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Want to optimize design? Don’t leave HSS out of your toolbox.

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Sponsored Content Structural Materials

Want to optimize design? Don’t leave HSS out of your toolbox.

Brad Fletcher, Atlas Tube | May 20, 2021
Pedestrian bridge built with HSS
Pedestrian bridge built with HSS

As building designers, efficiency can’t ever be too far from our minds. Of course, we have to make sure we’re safely fulfilling the project’s goals first and foremost, but we also have a responsibility to find design solutions that will get us the best price and the shortest timeline for each project. Optimizing that efficiency is a complicated, multivariate process, but one tactic I see overlooked a lot is stepping back to take a fresh look at the tools you use. 

HSS are one efficiency-boosting tool every architect and engineer should at least consider as they start new designs. Because of their physical properties, HSS offer much better axial load capacity and torsional resistance than wide-flange sections of similar weights, making it possible to design structures using less steel and fewer pieces. Better yet, new developments in domestic manufacturing are about to make HSS more useful and attractive than ever. 

Supporting Possibilities With Atlas Tube Jumbo HSS

With the scheduled opening of our new Blytheville, Arkansas, mill this September, the world’s largest HSS will be rolled right here in North America. Domestic production means easy access to any size — no more waiting for big pieces to be shipped from overseas — and the mill’s advanced technology will give us cycle times of just 2–4 weeks, meaning the shortest lead times in the industry, no matter the size. 

With faster, more reliable fulfillment, it’s going to be much easier for builders to get their hands on HSS for any project, so it’s a good time for designers to refamiliarize themselves with some of the considerations that make HSS so great at saving time and money:

  1. The bigger the size, the better the efficiency. 

It’s widely known that HSS are more efficient on a per-pound basis when it comes to things like axial load and torsional resistance. Crucially, those advantages only increase as lengths and sizes go up. With Atlas Tube’s new mill, we’ll be able to roll HSS in sizes up to 22″ square in lengths up to 125′, with walls up to 1″ thick. At these massive sizes, efficiency advantages over wide-flange sections are even more pronounced, with HSS offering lower weights and higher axial strength. 

  1. HSS can save on more than just material cost.

Using less steel to do the same job can help you save big on material costs and keep project budgets from running over, but the savings don’t stop when procurement does. The high efficiency of Jumbo HSS translates into savings on labor and time, too — fewer, lighter pieces mean fewer workers needed to handle construction and less time needed to do the work. 

HSS can also help cut down on labor in another way: Because of their smooth shape, HSS have a lower surface area per foot than wide-flange sections, making them cheaper and faster to paint or coat. And because they don’t have the sharp edges and recessed nooks where coatings often fail on wide-flange sections, upkeep costs stay lower over time. 

  1. Connections don’t have to hurt efficiency. 

Connections have always been a sticking point when it comes to HSS: As great as the efficiency you can get from HSS can be, all those savings can evaporate if plans change and builders have to start making unplanned connections in the field. Fortunately, new technology is making it easier to perform column splices on-site.

Shuriken is a revolutionary new system, exclusive to Atlas Tube, that makes it simple to perform field-bolted HSS column splices with standard A325 and A490 bolts. No need for field welds or blind bolts — Shuriken mounts quickly in the shop and bolts go in quickly in the field, no special tools required. With Shuriken, you can make sure your efficient designs stay efficient throughout the whole construction process.

Are You Ready to Build Big for Less? 

Whether you’re ready to take another look at HSS or add them to your design toolbox for the first time, we’re ready to help. You can head to Atlas Tube’s website to learn more about how our HSS can help you build faster and for less, with technology that supports your project every step of the way, or get in touch to get started now. It’s time to start planning big things. 

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