How designers can optimise Purlin delivery

Robert Marsh, Commercial Manager – Middle East GCC at voestalpine Metsec plc, looks ahead to the Big5 show in November, and shares some insight on purlins and their importance in the MENA region.

The biggest names in the construction industry will head to Dubai in November for The Big 5 International Building and Construction Show, and Robert Marsh will be there on behalf of voestalpine Metsec plc, sharing our knowledge and expertise as part of the Architecture Talks series.

Here’s an overview of some of the topics he’ll be discussing on November 27th:

How purlins will change the construction market of the MENA region
Metsec first started supplying purlins from the UK to projects in the UAE as early as the 1980s, so their use in the MENA region is already very well established.
Since then, demand has increased exponentially, with a number of different companies setting up to manufacture locally to meet that demand.
However, over the last 30 years, there have been a lot of advances made in purlin systems and how they are designed, but not all these advances have been adopted in the region, so there is still plenty of potential.

The importance of the grade of steel
Steel grade is an extremely important factor when it comes to purlins. If an engineer bases their design on a purlin manufactured from 450N/mm2 yield strength but the purlin supplied is manufactured from 350N/mm2, this can have serious repercussions.
The quickest and easiest way for an engineer to choose the optimum purlin size and purlin system is to use a dedicated optimisation software such as MetSPEC, which was developed to be a quicker and more accurate alternative to using load tables.

Reducing onsite installation time
Purlins rely on other components called accessories to increase overall strength and resist twisting or sagging under load. By developing accessories such as anti-sag rods and side rails supports to simply “clip in“, without the need for tools, nuts, bolts or washers, this allows the steel erector to considerably reduce the installation time.
We have also developed a way to colour code and laser print pre-fix markings on the purlins, which allows for easy identification and setting out on-site.
Eliminating human error and speeding up purlin fabrication
Working in conjunction with Tekla Structures over many years, we have developed intelligent macros within its 3D drafting software, which allow the user to rapidly model the cold-rolled purlins and accessories.

The macros do not permit the purlin systems limitations to exceed, and ensures the model meets our manufacturing requirements. Once a model has been created, a digital file transfer of this data can be sent for validation and ordering purposes. This reduces time in producing and transferring details and eliminates errors earlier in the process.