Steel Structures Can be a HOT Business

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Jul 17, 2015 2:00:00 PM

I just got back from vacation and it was HOT.  I started thinking that this must be the hottest time of the year for most of us.  It got me wondering about the Safety of all the folks out there in the manufacturing industry. I went to the best source I know, Tim Adam with DIS-TRAN Steel.  Grant it, I work in an office (thank goodness), but I work with a bunch who do not get the luxury of air conditions and fans.

In the Utility Industry you have a vast array of people doing outside labors.  Contractors erecting structures, truck drivers loading/unloading trucks, field project folks supervising as well as the steel fabricator and manufacture the steel structures (this one hits close to home).  It’s important to remember that Safety must come FIRST, no matter what you’re doing.

When it's hot, drink plenty of water!

 Below is a list of Heat Related Illnesses:

  1. Heat Stroke - is the most serious form of heat injury and is a medical emergency. Heat stroke often occurs as a progression from milder heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps and heat exhaustion. But it can strike even if you have no previous signs of heat injury. Heat stroke can kill or cause damage to the brain and other internal organs. Although heat stroke mainly affects people over age 50, it also takes a toll on healthy young athletes. The hallmark symptom of heat stroke is a core body temperature above 105° Fahrenheit. But fainting may be the first sign.  If you suspect that someone has heat stroke -- also known as sunstroke -- you should call 911 immediately. Until help arrives, move the victim to a cool area and remove excess clothing. Fan and spray them with cool water. Offer sips of water if the victim is conscious.

    It is important to hydrate your body well prior to being subjected to hot work environment. Drink and eat a well-balanced meal the night before and have a good breakfast prior to a work shift. Fruit and fruit juices are good to help hydrate your body and restore electrolytes. Do not consume energy drinks as they are full of sugar and your body has to work harder to digest them. Gator aid and Power aid help restore electrolytes but need to be consumed in a 1 to 3 water bottle ratio to help prevent kidney stones. Watch the color of your urine. If it is bright yellow, you are not consuming enough water.

  2. Heat exhaustion - can occur after you've been exposed to high temperatures for several days and have become dehydrated. Symptoms include confusion, dizziness, headache and fatigue.  Although heat exhaustion isn't as serious as heat stroke, it isn't something to be taken lightly. Without proper intervention, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, which can damage the brain and other vital organs, and even cause death. If you, or anyone else, have symptoms of heat exhaustion immediately get out of the heat and rest, preferably in an air-conditioned room. If you can't get inside, try to find the nearest cool and shady place.

  3. Heat cramps - are painful, brief muscle cramps. Muscles may spasm or jerk involuntarily. Heat cramps can occur during exercise or work in a hot environment or begin a few hours later. Heat cramps usually involve muscles that are fatigued by heavy work, such as calves, thighs, and shoulders.  Painful cramps occur in the arms, legs, or stomach while on the job, or later at home. Move to a cool area at once if cramping is experienced. Loosen clothing and drink cool water or an electrolyte replacement beverage, such as Gatorade®. Seek medical aid if the cramps are severe, or don't go away.

  4. Dehydration - occurs when the loss of body fluids exceeds the amount that is taken in. With dehydration, more water is moving out of our cells and bodies than what we take in through drinking.  Along with the water, small amounts of electrolytes are also lost. When we lose too much water, our bodies may become out of balance or dehydrated. Severe dehydration can lead to death.  See the Dehydration Urine Color Chart help identify whether you may be dehydrated or not.  Click here

As a quick resource OSHA has Quick Cards with valuable information for quick references.

Osha3154Card

Working or playing in a hot environment puts stress on the body and when combined with physical work, loss of fluids or fatigue it could have detrimental effects.  WATER is crucial and remember to not push yourself beyond your limits.

At DIS-TRAN Steel, we have made it a priority to educate and remind all of our employees the symptoms and prevention techniques.  Our Safety Manager keeps in contact with all the supervisors about weather conditions, heat indices, and conducts multiple heat related Tool Boxes.

How do you keep cool while working in a HOT environment?  We would love to hear from you so please use the comment section below.

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Topics: safety, contractors, steel fabricator

3 Transmission Structures Broken Down

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Jul 7, 2015 9:45:00 AM

When designing transmission structures...

it’s not as simple as saying “ok, I want self-supporting tangent mono poles with delta configuration for my entire 80 mile stretch.”  While that idea might be more economical than having h-frame or 3-pole structures, it’s just not practical.

Ultimately, the wire configurations determine which type of structure will be used, and typically there will be a mix of these structures in order to follow the right-of-way through small or tight turns. Right-of-ways go alongside or through interstates, highways, fields, woods and even water, so an engineer must keep all these situations in mind when designing.

Three common transmission structures:

  •  Tangent
    • Used when transmission route is straight
    • Generally, no longitudinal loads on the structure
  • Angle
    • Used when transmission route changes direction
    • Used from anywhere less than a 5 degree angle to a 90 degree angle
  • Dead-End
    • As name applies, dead-ends are designed to take the full component of every wires’ tension
    • Does not necessarily mean end of transmission line 

                              

tangent_info_graoh_ANGLE_INFORGROAH

 

 

 

 

 

dead-end_infogrpah_pic

 

Whether the structures are tangent, angle or dead-end, wire phases can run in multiple configurations.  Horizontal Configurations provide the lowest profile. Vertical Configurations require the minimum width right-of-way. And Delta Configurations is an attempt to use the value of both horizontal and vertical configurations to maintain phase clearances.

Transmission structures can be classified as either self-supporting or guyed.

Self-Supporting Structures do not use guys: meaning they are not tied to the ground or any other structure in a way that offers additional support. They are better for restrictions to right-of-ways and tend to have loads small enough to not warrant guys.

Guying of structures is used to support the structure and allow for a more economical design in both the steel structure and foundation. Guying reduces bending and deflection. However, the downside is that it requires more right-of-way. 

*Here are some main contributing factors to keep in mind when deciding on whether or not to guy a structure:

  • Structural loading
  • Right-of-way requirements
  • Aesthetic design criteria

**Here are some other contributing factors you may want to consider:

  • Line voltage
  • Electric air gap clearance requirements
  • Ground clearance requirequirements
  • Insulation requirements
  • Number of circuits to be supported
  • Electric and magnetic field limits

There is so much to learn about Transmission Structures.  What questions do you have?  We would love to hear from you so please leave a comment below.

Check out our newest resource for Anchored Transmission Structures.  Click below.
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Topics: transmission structures, guyed structures, tangent, dead-end h-frame structures, configurations

3 Common Crossarm Preservatives

Posted by Melissa Hines on Jun 22, 2015 11:03:00 AM

Plastipak2

Are you treating your wood right?

Wood utility poles and crossarms are common objects seen throughout our communities along the streets and in our yards. These poles and crossarms are used to support and run electrical lines to our homes and businesses - making these products vital to our daily lives. Prolonging the useful life and structural integrity of these items is aided by treating the wood prior to installation.

Wood treatment refers to protecting wood from damage caused by insects, fungi, decay, climate and extreme weather conditions. Treating wood with the right chemical preservatives can extend the useful life and protect it from the harsh environment. Choosing the right wood preservative can save an utility time, frustration and money. The three most common wood treatments include:

  • Pentacholorphenol (Penta)
  • Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA)
  • Creosote.

Pentacholorphenol (Penta) has been a preservative and maintenance staple of the Canadian and American utility industries for more than 60 years. Penta is a broad spectrum biocide and was previously used in herbicides, algaecides, fungicides and disinfectants. Today, the use of Penta in the U.S. and Canada is limited to wood preservation applied by trained-certified pesticide applicators. The production and use of Penta is regulated by the EPA and is an approved preservative in the American Wood Protection Association. (AWPA) Since its introduction in the utility industry, Penta has become the preferred wood preservative for poles and crossarms and is used extensively for treatment of laminated beams since it will neither wet the wood nor effect the glue joints. Penta can be used as a wood preservative for both Douglas Fir and Southern Yellow Pine crossarms.

Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) is a water based wood preservative. It is a mix of chromium, copper and arsenic. Recognized for the greenish tint it imparts to wood, CCA has been extremely common for many decades and is used primarly on Southern Yellow Pine poles and crossarms. DIS-TRAN Wood Products, LLC provides this alternative wood preservation to its customers making up about 5% of the crossarms we supply.

Creosote is one of the oldest of the commercial  preservatives. It is made by distilling coal tar and is often thinned with a light oil such as diesel fuel or mineral spirits. The color of Creosote is usually dark brown to black with an oily appearance and odor. Most wood treated with Creosote is used in marine pilings, utility poles and railroad crossties.

Treating_plant_1

At DIS-TRAN Wood Products, LLC, we not only manufacture a complete line of Douglas Fir and Southern Yellow Pine crossarms, but we also house our own treatment facility. Our treatment plant is located adjacent to our manufacturing facility in Pineville, LA. DIS-TRAN Wood Products, LLC have three trained-certified applicators onsite who follow all industry and environmental standards. With these three professionals onsite, DIS-TRAN Wood Products, LLC can treat approximately 1,300 arms with Penta on a single eight hour shift. Having our own onsite treatment plant allows us to have a fast response for storm emergenies. About 95% of the crossarms we manufacture are treated with Penta. 

Using the right chemical preservative for treating wood can greatly increase the life span and save a lot of time and money. Is there a wood preservative treatment you prefer to use? Would you like to see DIS-TRAN Wood Products, LLC offer an alternative wood treatment?  Leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you.

 

 

Check out our Easy to follow Preparation Plan for when storms are threatening you and your customers. Preparation for Storms

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Topics: wood crossarms, southern yellow pine, douglas fir, crossarms, penta, wood treatment, chemical preservative, AWPA, CCA, wood preservative

Tips for Successful Galvanizing Touch-Ups in the Field

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Jun 3, 2015 8:26:43 AM

“How do I successfully touch-up galvanizing in the field?”

This is a common question about substation and transmission structures.  There could be a number of reasons why touch-ups may be necessary in the field.

  • Extremely rough handling
  • Installation techniques
  • In-service conditions

galvanied-1

There are certain factors to consider when repairing galvanizing in the field, such as: the size of the area to be repaired, the ease of use of the repair material and the performance of the repair method.  There are also standard specifications to follow for the repair of galvanized coatings.  ASTM A780 covers methods used to repair damaged hot-dip galvanized coating on hardware and structural shapes as well as required coating thicknesses.  There are three acceptable forms of touch-up.

  1. Zinc Based Solders - achieved by applying zinc alloy by stick or powder form.  Most common alloys are zinc-tin-lead, zinc-cadmium and zinc-tin-copper.  To prepare the surface use a wire brush, lightly ground, or mildly blast clean and remove all weld flux and spatter.  The area being repaired needs to be preheated to 600 F.  This is the most difficult method of repair.
  2. Zinc Rich Paints - either by brush or spray is applied to a clean, dry surface. The paint must contain between 65% to 69% metallic zinc by weight or greater that 92% by weight in dry film.  To prepare the surface the area must be cleaned either be blasted, power tool cleaned or even hand tools (wire brush). This is the most commonly used field repair method and can easily be done without a need for blasting or power tools. Zinc-rich painting should be avoided in high humidity and/or low temperatures.
  3. Metallizing achieved by melting zinc power or zinc wire in a flame or electric arc. The zinc used is minimum of 99.5% pure.  To prepare the surface it must be blasted cleaned to SSPC-SP10/NACE No.1 near white metal and must be free of oil, grease, weld flux residue, weld splatter and corrosion products.  The cleaning must include surrounding, undamaged coating.  Spraying should be done by a skilled worker in horizontal overlapping lines to create a uniform thickness.  Not recommended for high humidity locations.

The coating thickness of the repaired area must match the coating thickness of the surrounding area. If zinc-rich paint is used, the coating thickness must be 50% higher, but not greater than 4.0 mils.

Maximum_Size_of_Repairable_Area

Be sure to discuss any touch-ups with your steel fabricator or galvanizer. They may have suggestions on which method has worked best for certain circumstances.  Final coating thicknesses need to be agreed upon between customer and vendor and be measured by the methods in ASTM A 123/A 123M.  Remember that the surface of the repaired coating should be free of any lumps, course areas and loose particles.

For more about galvanizing check our our free and easy resource - Galvanizing Ebook below.

Galvanizing eBook

*References used for this article are from www.galvanizeit.org.  

 

 

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Topics: galvanized structural steel, galvanized coating, galvanized coating appearances

DIS-TRAN Take2: How to Calculate the Anchor Bolt Embedment of Transmission Poles

Posted by Wendy Gintz on May 7, 2015 12:30:00 PM

It's been awhile, but we are still at it...  Thats, hopefully createing ueseful tips that make your job easier.

AnchorBolt

We have had a sort of series of Take2s referencing Anchor Bolts.  For this edition we will look at calculating the embedment of steel transmission structures.  Please feel free to go back and view the two previous Take2 Blog posts.

     Anchor Bolt Loads
     Anchor Bolt Design

What you will hear about...

  1. What to consider when calculating the embedment.
  2. What resources to use.
  3. A working example
  4. Additional information to consider

   

Thank you for viewing the DIS-TRAN Take2. We look forward to your feed back.  Please leave any comments or questions you may have about transmission pole or anchor bolt design below.

Until next time...

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Topics: transmission structures, transmission poles, design of steel transmission pole structures, anchor bolts

9 Must Haves for a Steel Structure Specification

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Apr 22, 2015 3:30:00 PM

BananaSplit

Specification are to Steel Structures like...
Cherries are to a Banana Split.

Specifications come in all shapes and sizes.

From the very informal 3 page document to the all-encompassing formidable documents.  The specification is a tool for the Owner (End User) to convey their minimum project requirements to the supplier.  Defined by Wikipedia, it is a set of documented requirements to be satisfied by a material, design, product or service and also a type of technical standard.

In the utility industry we see specifications presented in many different formats.  As a result, it is very important that a specification be clear and easy to follow.  Be careful about providing multiple specifications and documents that start contradicting one another. In these wordle_2situations the Owner’s requirements and overall message can get lost in a sea of documents resulting in different interpretations by the suppliers.  This can ultimately lead to proposals that can’t be compared properly, Owners not getting what they want, or additional unforeseen costs. When it comes to fabricating substation and transmission steel structures there are many variables that need to be relayed during the design, detail, and fabrication phases.  These specifications provide that direction.  Whether you are using an already created specification, updating a previous version or crafting a brand new one, there are certain sections you want to include.  Below are 9 sections that are not to be missed when deciding the content for your specifications. 

  1. Purpose/Scope – This is the heart of the document.  This is the owner’s chance to define the purpose of the document and clearly layout their expectations for the scope of work.  Example: Intended to serve as a system wide guide for structural design of steel structures.
  2. References – This section typically lists out the required design standards and any other applicable documents.   (e.g. ASTM Standards, ASCE Design Stanards, etc.) 
  3. Submittals – This section typically covers the owner’s expectations of any document to be submitted by the supplier.  This includes things like bid proposal requirements listing out the needed forms and design summaries.  It also covers formal design and drawing submittal requirements.
  4. Loading and Geometry – If the scope of work includes design, this section typically covers the minimum information needed by the Structure Designer to design the structures.  This would include things like loading criteria, unique weather conditions and terrain for the service area, and any other usual loading conditions the designer should consider.    This section also covers the different structure types, general layout of the structures, and the types of connections permitted.  (e.g. slip-fit vs. flange, embedded vs. base plated)
  5. Design – This section typically includes any restrictions to the design, material, field erection, fabrication, etc.  Examples of this include anchor bolt circle limits, minimum material thicknesses allowed, deflection limits, aesthetic preferences, weight limitations, etc.
  6. Fabrication – This covers owner’s expectations of workmanship and quality. 
  7. Finishing/Coating – What type of coating is supposed to be used such has galvanizing, painting, sandblasted, etc.
  8. Inspection – This section typically covers the type of inspections and testing required for the project. 

Of course these are just a few of the main sections.  There may be other sections that pertain to your specific product need, corporate formalities and/or industry.  No matter what your final Specification Document instills, it is important that you and those that use them agree on what is expected from a product and/or service.  This form of communication between the two parties can be a key component to a successful project.

How do you communicate your expectations to your vendors?  We would love to hear from you so please leave a comment below and let us know if this information has been useful.

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Topics: substation design, specific standards for structures, Engineering, design of steel transmission pole structures

DIS-TRAN Wood Products: A 50 Year Supplier of Wood Utility Products

Posted by Melissa Hines on Apr 1, 2015 3:52:00 PM

DIS-TRAN Wood Products, LLC has been providing distribution crossarms to utilities for 50 years. Today, we design, manufacture and treat a complete line of Douglas Fir and Southern Yellow Pine distribution crossarms, end plated crossarms, ground wire molding and wood transmission arms and assemblies. We're celebrating 50 years in the business by reflecting on some of our major milestones. 

HistoryTimeline

In July 2006, we began production in our newest location in Vancouver, WA. With two separate facilities located in Pineville, LA and Vancouver, WA, we are available to customers from coast to coast for quick lead times and amazing response to storm restoration. These two locations enables flexibility and allows us more opportunities to effeciently serve the entire country.

Through Columbia Vista Corporation, DIS-TRAN Wood Products, LLC plant facilities in Pineville, LA and Vancouver, WA have both been Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, COC #SW-COC-00244. We have made a commitment to the environment and to promoting the improvement of forest management. We are also the only certified environmentally friendly "green" wood products supplier.

We added transmission products to our scope of work in October 2011. These transmission products include x-braces, vee and knee braces and tension braces along with the necessary hardware.

50 Years in the Making
With the addition of a full time engineer on staff, we can provide you with detailed drawings of structures and assemblies along with accompanying material lists to aid in planning and construction. Our engineer is also available to answer any questions related to our products. 

Is there any additional products you would like to see DIS-TRAN Wood Products, LLC carry? Please let us know. We are always looking to pursue new opportunites especially if it will help fulfill the needs of our customers.

Make sure to follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings.

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Topics: wood distribution crossarms, transmission structures, manufacturing, wood transmission structures, Engineering

SUBSTATIONS: 3 Common Steel Structures Found Inside

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Feb 26, 2015 7:54:00 AM

Before electricity can travel into your home, it must pass through a substation first. A substation is an assemblage of equipment where electrical energy is passed in order to be stepped up or stepped down.

Transformers inside a substation change the voltage levels between high transmission voltages and lower distribution voltages. The high transmission voltages are used to carry electricity longer distances, like across the country, whereas lower distribution voltages travel to industrial, commercial or residential consumers.

In a T&D system, the major components typically consist of transmission lines, distribution lines, substations and switchyards.

For this particular Blog, lets just identify the Main Substation Structures.

1.)    Dead-End Structures

2.)    Static Poles

3.)    Bus Supports/ Equipment Stands

Dead-end Structures are where the line ends or angles off. They are typically constructed with heavier steel in case they are needed to carry heavier tension. The two most common dead-end structures are H-Frame and A-Frame structures.

HFrame Substation Structure   t&d_1-resized-600

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Static Pole, is a single, free-standing pole that creates a shield to protect all of the equipment inside a substation from lightning. Static poles may or may not have overhead shield wires attached to enhance protection. It depends on the size of the substation as to how many static poles are needed.    

NOTE: Tapered tubular design is typically efficient and economical in dead-end andstatic pole situations when compared to AISC standard shape structures.

 

 

describe the image

 

Bus Supports are the most basic structure found inside a substation. Its main purpose is to provide support for rigid bus as it travels though the substation. Rigid bus is stiff and will not move around during     weather events. Unlike rigid, flexible bus is typically used in high   seismic areas in order to be able to move and dampen the seismic forces that occur. 

 

Examples of some equipment stands include:t can be of significant weight and must meet specific guidelines for structural loads, deflection limits or clearance requirements. Equipment Stands are the structures that the actual equipment sit on.

  • Potential Transformers (PT) Stands
  • Current Transformers (CT) Stands
  • Coupling Capacitor Voltage Transformer (CCVT ) Stands
  • Lightning Arresters (LA)
  • Switch Stands

 

When it comes to which type of steel is used, galvanized or weathering, inside a substation, I won’t say that you will never see weathering steel, but it is very rare. Weathering steel is used more in transmission structures than substation. One of the main reasons is because aesthetically, galvanized steel “looks” better inside a substation. Typically a substation is surrounded by a fence, has a metal building inside as well as white rock on the ground surrounding it. So the look of weathering steel, which is usually a dark brown color, aesthetically, goes better with a transmission line running through the woods to blend in versus in a substation.

Let us know if this information was helpful.  Comment below with and questions you may have, we would love to hear from you.

 

  Ultimate Utility Guide

 

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Topics: steel structures, DIS-TRAN Steel, standard shape steel structures, switch stands, substation, dead-end structures, H-Frame structures, dead-end h-frame structures

Follow-Up: 10 Quick Tips to Help Save Money on Structural Steel

Posted by Brooke Barone on Feb 4, 2015 9:39:00 AM

Last week we pointed out how to reduce lead times and save money from the customer’s perspective by properly submitting RFQs that were neat, included technical specifications, loads, site address, delivery date and more.  

This week we are focusing more on how to save money from a design standpoint, which ultimately can reduce lead times. From the customer to sales, purchasing, estimating, engineering, detailing, fabrication, galvanizing  and down to shipping, knowing how projects are priced and what factors affect lead time and cost, helps to avoid any hidden surprises or confusion.

02.18.15

So, we’ve listed out 10 tips to help save money on structural steel, however, they’re not meant to be taken as the rule in every situation when dealing with different fabricators or design specifications.

1. Weathering steel generally costs less because unlike galvanized steel, it doesn’t get the galvanized coating. (Typically see weathering steel more with transmission structures.)

2. Usually, the more steel ordered at one time could help give you a better price. In this instance, if you had different structures for one substation, instead of ordering separately, try to coordinate to order all the structures together, which could save money on freight and other expenses.

3. Loads with over-length and over-width sections could get costly because you have to get freight permitting depending on the states along the delivery route. Typically, the price for wider structures is greater than longer structures.

4. Expedited lead times can increase price. Since a production backlog is already in place, fabricators would need to expedite engineering, detailing, rearrange product schedule or may have to include some overtime.

5. Special weld inspection requirements and tests that are beyond typical industry standards could raise the price. If the fabricator needs to pull in a third party to inspect, send material off for testing or bring in an expert, it could increase the price.

6. Direct Embedded structures typically cost less than base plate structures because they require less material and labor. (Depending on certain requirements such as environment, design or structure type)

7. For transmission structures, utilizing the same design for multiple arms can reduce design and fabrication.

8. Generally, by having the least amount of detail on the pole like vangs, equipment or brackets can reduce detailing and fabrication times, as well as weighs less, which helps cost.

9. For substation, using standard structures can save time and money because over time, engineers and detailers can pull these designs, offering better lead times.

10. Having correct drawings and proper weld symbols is critical to fabrication drawings because these symbols quickly indicate the type of weld joint needed to satisfy the requirements for the intended service. Incomplete or vague weld symbols can be interpreted different ways, questioning if the connection will hold up to loadings, which requires backtracking and adds more time and cost.

Ultimate Utility Picture Book

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Tips from Steel Fabricator: How To Reduce Lead Times and Save Money

Posted by Brooke Barone on Jan 28, 2015 11:58:37 AM

A few years ago, TLC came out with a show called Extreme Couponing where everyday people mastered the skill on saving hundreds of dollars at the grocery store by providing coupons. It sounds simple, but it requires much effort and attention to detail, that honestly, many of us opt out of doing.

Unfortunately, substation and transmission steel structures don’t have a “buy one, get one free” coupon, but there are ways to reduce lead times as well as save money in the process.

*The more information a customer provides on the request for quote (RFQ) the more accurate the estimator can be on manufacturing costs, omitting room for contingencies. 

There are simple ways to cut lead times and costs that are sometimes overlooked. It really helps the estimator when the bid is neat, plans are in place, an expeditor on staff or even negotiate in the bid stage. Also, something as simple as specifying the required delivery date in the RFQ, or suggest that bidders supply two bids: one meeting their schedule and one with their standard schedule (this will help during negotiations.) Customers can even look into becoming an Alliance Partner  in order to get every detail of their project from start to finish, communicated directly to them, with tailored service and a personal “go-to” coordinator. 

DESIGN_+_FABRICATE

Lead times are also typically reduced when the steel fabricator receives shop ready drawings because this helps eliminate the engineering process. Another way is to negotiate with the fabricator- it might be difficult at times, but it could help reduce lead times. Many of these bids are based on the fabricator’s backlog at the time the project is quoted, so if a customer needs a better lead time than what is shown in the quote, they shouldn’t hesitate to ask.  Not only does this allow the customer to get the best date possible, but the fabricator can pin-point a production slot for the work in advance, which makes production planning easier on the supplier.

Here are a few things to provide when submitting a bid to help save money and get the best lead times:

  • Shop-ready drawings
  • Technical specifications
  • General arrangement drawings or engineering drawings
  • Plan and profiles
  • Loads (tensions, equipment cut sheets, environmental loads, etc.)
  • Site address and contacts
  • Delivery date

What effects delivery from a customer’s side?

When changes are made far into the process, it can cause a snowball effect on the fabricator’s other projects.  If a customer misses their production slot due to changes, the next available slot may be weeks or months out.

From the fabricator’s side?

Shop capacity is the main factor.  Fabricators book work with the intensions of filling their available shop capacity while maintaining sales goals.  Secondary to shop capacity is engineering capacity, which may affect lead times on design jobs that are engineering intense. So, as a customer, you want to be sure to obtain information regarding the fabricator’s shop and engineering capacity.

How a bid comes together from a fabricator's point of view:

1. Submit to proposal administrator, such as a specific person or email address

2. Quote is logged and filed electronically/hardcopy

3. Quote is reviewed for scope and schedule by estimating manager

4. Next…

    a. If engineering required: goes to engineer for preliminary design and weight takeoff

    b. If no engineering: goes to estimator for weight takeoff

5. Materials and direct costs are estimated by estimator

6. Terms and specifications are reviewed by estimator

7. Schedule and margins discussed with estimating manager

8. Proposal submitted by proposal administrator to customer

Since fabricators are doing several bids per day, and if the requested time to put together a proposal is two weeks, then having all of the information neat, organized and complete will help ensure the best price and lead time.

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