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2010 Winter Olympics Speed Skating Facility
Albina Pipe Bending Co., Inc. played an instrumental roll in creating the unique roof structure of the 400-meter speedskating oval located in Richmond, B.C. The oval is the home of the speedskating events for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Albina rolled 36 lengths of tube steel (12" x 12" x .375" wall thickness and 54 feet long) to a 101 foot inside radius. In total, 113,000 pounds of material was rolled to create the structural steel supports for teh concrete-roofed dome.

The concept of putting 400-metre speed-skating tracks indoors is relatively new. Until the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, Olympic competitions were held outdoors. Calgary's organizers convinced the International Skating Union to put its track inside a concrete-roofed room. In doing so, they created a facility that moderated ice conditions.

To read more about the unique architecture of the Richmond Speed Skating Oval, please read the following article titled "Richmond's iconic oval breaks all moulds"Canada.com - Jan 2009
Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington
Albina Pipe Bending rolled 128,894 pounds of 5" Sch120 and 5" Sch40 pipe (tilted at 45 degrees)to help create a striking 340-ft steel pedestrian bridge linking the current Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA.) to a remote exhibit space and future development site across a busy traffic arterial. The radiused bend of the hoops varied from 22 ft at the center of the span to 19 ft at the tapered ends. All of the material is Architecturally Exposed and this bridge is a perfect example of why steel is the sustainable, available, fast and econmical choice. Precast structural shapes and cast-in-place concrete solutions were studied, but the narrow apeture through which the structure needs to pass, above the roadway clearance and below the power lines, limited the amount of structural depth that could be accomdated below the bridge deck. Using a steetl truss allowed the structural depth to surround the partially enclosed interior space and also maintained consistancy with the existing museum's architecture. The bridge deck was also originally specified as cast concrete over metal deck, but the weight of the material remained a problem, so once an extruded aluminum deck plank was identified, the steel could be reduced in weight, resulting in a savings to the project and a more appealing and eye catching design. For more information on the Museum of Flight, please see the December Issue of Modern Steel Construction and Steel Bridge News"Taking Flight" by Tim Richey AIA "Taking Flight"- December 2008 MSC
Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects
On February 6, 2009, President Obama made a significant change in federal policy concerning project labor agreements, or PLAs, on federal projects and government contracts. PLAs require all contractors and subcontractors on a construction project to have a labor contract with unions. Until, February 6, federal agencies could not require the use of PLAs on any government projects. The new Executive Order reverses that policy. While not requiring the use of PLAs, it encourages federal agencies to consider requiring PLAs on all federally-funded construction projects greater than $25 million. It makes PLAs permissible if their use advances the policies of the government's labor-management stability and compliance with safety and employment laws. The Office of Management and Budget has 180 days to make recommendations as to whether the new Order should be broadened. The Executive Order should result in an increase in the use of unionized labor on federal construction projects. PLAs will likely result in higher wages and require negotiation with construction unions in order to obtain federal work. While unions are pleased with the Executive Order, which reverses a non-union trend of several decades, non-unionized Contractors are not, as it impacts their ability, or desire, to bid on federal projects. Albina Pipe Bending Co., Inc. has been a union shop since its inception in 1939. We proudly employ union workers from the Local 290 Plumbers and Steamfitters Union (Local 290 Website) and the Local 516 Iron Workers Union (Local 516 Website). The specific language of the executive order can be found at: Whitehouse.gov
Energy Conservation
Albina Pipe Bending Co., Inc. is a strong proponent of energy conservation. We believe that every little bit helps; we can all do our part to make a difference. Albina, like many other businesses, has made a pledge to save energy with Portland General Electric. In addition to our pledge Albina has taken specific action steps to actually conserve energy. Our entire 50,000 square ft production facility was upgraded with energy efficient light fixtures and bulbs. The new lighting drastically lowered the amount of energy we use and provided a brighter shop floor and better working conditions. We have also installed motors on all of our overhead doors. Prior to the motor installation we opened our doors once during the day and kept the doors open for ease of in and out traffic. The doors were opened only once because they were labor intensive to open and close, but having the doors open created problems keeping our shop heated. The motors allow us to keep our overhead doors closed for a majority of the day during the cold winter months. We now open and close them only as needed. Having the doors closed for a majority of the day has drastically decreased the heating requirement in our shop and in turn eliminates the energy required for heating. Our air compressor that runs our shop was analyzed and found to be inefficiently using energy. Albina immediately put a plan in place to replace and upgrade our air compressor with a more energy efficient compressor. This upgrade has proven to reduce the amount of energy required, daily. Finally, we have made it company policy to only purchase new sales vehicles that get a minimum of 30 miles per gallon. Albina has utilized and will continue to utilize the business energy tax credit that the Oregon Department of Energy provides. Not only are we saving energy to help the environment and improve our business community, but we are able to recognize tax credits for the energy savings. Our pledge to conserving energy, along with the pledges of many other businesses can be found at: Portland General Electric. Our hope is that our pledge and actions will strengthen the business community and demonstrate the power every company has to make a difference.
William Smith Announces His Retirement From Albina Pipe Bending Co., Inc.
retire_ment-733632 On November 18th CEO William Smith announced his plans to retire from Albina Pipe Bending Co., Inc. after 43 years of service. William Smith officially passes the torch to his son Brian Smith, the current CFO and General Manager of Albina Pipe Bending Co., on January 1st, 2009. In the official letter announcing his departure from the family business Smith proclaimed "With Brian at the helm, I am confident the company is in excellent hands". Smith's easy manner and penchant for outstanding customer service have long been the hallmark of Albina Pipe Bending Company. Customer satisfaction and community service are just a few of the values he has imparted in those lucky enough to have worked with him over the years. William Smith's contributions, not only to Albina Pipe Bending Co. but to the community at large, will endure as he continues to share his leadership skills as a mentor and youth advocate for non-profit organizations such as Junior Achievement and CASA. Smith's retirement announcement can be viewed in it's entirety here: WHS_Retires.pdf
Albina Pipe Bending Kicks Off Annual Toy Drive!
toy_drive Yes it is that time of year! The time where we count our many blessings and eat lots of holiday treats! It is also when we look around and see the many, many families less fortunate than ourselves. So in the spirit of giving we begin our annual Toy Drive. This week is the kick-off and runs thru Dec 15th. If your gift is received by Dec 15th the company will match your generosity 100%. Last year was a record year of giving. We were able to donate $2882.00 in toys to The Salvation Army. This has brought uncountable smiles to the faces of less fortunate children. We look forward to doing the same again this year! All of us here at Albina Pipe Bending Co., Inc. would like to thank Deborah Wilson for her contribution as organizer of this annual event. Happy Holidays to you and yours!
How HSS reacts to the bending process
Without some sort of internal support HSS material rolled / curved will result in a certain level of distortion. The faces of the material will try to concave, wrinkle and crush during the bending process. HSS reacts to the bending process by collapsing inward as a result of compression across the horizontal faces and the inside face of the material. Severity of deformation is increased when using thinner wall material and/or bending to tighter radii. Deformation of tube faces is also dependant on material sizes and direction of rolling (i.e. the Hard-way or the Easy-way) when bending rectangular tube steel. The inside face will deform more significantly when bending rectangular material the Easy-way versus the Hard-way. The outside face of the material will always deform the least regardless of bend direction. In extreme cases, certain faces may not only collapse inward, but can result in alternating inward and outward collapsing as larger wrinkles throughout the bend section. Albina Pipe Bending Co., Inc. has implemented an internal support system that reduces concavity, minimizes distortion, allows for tighter radii and reduced deformation and twist. By filling the void in tube steel’s interior, internal support restricts the amount that material can collapse, resulting in greatly reduced deformation using thinner walls to tighter radii when compared to materials bent without internal support. Internal Support is designed to provide higher quality bends to the end user by meeting your Architecturally Exposed needs. Albina Pipe Bending Co., Inc. feels strongly that bending options must be supplied to an end user. It is critical for end users to understand that increasing the wall thickness is a solution BUT NOT the only solution if you demand high quality HSS bends. It is important to Albina to provide customers with cost effective solutions by providing a number of bending options (i.e. roll bending with or without internal support, cold increment bending and hot increment bending) resulting in various end products.
Cost and Availability of Structural Steel
Albina Pipe Bending Co., Inc. understands the impact that material availability and consistent material costs have on steel fabricators. We are in a current economy where structural steel required for a project is not always readily available and if it is available it may not be available at the originally quoted cost.

In a memo to valued customers dated March 19th 2007, Albina Pipe Bending has learned from a local steel service center, Lampros Steel:

“If you haven’t heard by now, prices for most steel products are going up- quickly. Scrap has been increasing in value dramatically in the past thirty days- and China is not a factor. In fact, China is out of the scrap market at present. Russia is seeing huge steel demand within their borders and has stopped exporting on the world market. Korea and Japan are busy-and-they are large scrap buyers.”

Marcus Lampros went on to indicate, “Where is supply heading? We have already seen signs of another shortage. Nucor has already cut back allocation to some fabricators and distributors. Small beams shouldn’t be a problem- large beams, especially 14” and 16”, will be hard to get.”

The advice from Lampros is, “do not panic! Wide Flange will stay high for the rest of the year-plan on it. Shortages will occur for certain, so make sure to lock up your steel when you get a job- and make sure the sized are available when you need them.”

To help avoid problems associated with material shortages and fluctuating steel costs Albina Pipe Bending feels that early interaction with subcontractors is essential. Steel fabricators should contact a qualified bending company early in a project- don’t hesitate to get an order placed. Bending companies, like Albina Pipe Bending, can purchase material and put it on hold at today’s costs which will hold pricing consistent and will insure that material is available when bending is required. This early involvement will also secure a spot on a benders production schedule which will also help reduce the bending lead-time.

Plan ahead and communicate with all key subcontractors! It will be the best way to avoid problems associated with material shortages and fluctuating material costs.
What do Bending companies really need to know?
When a bending company, like Albina Pipe Bending Co., Inc., approaches a project, they need to know certain information if they are going to successfully produce what the customer requires. Albina Pipe Bending makes a practice of asking questions prior to the acceptance of a purchase order to avoid assumptions that could cost the customer or end user time and money. The following are key elements that should be discussed before any bids are issued for a project. What are you trying to bend? This may seem like an obvious question, but it isn’t always asked or answered. It is critical before starting any project to confirm: • What is the member shape (pipe, tube, angle, wide flange, etc) • What is the member size and thickness (weight) • What is the material type (A53, T304, A500, A36, etc.) How is the material oriented? It is critical to confirm and define how a structural member is bent. Poorly detailed drawings can be difficult to interpret easy-way vs. hard-way or flanges-in vs. flanges-out. What is the final application of the bent material? Most importantly, is the material AESS (Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel)? Unfortunately AESS means different things to different end users; there are no set definitions to what an AESS product should look like. To help create definition and clarity, Albina Pipe Bending provides distortion and deformation estimates for AESS projects. This helps to define “AESS” prior to a project beginning. Project schedule / lead-time are elements that are always best discussed as early as possible. When the bending company, like Albina Pipe Bending, is contacted at the beginning of a project, bending issues can be discussed and resolved early to avoid any costly delays. Issuing a purchase order early in a project to your bender will allow your project to be scheduled accordingly to meet or exceed delivery requirements. Communication is always the key element in anything. Find a bending company that you are comfortable with, has a high level of industry experience, customer service and capabilities is critical to the success of your bending project. Ask questions early and often, assume nothing! This will allow for cost savings, quality products and favorable outcomes.
Bending HSS the easy-way vs. the hard-way
Contrary to what most people think, bending HSS (hollow structural sections) the "hard-way" will frequently result in less concavity (distortion) then bending the same size of material the "easy-way".

Bending the hard-way simply means that the steel member is being bent around/against the "strong-axis".

Bending the easy-way simply means that the steel member is being bent around/against the "weak-axis".

When bending the easy-way, the greater difference between the sides of the tubing will result in greater distortion (less concavity on the inside of the bend). For instance, TS 8" x 2" (a difference of 6”) will have less concavity on the inside of the bend than TS 16" x 4" (a difference of 12").

When bending either the easy-way or hard-way concavity may become less of a problem if the wall thicknesses of the material are increased. For example, TS 12" x 6" x .250" wall material bent the easy-way will result in more concavity (distortion) then TS 12" x 6" x .375" wall bent to the same radius.

Bending companies, like Albina Pipe Bending Co., Inc. implement various techniques to minimize concavity (distortion) when bending HSS material the easy-way and when bending the hard-way. These techniques include but aren’t limited to: bending style (roll, increment, hot, etc), tooling, internal support systems, etc.

It is critical that the end user states their distortion requirements (i.e. what does the material need to look like after it is bent) prior to receiving a quote for bent HSS. By discussing your distortion requirements early in the process, before a quotation is issued, bending companies like Albina Pipe Bending Co., Inc. are able to provide accurate quotations representative of what end users require.