Wednesday, June 11, 2008


There were reports of low flying steel on the site this week!

Amazing work to watch and to try understand.....

We have a 100 ton crawler crane on the site for steel erection. These columns, girders, and joists are steel I-beams. Some are 30 feet long. Each of them weighs tons. To watch them lift and swing like a Calder mobile turning in the wind is to see a delicate dance of heavy metal in motion. When the steel has been marked, coded, tied, and centered, the crane lifts as many as five steel beams at a single hoist to the frame. When it is being lifted, all eyes are on the crane boom and cable. On the construction site it is referred to as "Flying Steel"!
In the photo above you will see the steel on the ground organized and ready to lift. The crane is lowering these joist pieces on the second floor of area 3 in this photo. The steel erectors, the men, are settling it into place for bolting.
Even though the beams weigh tons, you will notice the steel workers are able to move and shift and swing it with just one hand. All the while, they are balancing themselves (secured into safety of course) on the beams from the start of the day to the end of the shift. These men communicate with the crane operator via hand signs not radio, just old fashioned manual signaling.
The subtlest movements are possible with the crane operator responding to the gestures of the erectors. Their hand signals are simple points and shifts of the hand, precise, distinct, and fully understood by all working. (no waving arms or frantic pointing like you and I do trying to help a friend back the trailer up! :-)

Our Steel erection company is Roanoke Steel. There are only twelve steel erectors and the crane operator putting together this structure. In one week, we are about to see the entire Area 3 frame in place.

Go by the site and turn right onto Hilltop Drive to watch todays performance of "F~L~Y~I~N~G STEEL".

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