Structural steel fabrication has evolved to provide a wide range of solutions for nearly every type of building out there. From long bridges to skyscrapers, different projects demand unique and complex design specifications to ensure long-term quality, safety, and cost efficiency. One interesting aspect of steel structure design is the shape of metal being used and how that unique combination can help to create effective solutions for unique challenges found in the engineering world. One way to ensure that you receive the best results on your project is to work with one of the most experienced steel fabrication companies in the state. For more than half a century, our structural steel fabricators in Michigan have worked hard to build a reputation of honesty, reliability, and quality. Sanilac Steel has proudly provided quality design, fabrication, and steel erection services to help get our client’s projects done on time and on budget.

Our team is versatile enough to provide a wide range of steel services to our clients. Today, we’ll continue to highlight different shapes used in structural steel as well as their uses and benefits. If you’re in need an experienced crew to take on your project, be sure to reach out to us!

The Apple of Your I

I-beams, or universal beams, are so versatile and popular in construction that they are often the only shape of steel identified by the average citizen. This proven style relies on two flanges with a vertical web, providing a high level of resistance. Each section provides a beneficial function:

Flanges provide structural support, delivering protection from bending movements
The web is useful for resisting shear forces

Combining these two elements allows an I-beam to perform very well when carrying loads along the web’s plane. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a large structure that does not rely on this beam for structural support.

Stable Steel Sections

Hollow Steel Section (HSS) is a type of metal that consists of a hollow structure of varying shapes to provide specific design strengths for multiple-axis loading applications. You can imagine a square that is metal on the perimeter and empty on the inside. HSS products can come in other shapes, including:

  • Rectangular
  • Circular
  • Elliptical

There are many applications where tube steel (square products) can be used for an optimal outcome, especially in structures where loads will be distributed in varying directions. You’ll normally see HSS attached to welded steel frames, providing varying degrees of support to ensure that your structure meets design specifications. You can also fill hollowed beams with concrete to improve rigidity and fire resistance. Also commonly referred to as “lolly columns,” this form of construction provides a cost-effective means of increasing the building’s maximum compressive strength while also protecting from dents and other damages.

Protective Pipes

One application that is often confused with HSS is the use of structural steel pipes in construction. While both are tubular and hollow, steel pipes are not always designed to be used in structural applications. Instead, you can rely on these pipes for delivering different fluids and solids into and out of your structure. Pipes must adhere to a different set of standards to ensure durability and precision, but this application is often reserved for those working with gas, oil, or water. Other applications would include:

  • Compressed air systems
  • Plumbing and sanitary needs
  • Petroleum transportation
  • Transport of bulk solids across the facility
  • Gas or liquid transportation
  • Concrete casings when applicable

The process of manufacturing pipes also includes different application techniques. Centrifugal casting is the most common process utilized, where a mold is rotated at high speeds while metal is poured to create a thin, conforming tube.

Ornamental Metal Work

In some applications, it’s best to find structural steel contractors who specialize in ornamental metal work over load-bearing applications. From beautiful gates and front entries to personalized handrails and stairs, steel’s superior characteristics allow us to create precise products that are typically only limited by your imagination. Our team can work with you to create decorative pieces such as windows and exterior furniture to deliver a high level of quality to any project. Spiral staircases are projects which require precision during fabrication and construction. It’s important to find a team that can meet your structural and ornamental needs with comprehensive design solutions.

Custom Steel Fabrication Services

No matter what the project requires, our structural steel fabricators can assist Michigan clients with customized steel structure design services. From box enclosures for propane tanks to personalized I-beam dimensions for cutting-edge applications, our experts are here and ready to help. Since 1967, Sanilac Steel has worked to deliver the best results for each of our clients, providing honest, reliable, and cost-effective services. If you have a project that demands customized steel design, our knowledgeable staff and modern equipment are here to provide quality solutions. Contact us today to learn more!