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Author Archives: Infra Metals

  1. I-Beam vs. Wide Flange Beam | A Steel Beam Guide

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    To build an infrastructure or facility, you’ll most likely require steel beams, like I-beams and wide flange beams. While these are common types of steel beams, they often get confused with one another. Understanding their distinctions begins with understanding the terms flange and web. Flanges are the beam’s horizontal components, while webs are the vertical components that connect the flanges.

    Here we’ll review the differences and similarities between I-beams vs. W-beams, as well as how to select the right beam for your application.

    What Is a Wide Flange Beam?

    w beams

    Sometimes called a W-beam, a wide flange beam is a type of steel beam shaped like a sideways H. The web can be of equal width or wider than the flange. The size of a W-beam is identified by the first number in the product description followed by the weight per foot. For example, a W21x44 beam measures about 21 inches in width and 44 pounds per foot. The web bears shear forces while the flange resists bending forces.

    View Our Wide Flange Beams Catalog

    Many construction projects rely on wide flange beams, including:

    • Bridges
    • Factory platforms
    • Support beams for steel buildings and factories
    • Machinery
    • Truck bed frames

    What Is an I-Beam?

    i beams

    I-beams tend to have flanges that are shorter than the web, resulting in a cross-section shaped like a capital “I.” This design enables the beam to bend when high pressure is applied. W-beams offer more variety in sizes and lengths, whereas I-beams have a more limited selection.

    View Our I-Beams Catalog

    I-beams appear in many structures, such as:

    • Warehouses and factories
    • Truck bed frames
    • Support beams for facilities, construction, and engineering
    • Support steel angles and channels

    Choosing Between an I-Beam and a Wide Flange Beam

    Both wide flange beams and I-beams are reliable weight-bearing components for many applications. However, the best type will depend on your project’s specific requirements. 

    Wide Flange Beams

    Compared to I-beams, wide flange beams have a wider flange and thicker web. Their design enables them to handle more weight, and they’re suitable for spans of up to 300 feet. Wide flange beams also feature a bevel that connects the web and top and bottom flanges. Lightweight wide flange beams—rather than I-beams—are typically used in residential construction projects.

    Infra-Metals stocks W-beams from W4x13 to W44x335, with lengths up to 70 feet.


    I-beams feature thinner webs and tapered flanges for a more lightweight construction. The I-beam’s shorter length makes it compatible with spans between 33 and 100 feet. Where wide flange beams come in three connected metal components, I-beam steel comes in a single metal piece.

    Infra-Metals carries I-beams from S3x5.7 to S24x121, with various lengths up to 60 feet.

    w beams vs. i beams

    Contact Our Experts for Premium Steel Beam Solutions

    I-beams and wide flange beams are vital construction elements in many types of structures. Now that you know the difference between wide flange beams vs. I-beams, you can select the best beam for your application depending on your engineering specifications.

    Since 1990, Infra-Metals has been a premier provider of top-quality structural steel beams. In addition to I-beams and wide flange beams, we carry a selection of angles, tubes, plates, channels, solar panel mounts, and more. We also offer a variety of processing services, including drilling, cutting, blasting, and cambering. 

    All of our steel products for U.S. applications feature standard alloys specified by ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials). Infra-Metals is also a proud member of the Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. family. We aim to serve as your one-stop shop for steel construction materials and processing.

    Browse our catalog to view more of our offerings and capabilities, or request a quote at any time to get started on selecting the right solution for your application.

    Browse Our Catalog

  2. Why Use a Service Center?

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    Structural steel is bulky, heavy, and difficult to transport. Rather than paying exorbitant transportation costs to move it from a centralized facility, a strategically located regional service center mitigates long-term shipping costs and provide structural steel solutions faster and more efficiently. Beyond simple cost reduction, however, a service center acts a resource for builders in the region.

    At Infra-Metals Co., we operate service centers in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, Mid-West, South-West and Florida to provide customers with regionalized market trend information, sales, and service. This helps our clients to control project costs and make informed decisions.

    Our Service Centers

    As one of the largest structural steel service center networks in the United States, Infra-Metals offers a wide variety of carbon structural steel products. Our product catalog includes:

    • Structural beams and tubing
    • Angles
    • Channel and miscellaneous
    • Flats
    • Rounds
    • Squares
    • Plate and sheet products
    • Pipe
    • Expanded metal

    As a full-scale service center, we also provide the following processing capabilities:

    • Blast and prime
    • Cambering
    • Drilling
    • Milling
    • Plate burning and Forming
    • Saw cutting
    • T-splitting

    Using a service center offers an expansive range of benefits, including:

    • Specific order volumes. Purchasing direct from a steel mill typically requires buying in pre-set bulk amounts rather than ordering exactly what is needed. This can significantly drive up the cost of a project and result in leftover structural steel materials after completion.
    • Our service centers monitor local trends and regional producers, so we know exactly what is available at any given time. We also stock popular items to ensure they are available when needed, not to mention the often hard to find sizes.
    • One-stop shopping. A service center acts as a centralized source for all structural steel needs, simplifying vendor management by eliminating the need to identify and maintain relationships with multiple steel producers.
    • Our service centers only work with reliable and reputable suppliers, ensuring that builders, contractors, and fabricators get only the best quality products.
    • Short lead times. Orders from a service center are not as dependent on mill production schedules, which means deliveries arrive more quickly. This enables projects to stay on schedule.
    • Simplified logistics. The service center handles all logistics and delivery arrangements, simplifying expedited orders, Just-in-Time delivery, and other logistical challenges.
    • Cost transparency. The service center prices are based on what they paid the mill for the inventory, so all costs are fixed up front rather than being faced on future production variables.
    • Lower storage costs. By purchasing product in exact quantities for delivery in sequence or as needed, buyers don’t need to secure extra storage space for structural steel materials.
    • Reduced scrap. When the service center cuts pieces to prescribed sizes and lengths, the end customer has significantly less responsibility in terms of scrap and waste disposal.

    Convenient Structural Steel Procurement With Infra-Metals

    At Infra-Metals, we have been in business for more than 30 years and we employ some of the most experienced sales staff in the industry. We offer an expansive and diverse inventory of shapes and sizes, and we can handle all pre-processing to minimize the work fabricators need to do on their own site. We sell the solutions you need in exact quantities, removing the need for extra storage space or bulk purchases. As regional suppliers, we can easily support Just-in-Time methodologies and other Lean inventory strategies.

    To see how our structural steel service centers can support your operation, please contact us today.

  3. COVID-19 Response

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    Infra-Metals takes seriously our responsibilities to our employees, our customers, our suppliers, and our communities. In that spirit, we have taken a number of steps to minimize the risk and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We have implemented proactive measures identified by the CDC to protect our employees from contracting or spreading the virus. We are limiting business travel by our employees and also limiting and screening visitors to our facilities. Further, we are leveraging remote work capabilities, encouraging the use of virtual meetings, and promoting social distancing within our facilities.

    In addition, our team has been evaluating our disaster recovery and business continuity plans to address gaps the COVID-19 situation may introduce and actively engaging in infectious disease outbreak response contingency planning. While we are working on plans to have coverage available, and have remote access capabilities to our business systems, this is a dynamic situation that we continue to monitor. As a member of the Reliance Family of Companies, we have access to inventory, processing capabilities and many other affiliated resources to maintain service of your account if for any reason we incur a disruption in our business due to Coronavirus.

    We place great value on our relationships and will continue our best efforts to support and protect our employees and our valued customers and suppliers as we work through these uncertain times together.

    Per the Department of Homeland Security, we fall under the Essential Critical Infrastructure workforce and we intend to continue to serve our communities and customers. More information on Critical Infrastructure Sectors can be found here:



  4. Infra-Metals New Boston New Safety Milestone

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    As of October 28, 2019, Infra-Metals New Boston has worked 500 days without recordable injury, smashing their old record or 441 days!

    Safety is no accident. Everyone in our New Boston facility has worked very hard to reach this goal!

    Keep up the good work New Boston!

  5. International WorkBoat Show 2019

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    Come see Infra-Metals and Delta Steel Inc in New Orleans, LA. on December 4-6, booth #1655. Infra-Metals and Delta Steel are the largest suppliers of structural steel servicing many industries including but not limited to Structural Fabrication, Ship Building and Repair, Oil and Gas, Bridge and Infrastructure and Agricultural.

    We specialize in extensive first stage processing of many products including plate, wide flange beams, tubing and many more.

    Featured services are Press Brake (up to 60′), Cutting, Milling, Drilling, Beveling, Saw Cut and much much more.

    With 14 locations spread across the country, we can service any project. With over 200,000+ tons of inventory available for immediate delivery we are your one-stop-shop for all you project needs.


  6. Infra-Metals New Boston injury free for 365 days!

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    As of June 15, 2019, Infra-Metals New Boston has worked 365 days without a recordable injury.

    That is no small feat…It has not gone unnoticed. I know we pride ourselves on not patting ourselves on the back, and just keeping our head down and doing the right thing, but I also know how important your leadership has been in getting us to this point. This didn’t happen because we have a great safety program, and it certainly didn’t happen because we have a great safety coordinator, it happened because you guys drove it home with your teams each and every day. It happened because you intervened when necessary, it happened because we changed how we did things to make them safer, it changed because we held each other accountable.

    I appreciate the effort each and every one of you has put forth to insure our employees work safely every task, every time.

    We celebrated with an all-plant cookout on June 21, 2019.

    The next milestone for New Boston is 441 days (to beat our old record) and two years injury-free!

  7. New Boston hosts Spring 2018 OSA Membership meeting

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    On Friday, March 16, 2018 Infra-Metals New Boston hosts the annual membership meeting for The Ohio Structural Steel & Architectural Metals Association. The event is sponsored by Infra-Metals, Atlas Tube and V&S Galvanizing. Thank you for your participation. The program will include a presentation on steelXML from AISC, FabSuite and Infra-Metals followed by a tour of our New Boston facility.


    We had a wonderful event hosting the OSA on March 16, 2018. Here is a link to some highlights of our event. Thank you to all that participated and made this event possible!

    OSA Spring 2018 Meeting Update