SteelFab operates six different fabrication plants across the Southeastern US with a combined capacity of over 100,000 tons annually. These plants utilize the latest high-tech machinery, top-notch facilities, and cutting edge computer driven processes. The most important components of our fabrication capacity are the over 500 highly skilled employees working throughout these plants. Our employees are truly craftsmen whose skills, knowledge, and passion are poured into each piece that leaves the plant.Download Steel Fabricators' Review - Volume 31, Summer 2009
SteelFab has invested in several new pieces of CNC equipment that utilize the latest technology in the industry including high speed drilling, automated tool changing, and advanced part layout marking. This equipment is capable of sawing, drilling, punching, shearing, and burning every type of structural steel. Using these automated machines SteelFab, as a corporation, is capable of machining up to 2,000 tons of material each week.
Using CNC equipment, all plate and flat bar is processed in each plant’s plate shop. Typical plates pass through machines capable of cutting using plasma and/or oxy-fuel torches. This type of advanced equipment can also punch slots or drill holes using high speed carbide drills. Simpler shapes can be cut using 10’ wide shears and then bent using a press brake to make concrete pour stops, embeds, or other forms of bent plate detail.
Beams, Columns, Channel, Tubing and Pipe:
Each plant has several beam lines equipped with saws, drills, copers, cambering machines, and all the necessary material handling equipment to run efficiently. This equipment is housed outside of the shop to increase fabrication space and improve safety. As each piece of material is machined, there are checks to ensure the dimensions are within tolerance of our internal quality standards. Each piece created is bar coded, scanned and documented as completed in SteelFab’s database software.
Assembly & Fabrication
After all the required steel has been machined, employees begin transferring crucial dimensions from the drawings to the actual piece of steel. This information contains detail part marks, exact dimensions, and the necessary weld symbols used for final fabrication. This process requires skilled craftsmen, many of whom have been working for SteelFab for several decades.
SteelFab has a dedicated shop for the fabrication of heavier assemblies that can weigh up to 120,000 lbs. Using robotic controlled Submerged Arc machines, we are capable of building any dimension plate girder, box column, or truss required by our customers.
Truss and Frame Fabrication
SteelFab has areas in some shops for the assembly of large frames and trusses. By fabricating the finished assembly together, SteelFab is able to ensure customers that the truss will fit properly when erecting the assembly in the field.
While each plant has the ability to fabricate miscellaneous steel, one facility specializes in the manufacturing of stairs, handrails, ladders and other non structural metal products. These custom designed assemblies can be made from several different materials including stainless steel, brass, and aluminum.
All welding is performed by AWS certified welders. For specialty jobs, SteelFab has robotic controlled Submerged Arc Welding machines that increase welding speeds and reduce defects. For specific welding requirements, SteelFab uses vertical welding pits that improve welding speeds, quality, and productivity. All welds are inspected, documented and approved by an AWS certified welding inspector.
An inspection by one of the several AWS certified welding inspectors is the final step in the fabrication of every piece of steel. This evaluation covers welds, material imperfections and several other aspects as described in the AISC manual. 100% of welds are visually inspected. Ultrasonic Inspection and Magnetic Particle Inspection are performed when required by Project Specifications or building code. In addition to final approval of material, the QC department regulates and assists with the fabrication to ensure that all codes and procedures are followed.
SteelFab has the ability to apply any required coating in one of our heated coatings facilities. The fabricated steel is cleaned with a shot blaster first to remove dirt, grease, mill scale and rust. SteelFab’s coatings department has an AISC Certification for Sophisticated Paint Endorsement as well as a SSPC certified coatings inspector. Coatings vary from standard shop paint to a complex zinc based multi-coat paint system. All galvanizing is performed off site using local businesses.
Using detailer generated reports material such as steel beams, tubing, channel, angle, and plate are purchased from one of SteelFab’s many vendors. These vendors are steel mills and service centers located regionally as well as internationally. Material is shipped to each plant via rail roads, trucks and occasionally using ocean bulk carriers. Once material is delivered to one of SteelFab’s fabrication facilities, it is received by following a standardized procedure. At this point material is checked to verify that it is within the tolerances listed in ASTM-A6 Standards manual. Each plant’s inventory is maintained by software called Fabtrol, a database designed specifically for the steel fabrication industry.
Using forklifts and cranes, finished material is safely loaded onto trucks to be sent to the job site. SteelFab has increased the accuracy of its shipping tickets by scanning bar codes on the fabricated material to generate a bill of lading. SteelFab uses third party shipping partners to ensure timely deliveries of each load of steel.
SteelFab has implemented a bar coding system that is used for tracking production of material through the shop as well as generating shipping tickets. This process improves accuracy and increases efficiency. Bar codes are applied to various labels including galvanize resistant tags for traceability from the shop to the field. These highly visible tags quickly and easily communicate accurate information to workers in both the shop and the field. SteelFab is ready for further advancements in this area including heat number traceability, job site receiving and real-time Tekla completion models
Due to the fast track nature of some jobs, SteelFab has intergrated the usage of tablet PCs. These tablets give fabrication employees access to real time drawings, revisions, and responses from detailers regarding fabrication questions. They also allow employees to zoom in on sections of drawings enabling them to reduce mistakes and downtime. One goal from this improvement is a reduction in paper waste. Through similar projects, paper waste into the shop has decreased by almost 50%.