Promoting Structural Applications for High Performance Steels in the UK Construction Industry
- Posted at August 18, 2020
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MGF Develop & Launch High Performance Structural Support
Excavation support manufacturing and rental specialists MGF have recently broadened their business base with entry into the structural support market.
MGF have a strong engineering team and reputation for driving a culture of improvement and innovation. The in house R&D team worked for 15 months with clients and specialists in this area of temporary works to develop a product specification that would drive forward standards in the industry.
Structural support is a mature market served by long established and successful systems, MGF’s team looked at market drivers in the design, handling and storage of the product together with developments in materials and fabrication techniques that could be employed to match the market demands with those of the design and manufacturing codes.
To successfully serve all areas of the structural support market a system that could cater for light loads of 100 – 150kN from propping and needling during building remodelling was required. At the other end of the scale temporary piers for bridge construction or refurbishment would be a requirement with potential loads in excess of 1000kN.
To give the flexibility in use 3 section sizes were proposed with nominal vertical load capacities of 100kN, 500kN and 1000kN.
Section geometry was critical as the sections needed to interconnect to maximise flexibility for designers whilst accommodating accessories to cater for multiple configurations and uses.
Keen to bring innovative new materials into the market the focus was on adopting S700 steel from market leader SSAB in Sweden (Trademarked as Strenx). Whilst the adoption of high-performance steels offered significant weight savings, the main challenge lay in developing new manufacturing processes to meet the stringent quality requirements of BS EN 1090 Execution Class 3 using this material.
High performance steels within the strength ranges of 600 to 1300 kPa have been used extensively in the automotive and construction plant equipment manufacturing industries for over 20 years. In terms of structural steelwork EN1993 was extended to cover steel grades up to S700 in 2007, yet the use of the materials in structural applications within the UK has been limited
Early into the development program a back to back sigma section was identified as the most efficient structural solution. The sections were cold formed from S700 plate using laser cutting and press breaking. A program of prototyping and testing fine-tuned the design in terms of plate thickness, bend radii, hole locations, weld design, stiffeners, connectors and end plates ensuring the sections worked compositely.
Detailed design calculations assisted by testing were carried out to both BS5950 and EC3 to validate the results of extensive independent testing and provide a comprehensive set of load tables and technical files.
A full range of bracing and accessories were similarly designed and developed with the focus on providing easy to install pinned connections wherever practicable and minimising the number of components by providing commonality across the full range.
UniShore® was formally launched in January 2020 and despite the challenges of the current crisis has begun to establish itself in the market.