New Zealand Steel subsidiary Steltech has launched Vertebeam, a cost efficient, lightweight nested box beam solution for portal frame buildings.
Providing a smart solution to a genuine problem, the design and development phase involved considerable input from customers, construction professionals and key stakeholders.
Vertebeam is manufactured using 6-10mm New Zealand Steel plate folded into two tapered C sections that are nested inside one another.
Designed to meet New Zealand’s structural standard, AS/NZS4600:2005, the design methodology was verified by the Heavy Engineering Research Association (HERA).
The drive behind the development of Vertebeam was to produce a product that offered a more robust design solution for medium span buildings compared to cold-formed sections. And with a lighter weight option verses hot-rolled sections, other cost-saving benefits are apparent.
With a 10% lower weight than hot-rolled sections, initial design calculations predicted cost savings would be due to weight savings.
However, the simple box-shaped external geometry of Vertebeam contributes to significant reductions in fabrication time and cost during the painting process. The box shape also provides good torsional stiffness that can eliminate some bracing elements from the portal system.
Project comparisons have demonstrated a 10% reduction in time to occupancy for Vertebeam projects when compared to a cold-formed portal frame solution.
Another, unexpected, benefit comes from the product’s ability to have a flush layout design of the beams, purlins and grits, which makes it almost vermin-proof, ideal for the food manufacturing and/or storage industries.
This eliminates the cost of complicated bird-proofing of beams and rafters, and provides cleaner work spaces.
Vertebeam is ideal for medium span projects — 18 to 35m — but has also been specified on projects featuring 65m clear spans. And it is expected that spans up to 70m would be possible.