What Is Beam Coping, and Why Is It Important?

February 9, 2022 9:14 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Steel-working is the backbone of the American industrial economy. It’s a vital cog in the country’s infrastructure and construction operations. It’s impossible to discuss urban development without mentioning steelwork and metal fabrication.

Most large-scale construction projects involve the use of steel beams. These beams need to be fabricated, cut and fitted together. This is where beam coping comes in. Coping steel beams is an integral part of the metal fabrication and construction process.

In this article, we’ll cover what beam coping is and why it’s important.

What is beam coping?

In construction, steel beams often need to be cut and slotted to fit together tightly. This is usually necessary when steel beams must intersect each other at irregular angles. This process of cutting and slotting beams so that they fit together is called beam coping. This procedure can be performed manually or with a machine.

Why is beam coping important?

Coping steel beams must be done to ensure that structures maintain their integrity. Not every building can be a perfect square or rectangle, so when beams need to be welded together at acute or obtuse angles, beam coping makes it possible. The main goal of beam coping is to ensure that the steel beams of a structure fit tightly without conflict or (as it’s also known) interference.

What are the different ways of performing beam coping?

There are two main methods of beam coping: manual and machine operated. Manual beam coping is performed by a skilled steelworker by hand. He/she uses a blowtorch to make the requisite slots, notches and/or cuts to the beam, preparing it for fitting. This practice is imprecise, time-consuming and often inefficient.

The other approach to beam coping is by using a computer numerical control (CNC) machine. This is an automated technique that involves inputting the necessary data into a computer and then programming a machine to make the required cuts to the steel beam. Using a CNC machine streamlines the beam coping process, as it’s more exact, quicker and doesn’t require the most skilled steelworker to perform it. It also makes cleanup easier and is more efficient than manual beam coping.

Is beam coping common when performing steelwork?

Yes, it is. There are many situations where steel beams need to be cut so that they can fit together. This isn’t limited to certain irregular angles.

There are multiple scenarios where a cross beam needs to be coped to fit between two vertical beams. Sometimes both ends of the beam will need to be cut, and sometimes it will just need minor alterations to allow it to be slotted into the existing beams. In other instances, only one end of the beam will need to be coped.

The main point is that, because beam coping is so common and so integral to the steel-working process, having an efficient way to perform it (like using a CNC machine) can make all the difference.

Call about your metal fabrication needs today

Now that you know some information about beam coping, call us at Benchmark Fabricated Steel. We’re the industry leaders when it comes to steel-working, and we have over 50 years of experience, so call us today.

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