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Steel to Steel Connections: BeamClamp® v Traditional Methods

23 October 2018

BeamClamp® is an innovative and alternative solution to making steel connections.

In situations where you might usually resort to welding, drilling or bolting to make connections, we believe BeamClamp® could be easier, cheaper and more efficient.

 

BeamClamp® v welding

Welding might be the go to method when making steel connections, but is it the best? Though it may be economical in some situations, such as if the connection can be made off site, it comes with many flaws and drawbacks.

Welding requires expensive equipment and skilled labour, and the quality of the weld can be entirely down to the skill of the welder. Once made, the connection is permanent, and there is no room for on-site adjustment or temporary works.

If the steel has a protective coating, for example if it is hot-dip galvanised like many Kee products, this coating will need to be removed and then replaced afterwards, which could affect the integrity of the coating.

Finally, welding creates heat and sparks that can be hazardous, meaning a hot works permit will be required, accompanied by fire-watches after the completion of the work.

BeamClamp® avoids all of these issues: the solution is simple and straightforward, meaning there’s no need for specialist labour, and the system will not affect existing protective coatings.

BeamClamp® can be temporary or permanent, and the lack of required permits or fire-watches can save time and money.

 

BeamClamp® v drilling and bolting

Another common solution for steel connections is drilling and bolting. Where the design allows for off-site fabrication, this can be a quick and simple way to make connections.

However, drilling steel on-site can be expensive and complicated, requiring heavy drilling equipment and skilled labour. As with welding, drilling can damage the integrity of any existing coating, and perhaps even the integrity of the structure itself.

Drilling through thick steel sections can be costly and time-consuming, as standard drilling speeds must be adhered to, and drill bits can wear out quickly and be costly to replace.

BeamClamp® once again comes out the clear winner in terms of ease of installation, time and cost saving.

Comparisons

To illustrate just how BeamClamp® can save you time and money, we have compared the costs in both money and time for a very common connection, pictured opposite, when you choose a welded solution, a drilled/bolted solution and, finally, BeamClamp®.

 

Drilled and Bolted solution (M20 High tensile bolts)

Connection Requirements Rate p/h (£) Time (hrs) Step Cost (£) Details of each step
Engineering 45 0.5 22.5 Detailing the positions and checking the integrity of the exiting steel after adding holes
Drilling time of new steel off site 45 1 45 Based on a flange thickness of 12.5mm and 1/4 hr per hole (see cutting speed rates)
Marking of steel 26 0.5 13 The time required to mark the steel on site to ensure alignment with secondary member
Site set up 26 0.25 6.5 The time required to access power, get the drilling machine into position
Drilling time on site 45 1 45 Based on a flange thickness of 12.5mm and 1/4 hr per hole (see cutting speed rates)
Positioning and alignment 45 0.25 11.25 Alignment of primary and secondary steel holes on site
Assembly time 26 1 3.9 Very quick to assemble with only four bolts and nuts once steel is aligned
Tightening of bolts 26 0.25 5.2 High torques required so allowing for 5 mins per bolt and nut
Drill bits NA 0.15 10 1 drill bit allowed for
Material costs (bolts) NA 0.2 10 Four bolts, butts and washers @ £2.5 each
         
Totals   3.7 £172.35  

 

Welded solution (fully fillet welded connection)

Connection Requirements Rate p/h (£) Time (hrs) Step cost (£) Details of each step
Engineering 45 0.25 11.25 Little design work required apart from highlighting the position and penetration of weld
Apply for hot work permit 26 0.5 12.5 The issue time is set at 30 mins, however this can be much longer
Marking of steel 26 0.25 10 The marking of the steel is minimal for a welded connection
Site set up 26 0.5 20 Time to move equipment, power cords and get machinery ready
Removal of corrosion protection 45 1.0 45 The whole area for the weld needs to be removed by grinding and is time consuming
Performing of weld (inc equip) 45 1.0 45 Alignment of primary and secondary steel holes on site
Fire watch during and post welding process 26 2.0 52 Fire watches can last for long periods of time but this is based on 1 hour post welding
Touch up of galv/paint 45 0.33 14.85 Replacement of the galv/paint will not be as good as the original finish
         
Totals   5.83 £210.60  

 

BeamClamp® Solution (M20 BeamClamp® connection)

Connection Requirements Rate p/h (£) Time (hrs) Step Cost (£) Details of each step
Engineering 45 0.25 11.25 The design time is reduced by BeamClamp® connection software and engineers
Marking of steel 26 0.125 3.25 The marking is reduced as the connection is adjustable
Site set up 26 0.25 6.5 The same as a bolted connection
Assembly time 26 0.25 6.5 The assembly will be slightly longer than a standard bolted connection
Tightening of bolts 26 0.2 5.2 High torques required as with standard bolting so allowing for 5 mins per bolt and nut
Material cost     85 The cost of the total materials for a BeamClamp® assembly
         
Totals   1.1 £117.70  

 

Whichever way you look at it, BeamClamp® is the clear winner, and can save you serious time and money over the traditional methods.

For more information, call us on 0208 874 6566, or use our online contact form.