Stainless Steel Mill Structural Health Monitoring/Repair


Outokumpu Stainless, USA

Stainless Steel Mill Structural Health Monitoring/Repair


Walter P Moore performed structural health monitoring for a large stainless steel mill to verify as-built structural behavior. Buildings within the plant house numerous processes to transform scrap material into finished coils for incorporation into appliances, cars, and other applications. During plant commissioning, management was alerted to cracking in structural steel connection plates. Walter P Moore was part of a forensics team that determined the extents and causes of the distress. An early key factor of interest was the crane movement and the impact on the members with which they connect. Walter P Moore designed a short-term structural health monitoring program to measure the forces during controlled crane movements.

A representative bay of the building frame was selected and instrumented with strain gages on the horizontal beams whose connections were the focus of the investigation. Based on the monitoring results, a recommendation was made to repair or stabilize connections in the area of frequent crane movements before returning the crane to service. The short-term structural health monitoring program allowed for economical and timely verification of as-built behavior in an industrial space where delays and down time are extremely costly. The results of the monitoring program determined the root cause of the observed distress, as well as the immediate steps necessary to secure the structure until a permanent solution could be fully implemented. Walter P Moore provided construction documents for repairs to the steel connections and bracing.