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  1. Sustainability of Structural Steel

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    Due to its strength and durability, structural steel is one of the most important materials used in construction. It is vital in building applications ranging from framing to roofing to support structures and more. Because of its widespread availability and reusability, structural steel will continue to be a key resource in current and future building projects. Without structural steel, many construction projects would not be possible. However, manufacturing new steel can have major environmental effects, as these processes often require a substantial amount of energy.

    Recycling structural steel is an effective method for reducing the building industry’s environmental impact. Steel is a highly recyclable material that can be reused without deteriorating quality or durability. Moreover, recycling requires less energy than creating new products, reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

    This article will explore structural steel recycling and how this can contribute to a more sustainable future.

    How Is Steel Recycled?

    As consumers become more aware of the environmental impact of the construction industry, they are looking for more sustainable options for their building projects. Recycling structural steel can be a key component of these practices.

    First, scrap yards collect and purchase various types of discarded steel from homeowners, companies, and other metal users. The scrap yard then sorts the steel by type, quality, color, and weight before processing and shredding them into smaller pieces. Rail cars transport the sorted, shredded steel to regional steel mills for recycling.

    Structural steel recycling consists of gathering steel scrap from diverse origins and meticulously classifying it according to its type and quality. The sorted scrap is subsequently subjected to melting in furnaces, utilizing either Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) or Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) methods. The steel attains the desired composition through refinement, subsequently taking the form of beams, columns, or plates.

    In the BOF method, molten iron is combined with scrap steel, and oxygen is blown into the furnace. This results in a chemical reaction that removes impurities and adjusts the carbon content to create high-quality steel. On the other hand, the EAF method uses electricity to generate intense heat, melting scrap steel in an electric arc furnace.

    Remarkably, the recycled content of structural steel produced in the United States averages 93%, and steel is 100% recyclable. In contrast, other construction materials like reinforced concrete can only be downcycled. At the end of a building’s lifespan, 98% of all structural steel is recycled into new products—such as new buildings, automobiles, and home appliances—without losing physical properties. This makes structural steel a cradle-to-cradle material that can be recycled repeatedly, contributing to sustainable construction practices and resource conservation.

    The Importance of Environmental Product Declarations

    Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) are valuable tools in emphasizing the significance of recycling structural steel and meeting the requirements for sustainable, environmentally friendly construction materials. EPDs serve as comprehensive documents that provide transparent and credible information about the environmental impact of products.

    Various rating systems exist to assess and certify the environmental performance of construction materials. These systems, such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and other regional rating systems, establish criteria for evaluating the sustainability aspects of building materials. The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) actively collaborates with steel mills to develop industry-wide EPDs that comply with these rating systems.

    The manufacturing process of structural steel involves certain environmental impacts, which are evaluated and disclosed in EPDs. These impacts include global warming potential, ozone depletion, acidification, eutrophication, and ozone creation. EPDs also provide an overview of the life cycle of structural steel, from raw material extraction to manufacturing and transportation. This allows stakeholders to assess its overall environmental performance.

    Benefits of Structural Steel Sustainability

    Structural steel sustainability offers numerous benefits for a more environmentally friendly and economically viable construction industry. Being a highly recyclable material, steel is easily recoverable and recyclable at the end of a building’s life cycle. This recycling capability reduces the carbon footprint associated with steel production.

    Steel’s strength and durability contribute to the longevity of structures. Steel buildings can have a longer lifespan compared to other construction materials, reducing the need for frequent replacements and renovations. This extended lifespan results in fewer materials consumed over time and lower environmental impacts.

    Steel’s durability and low maintenance requirements lead to long-term cost savings for building owners. Furthermore, steel structures’ design flexibility and efficiency can result in reduced construction time and labor costs.

    Choose Infra-Metals for Premium Structural Steel Supply and Services

    Since 1990, Infra-Metals has been a leader in servicing the structural steel market! Our strategy is to focus on providing quality steel products and precision processing, enabling us to offer an array of services. These include plate burning, drilling, saw cutting, and forming. We also prioritize professional and ethical business practices with our customers, suppliers, and employees.

    Contact us today to learn more about our services! You can also request a quote now.

  2. Selecting the Right Steel Supply Partner

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    The steel industry is a vital component of modern infrastructure, serving various sectors such as construction, manufacturing, automotive, energy, and many more. As such, selecting a reliable and efficient steel supply partner is crucial for businesses to ensure uninterrupted operations and maintain product quality. But with numerous options available in the market, choosing the right steel supply partner can be overwhelming.

    This article provides essential factors to consider when selecting a steel supply partner and its importance to your business.

    Factors To Consider in Choosing the Right Steel Supply Partner

    Here are the top things to keep in mind when selecting the best supplier for your next project:

    Quality Control

    Quality is of paramount importance when it comes to steel products. The supplier should have a robust quality control system to ensure their products consistently meet industry standards and specifications. Ask your supplier if they have a quality control program to ensure they have checks and balances in place for their operations.

    Reliability and Reputation

    Seek a supplier with a demonstrated history of fulfilling their commitments and meeting customer needs. A dependable partner will be well-regarded for delivering top-notch products, offering exceptional customer service, and cultivating enduring client relationships.

    Pricing and Payment Terms

    A steel supply partner that offers flexible and advantageous payment terms can aid in managing cash flow and financial responsibilities efficiently. Thus, look for a supplier that provides competitive pricing while maintaining high-quality standards. It’s essential to factor in the payment terms, such as credit options, discounts, and accepted payment methods.

    Delivery and Logistics

    Consider the supplier’s delivery capabilities, including transportation network, lead times, and order tracking systems. A supplier with a robust logistics and supply chain management system can ensure timely and reliable delivery of steel products. This minimizes disruptions in the supply chain and workflow of your shop.

    Customer Service and Support

    The right supplier will offer prompt and proactive customer service, including timely communication, technical support, and effective issue resolution. A company that prioritizes its customers and delivers exceptional service can establish trust and cultivate a long-term partnership.

    Flexibility and Customization

    Choose a supplier that can customize their steel products, packaging, labeling, and inventory management solutions to fit your specific requirements. This flexibility can add value to your operations and streamline processes.

    Technical Expertise

    A supplier with technical expertise can help you make informed decisions, optimize your steel usage, and achieve better results. Therefore, consider a steel supply partner with a team of experts who can provide technical guidance, support, and value-added services.

    Inventory Management

    Assess the steel supply partner’s inventory management capabilities. For example, take into account their inventory levels and replenishment processes. An effective inventory management system can help prevent stockouts, optimize costs, and enhance operational efficiency.

    Infra-Metals: Your Reliable Steel Supplier

    Experience the unmatched range of products and services at Infra-Metals — one of the largest structural steel service providers in the United States! As a distinguished member of the Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. family, we are a trusted distributor of structural steel, offering consolidated sourcing for materials and processing. We also tailor our centers to meet the unique needs of the regions we serve.

    Our commitment to quality, promptness, and cost-effectiveness is evident in every project we undertake.

    Contact us today or request a quote to learn how we can provide quality structural steel solutions!

  3. Key Design Considerations for Structural Steel Bridges

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    Steel is a versatile material that has been used to build bridges for over a century. They are ideal for several applications due to their durability, sturdiness, and reliability and are commonly used for road and railway projects. Moreover, they offer many benefits, including high strength-to-weight ratios, long spans, and various design options.

    This post will review some of the most significant factors to consider while constructing a steel bridge.

    Factors To Consider When Designing Steel Bridges

    The following are the things to keep in mind when designing structural steel bridges:

    Loads and Load Combinations

    Loads are the forces that act on a bridge. Live loads are vehicles and other moving loads, while dead loads are the bridge structure. On the other hand, wind, seismic, and temperature loads are environmental loads. These combinations must be considered during the design process to ensure the bridge can safely handle them.

    Structural Analysis

    Structural analysis determines the behavior and performance of a bridge under various loads and load combinations. It considers different factors, including the structural system, material properties, geometric dimensions, and boundary conditions.


    Redundancy involves providing additional structural members or elements to maintain the bridge’s integrity, even if one or more parts fail. Thus, a redundant design ensures the bridge’s safety, even in unforeseen events.

    Limit State

    Limit states are the conditions beyond which a structure can no longer perform its intended function. The limit-state design approach aims to prevent these conditions by ensuring the structure remains within safe limits under all loading conditions.

    Design for Constructability

    A well-designed bridge should consider constructability, reducing the complexity of the construction process and ensuring that it can be completed within budget and on time.

    Design for Fatigue

    Structural steel bridge designers must consider fatigue, especially for high-traffic bridges. Fatigue occurs when a material weakens and fails after repeated loading and unloading cycles.

    Substructure Design

    Substructure design refers to the bridge’s supporting components, such as piers, abutments, and foundations. It must maintain these components and maintain the bridge’s weight and load.

    Splice Design

    Splices are critical components of steel bridges, joining individual steel members together to create the overall bridge structure. It will ensure the connection is strong enough to resist various loads and combinations.

    Bearing Design

    Bearing design is essential in steel bridges, as it supports the bridge’s superstructure and transfers loads to the substructure. It must consider the loads the bridge will carry, the type of bridge, and its location. The most common types of bearings used in steel bridges are as follows:

    • Elastomeric bearings: commonly used in short and medium-span bridges
    • Pot bearings: preferred for long-span bridges
    • Spherical bearings: mostly used in curved bridges

    The bearing design must also consider the bridge’s movement due to expansion and contraction caused by temperature changes.

    Bridge Deck Design

    A bridge deck is critical in structural steel bridge design because it carries traffic loads and provides a stable surface for vehicles. In addition, it must consider factors such as the type of deck material used to ensure safety and longevity.

    Load Rating

    The bridge’s strength and safety depend on its ability to carry loads and withstand forces, and a bridge’s load rating determines its maximum load-carrying capacity. Thus, it calculates the safe weight limit for vehicles and other loads crossing the bridge.

    Corrosion Protection

    Moisture, salt, and chemicals can corrode steel bridges over time. Therefore, steel bridges must be designed and built with corrosion protection in mind to ensure their long-term durability, safety, and sustainability.

    Build Durable Bridges With High-Quality Steel From Infra-Metals!

    As one of the biggest steel service centers in the US, Infra-Metals offers an extensive selection of products and services to meet your needs. Our centers are designed to cater to each region’s unique demands. We are committed to delivering high-quality services that are both efficient and cost-effective!

    Contact us or request a quote today for your next steel bridge project.

  4. How To Get the Right Solar Steel Panel Mounting Structures

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    As more individuals seek alternative energy sources, the demand for solar electricity is expanding. One of the critical components of a solar energy system is the mounting structure. Solar panel mounting systems give solar panels the support they need to catch sunlight and convert it into usable energy.

    This post will discuss crucial factors when selecting the most suitable solar steel panel mounting structure for your business.

    Types of Solar Steel Panel Mounting Structures

    Different types of mounting structures offer various characteristics, so selecting one that fits your needs is important. Here are the most common types:

    • Ground-Mounted: These solar panels are typically placed on the ground, in a field, or large open spaces. They are supported by a frame or mounting mechanism that ensures they remain firmly in place even in inclement weather.
    • Rooftop: Rooftop solar panels are an excellent solution for buildings with limited ground space. These are positioned on the building’s roof using a specialized mounting technique.
    • Pole-Mounted: Pole-mounted solar panels can be a great option in areas where rooftop and ground space are both limited. These systems may be deployed in several places around the facility and are mounted on one or more poles.
    • Floating: Solar panels built on bodies of water — such as reservoirs, ponds, or lakes — provide a unique chance to create renewable energy. The floating platform on which these panels are installed has many advantages, including lowering water evaporation and improving water quality.

    Materials Used in Solar Steel Panel Mounting Structures

    There are several materials used in mounting structures for solar products, including the following:

    • Cold-Formed Steel (CFS): This material has high strength, a long lifespan, and affordability. It is frequently used for solar panel systems that are roof-mounted and ground-mounted.
    • Aluminum: Aluminum is a lightweight, corrosion-resistant material easily molded to meet specific designs.
    • Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is a long-lasting, corrosion-resistant material that can survive seawater exposure. Thus, it is frequently utilized for solar steel panel mounting structures in coastal locations.
    • Galvanized Steel: This material has been zinc-coated to prevent rust and corrosion, making it ideal for places with tough weather conditions.

    Structures for mounting solar panels are best made of CFS. This is a popular choice because of its strength and low cost. Further, it can assist in cutting installation costs while assuring the system’s long-term endurance and dependability. Still, selecting the material that best meets your project’s unique requirements is most important.

    Factors To Consider When Choosing Solar Steel Panel Mounting Structures

    Choosing the right panel mounting structure requires careful consideration of various factors, such as:

    Location and Geography

    The location and geography of a solar project can considerably influence the mounting structure chosen. For example, if the site is on a steep slope, a pole-mounted structure may be preferable over a ground-mounted system.

    Another key factor to consider is soil type, as some soils may only be able to handle the weight of a ground-mounted system with additional foundation work. Shade from trees or other objects near the location can further restrict the amount of energy produced by the panels.

    Wind and Snow Loads

    The construction must be built to handle the area’s projected wind and snow loads. Failure to do so may cause damage to the panels or the building itself, potentially resulting in costly repairs or replacements.

    Solar Panel Size and Orientation

    The appropriate angle and orientation of the panels must be set to optimize energy production while meeting size and orientation specifications. For example, if the location has a southern exposure, the panels should be positioned to face south. Hence, the angle of the panels should be adjusted to capture as much sunlight as possible.

    Budget and Cost-Effectiveness

    It is important to weigh the advantages of the mounting structure against its cost. For instance, consider the long-term savings obtained by selecting a high-quality, long-lasting mounting framework.

    Sustainability and Environmental Factors

    Select a structure that has a minimal environmental impact and is built of environmentally friendly materials. Furthermore, it should be constructed to be easily dismantled and recycled at the end of its life.

    Infra-Metals: Your Go-To Source for Steel Solar Panel Mounts!

    At Infra-Metals, we are your one-stop shop for all your structural carbon steel needs! We have streamlined materials and processing capabilities, allowing us to provide you with the best materials and components for your application. Moreover, our extensive inventory enables us to offer multiple types of products on short notice.

    Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help you. You may also request a quote today to work with us on your next custom solar panel mounting project!

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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:



  8. 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!