There are several solutions to the challenges of shipping curved steel sections. The challenges include safe loading of the trucks, ensuring timely delivery, and keeping costs low.
There is a large range of sizes of curved steel: from eight-inch diameter angle flanges to W44 x 290# wide flange beams 100ft long. The former can be shipped by UPS; the latter can be shipped by a specially designed, flatbed truck. Some trucks incorporate steerable back wheels. Some trucks carry an extra set of wheels which are attached to one end of a curved beam. The curved beam is attached to the cab at the other end. The beam becomes–in effect–the “body” of the truck. An experienced shipping clerk can choose the most efficient and least costly method of transportation.
Directly related to the means of transporation is the method of loading bent steel on a truck. Particularly with large steel sections, a shipper tries to maximize the loads while constructing them in the safest manner possible. For example, if all the pieces of steel are loaded on the truck curved in the same direction, the load might not be balanced on the flatbed. Instead, half the steel sections might be loaded on the truck curved the opposite way to balance the load. At times, special framing is attached to the truck bed and the curved steel to create a balanced load within the allowable height and width limits.
Shipping decisions also affect the timely delivery of finished goods. Curved steel sections are often required within a very tight time frame. The costs to the customer resulting from late delivery can far exceed the cost of both the shipping and the product.
Curved steel sections are shipped all over the United States. Especially when the shipping distance is great, freight costs should be minimized. Savings can be achieved by maximizing the loads, by seeking competitive pricing from reliable shippers, and by combining loads being carried to the same areas of the country.