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Steel Shots: What We Did on Our Summer Vacation, Part 1
Posted by Tom Klemens on July 22, 2010 at 8:29 PM.


Zalk Josephs’ manager of operations David Sailing explains the next step in fabricating a 36-ft-long embedded plate the plasma cutter had just cut to size.


We toured the Zalk Josephs fabrication shop in Stoughton, Wis., in late June and one of the most interesting things was seeing just how much goes into fabricating a single member. The members shown above were each 2.5 in. thick, 2 ft wide and 36 ft long, and had been cut from an even larger plate. And that was only the first step of the process! The next step in turning them into embedded plates was to weld on more than 200 studs in three lines running the length of each plate.


During the tour, we saw many other members at various stages of completion. Welders attached plates and stiffeners while other technicians drilled holes and prepared connections. Each fabricated steel member eventually  will occupy a unique place in a building frame. As erectors piece the frame together, it is easy to take for granted all the hard work that goes on in a fabrication shop.


As young engineers, it was enlightening to observe this crucial step of the construction process that often is overlooked in the civil engineering curriculum. Typical classes take us from dealing with forces on members to building frame analysis and sometimes erection issues, but usually ignore what it takes to create the structural members. It was a great lesson being able to observe this process firsthand.

– Liz Rehwoldt and Zack Stutts, AISC Interns


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