At Montanstahl, over 10 years sharp-edged facade steel profiles are produced. The range of the carried out and feasible profile sections has been extended enormously over this period and the possibilities still seem not exhausted.
Sharp-edged steel and stainless steel profiles
The demand for sharp-edged facade profiles was first generated in Germany, after architects encountered by coincidence the high-quality laser fused stainless steel structural profiles. The new product was accepted immediately with great appeal. The sharp edges and almost invisible welding seam were the special characteristics and ideal for the use in high quality, esthetic challenging mullion and transom glass facades.
Steel versus Aluminium
In the facade sector, usually aluminium profiles are used. They guarantee:
- A high design flexibility
- Easy handling due to the light weight
- Uncomplicated production thanks to modern CNC processing machines
However, also steel and stainless steel have some advantages:
- The elasticity modulus (also called flexural modulus) defines the elastic behavior of the material. Steel has with 210 GPa a better value than aluminium with 70 GPa. This means that steel has 3 times a higher bearing capability and rigidity than aluminium.
- Hence, for a glass façade bigger glass surface area, bigger span width and less mullions are needed with identical section.
- The coefficient of expansion determines the linear extension of a material grade in relation to the temperature increase. Aluminium has an α -value of 23,1 and steel (depending its alloys) one of around 11.5·10-6 ·K-1. In addition, this aspect is important when calculating a glass façade. When using aluminium profiles the use of expansion joints are mandatory.
Steel and stainless steel cannot represent the same profile complexity as aluminium due to their production technology. However, nowadays it is possible to produce profile sections that in regard of quality and complexity were not feasible 10 years ago.
T profiles for Facades
The first profiles for the façade sector were simple T sections with long and thick webs. In general, the sight widths of such profiles are defined through commercially available attachment systems; mostly 60 millimeter but also 50 or 80 millimeter wide systems are available. The static value is primarily defined by the profile depths and the thickness of the web. The high flexibility and precision of the laser welding machines make it possible, to manufacture profiles in any shape and with any size, that cope with a variety of customers’ requests, without making trade-offs with the esthetics.
Rectangular Hollow Sections for Facades
One further break-through was reached by producing of laser fused thick-walled sharp-edged rectangular hollow sections (RHS), also called box sections.
Against common cold rolled RHS or MSH-sections, the sharp-edged RHS from Montanstahl consist of four flat bars that are welded together with four welding seams to the needed geometry and size. Each thickness of the flats can be defined individually and permits an ideal static design for the section with maximal weight savings.
Challenge with New Glass Dimension
With the years, not only the demands for the quality of steel-glass-facades have risen, but also the dimension of the glass facades itself. This development required more solid mullion and transom sections that at the same time can guarantee a reduced profile depth. This can only be realized with steel.
Besides a well-established machine engineering, designed for linear and right-angled profile types, Montanstahl has invested in a new technical installations within the last years, which are able to weld also complex sections in bended shape.
Examples of Complex Facade Profiles of Steel and Stainless Steel
Following some examples of some realized special profiles of steel and stainless steel.
Rectangular hollow sections with engaged web
A further architectural development of RHS is the version with one-sided or even both-sided engaged web. The visible side is usually the one where the web is engaged.
Steel Arrow Profile and Y-profile
Arrow and Y-profiles are equivalent to T sections, which are used for the corner-mullions of the façade. The production of such profiles is quite complex as the steel stripes need to be grinded precisely and the angle of aperture while welding has to be monitored exactly.
Triangle, Parallelogram and Trapeze Steel Profiles
These profile groups are technically very challenging. They require a high dimensional accuracy and only little possibilities exist to compensate the distortion that occurs when welding through straightening afterwards. This level of difficulty rises with longer profile lengths. Parallelogram as well as trapeze profiles are usually taken for the corner-mullion.
Triangle profiles however find their application mostly in glass ceilings. The outlines of such steel respectively stainless steel triangle profiles are often not suitable for mullions at eye level as the extremely sharp edges can represent risk of injury.
Steel and Stainless Steel Special Profiles
Besides above mentioned section families, there are also facade profiles, which do not belong to any of the before described groups due to their unusual shape. Montanstahl manufactures customized mullion-transom-profiles according to client’s drawings.
Private Home in England
Stainless steel special profile, mullion for an indoor pool of a private residence in England.
Stavros Foundation in Athens
Some of around twenty different, tailor-made steel sections and sizes. Glass skirting for the glass balustrade of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center target=”_blank” rel=”noopener nofollow noreferrer” in Athens, a project of Renzo Piano.
Project in China
Stainless steel special-RHS, corner mullion for a project in China.
Chocolate Fountain in Macau
Stainless steel special profiles for a glass construction that mounts the biggest chocolate fountain of the world.
Steel special-TR-profile (consisting of a T section with a welded round bar on top, in that case a tube to reduce weight) including prefabrication, notches, and cutouts for the project Harvard University: Richard A and Susan F Smith Campus Center.
Projects in China und Russia
Besides special profiles, that are characterized through their cross section, we also produce standard profile types but as curved bars or with falling height over the lengths.
Do you have any projects with specific or complex requirements? In this case, please send us the specifications to your inquiry, we consult you with pleasure!