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Unlocking Precision: The Benefit of Adjustable Girder Clamps in Construction
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General News

Unlocking Precision: The Benefit of Adjustable Girder Clamps in Construction

Written by: Damian Haigh

04/24/24  |  9 Min read

When it comes to connecting steel members, such as beams and columns, both clamping and welding are common methods, however both are not equal.

In this article we are going to take an in depth look at one of the main advantages of a clamped connection “Adjustability” versus welding which is more permanent and challenging to undo.

Clamped Connections

Lindapter girder clamps provide a faster, cost-effective alternative to field drilling or welding and are designed to reduce installation time and labor costs, field adjustability is a key benefit of clamping.

A high strength connection is quickly achieved by clamping two steel sections together with a standard girder clamp configuration consisting of Lindapter clamps, a location plate, bolts, washers and nuts.

During field installation, the location plate is brought into position and the steel beams are then aligned by sliding the sections into the correct position. The Lindapter clamps, bolts, washers and nuts are then fitted to hold the connection in place, at this point any final positional corrections can easily be made by sliding the beams into their correct and final positions.

The installation is completed by using a torque wrench to tighten each bolt to the recommended torque. Even at this stage if it is found that the beams need to be repositioned the Lindapter girder clamps offer complete adjustability as they can be undone very easily and the steel can then be repositioned and the clamps re-tightened.

This avoids the need for time consuming and costly remedial work such as completely removing a weld which is very difficult to achieve.  

Clamping also allows for easy disassembly, for example at the end of the buildings life, making it the ideal choice for de-construction and sustainability.

Clamping & Adjustability Benefits

  • Clamps allow for easy installation and disassembly, making adjustments convenient.
  • Clamps provide flexibility in design and execution.
  • If you need to adjust the position of beams or modify the structure, clamps allow for straightforward and precise alignment changes without compromising integrity.
  • Clamping requires less field labor time compared to welding.
  • Clamping is cost-effective due to their ease of installation and reduced labor time.
  • Clamps are easy to inspect and maintain. If a beam needs replacement or adjustment, it’s simpler to disassemble and reassemble.
  • Complete onsite adjustability avoids remedial work, delays and increased costs.
  • Removeable and reusable for future adaptability.

Welded Connections

Welded connections are widely used in the construction industry as it provides a strong, permanent and cohesive bond. However the process of welding uses extreme heat, pressure or both to fuse two or more steel pieces together, this brings challenges especially in the field, such as requiring skilled labor, introducing specialist equipment and dangers of hot working.

Should the weld be poor quality or the steel beams be incorrectly positioned after being welded in place then the problems begin to stack up. Removing a weld is a difficult, time consuming and costly process involving  either a thermal or mechanical technique. The thermal method involves the use of high temperatures to liquefy the metal and undo the weld using equipment such as plasma cutters and torches. Mechanical methods involve the use of tools for cutting, grinding or breaking apart the weld such as angle grinders, circular saws and chisels. Neither of these options are an easy way of removing a weld and usually results in one of the metal pieces being damaged.   

Welding lacks the flexibility needed for adjustments during construction but also for future modifications or during deconstruction.

Welding Problems

  • Welding is more permanent and challenging to undo.
  • Once welded, the connection becomes fixed, making future modifications difficult.
  • Welding involves more complex work in the field, including welding equipment setup, safety precautions, and skilled labor.
  • Welding may incur higher costs due to skilled labor requirements and equipment.
  • Welded joints require more effort for inspection and maintenance. Repairs or modifications may involve cutting and re-welding.
  • No field flexibility or adjustability without additional and costly remedial work.
  • A poor weld may need to be removed either by thermal or mechanical technique which are both time consuming and difficult.
  • Removing a weld usually results in one of the metal pieces being damaged.
  • No adjustability without additional work, e.g field welding and hot works in the field.
  • Remedial work due to field alignment issues can have an adverse effect on the project programme and cost.

Project Example: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas

Lindapter girder clamps provided a solution for connecting a huge electronic media mesh screen to the exterior steel framework of the world’s most expensive stadium in Las Vegas.

Following the opening of the stadium and assessment of the media screen over several weeks, it was determined that small adjustments to the positioning of some LED panels were required. The use of Lindapter girder clamps and their adjustability proved to be of significant benefit as the contractor could easily loosen the relevant clamps, re-position the LED panels and then re-tighten the clamps to securely hold the LED panels in place. Had the LED panels been welded, the time and cost to break, grind and then reweld would have been enormous. The benefit of adjustable girder clamp connections was therefore invaluable to the contractor who saved on time and money.

Read the full case study here: https://www.lindapter.com/us/case-study/allegiant-stadium

Summary

In summary, clamping offers adjustability, ease of installation, and cost-effectiveness, making it a preferred choice for steel connections. Welding, while strong, lacks the flexibility needed for adjustments during construction or future modifications, is costly and more hazardous when compared to clamping. For your next project contact Lindapter and our experienced engineers will work with you to design the optimum connection detail.

Faster to Install

No drilling or welding!

Independently Approved

Reasons to choose Lindapter

  • Save time and money

    Save time and money

    Clamping two steel sections together avoids time-consuming welding or conventional drilling and bolting.

  • Safer connections

    Safer connections

    Drilling and welding in the field is avoided, removing the need for hot work permits and encouraging safer site conditions.

  • High strength

    High strength

    Lindapter clamps are manufactured from high strength materials to resist high load requirements and harsh environments.

  • Industry leading approvals

    Industry leading approvals

    Lindapter has earned a reputation synonymous with safety and reliability, gaining multiple independent approvals.

  • Adjustable

    Adjustable

    Quickly align steel sections by sliding the section into the correct position before tightening the Girder Clamp to complete the installation.

  • Free connection detailing

    Free connection detailing

    Lindapter’s experienced Engineers can detail a custom connection based on your specific requirements free of charge.

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