Why Speed and Response Time Is Critical in Profile Bending
The bending of steel profiles like angles, bars, beams, channels, tees, pipe and tube, often requires short turn-around times to meet the needs of its customers. Three industrial groups require curving of steel sections: structural steel fabricators, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and mechanical contractions.
At times it seems counterintuitive that structural steel fabricators would need a fast delivery for structures that may have been planned for months if not years. What often happens, however, is that although a date certain for completion of a project may have been set, any number of events can cause a delay in a project. Waiting for final approvals by the owner, the architect, and the engineer of a project can cause significant delays. Not to mention delays in waiting for permits. Once the work is released for fabrication, curved steel sections are needed almost immediately at the fabricator because they are often among the first items to be fabricated.
Chicago’s Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park was initially scheduled to open in the year 2000, the millennium, but its construction was delayed four years. Nevertheless, Chicago Metal Rolled Products was requested to expedite curved pipe for the trellis because an “X node” had to be fitted into the elements above the stage before the stainless cladding could be fully installed. So even with a four year delay, Chicago Metal was asked to deliver a “rush job” which it did—on time.
X Node installed behind stainless cladding at Millennium ParkOEMs require fast delivery at times because they can not accurately forecast their customers needs and because they do not want to store more inventory than necessary. The best OEMs use lean manufacturing techniques to respond quickly to their changing needs and seek out suppliers who are equally responsive.
Mechanical contractors often operate in a fast paced environment. They may need angle rings for ductwork in a steel mill which is shut down for repairs. Each day the mill is down can cost the owners dearly so responsiveness becomes all important. The speed of construction of new mills or other factories is also critical because the sooner they are operating, the sooner the owners can start earning money.
Lastly, quick response in profile bending affords customers opportunities not otherwise available. For example, if the day we receive the order we produce, say, 40 large angle rings for a customer whose truck comes to Chicago periodically, they would be ready in our shop for him to pick up at his convenience.