not.
  • What is the maximum length that can be curved within the confines of a given plant, and that can be loaded and shipped on a truck.

Recently, we have seen a case relating to maximum capacity involving rather heavy beams rolled on the strong axis (“hard way”) to a tight radius. Although Chicago Metal Rolled Products had successfully curved sample parts for this project, it was not successful in its bid for the whole job.

The company that won the contract bent the beams but its bending process caused up to 5/8 inch buckling or crippling of the web. It has yet to be determined if this deformation will be acceptable in its application. So, this company in some sense has the capacity to bend these big beams, but not really because the distortion will probably not be acceptable.

Have you run across this issue of someone saying they could bend some steel, but it turned out that the quality was not what you expected?


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