Metal fabrication is a precise field, and you must do everything right to guarantee your cuts are accurate and fit perfectly into the adjacent steel beam. You need to engineer these beams perfectly to ensure they stand up to their structural requirements. Up until recent years, beam coping was a very labor intensive manual process. But with beam coping machines, it has become easier. Let’s look at some beam coping tips that will result in clean and tightly fitted beams.

Prioritize Accuracy Above All Else

With beam coping, accuracy is the name of the game. Inaccurate drill lines can be costly on the job site when beams don’t accurately line up, or worse—they don’t pass inspection and delay the job. Eliminating the manual layout process greatly reduces the risk of this happening. You can upload layouts to the CNC software when using beam coping machines, significantly reducing setup time and cutting errors.

Know That It’s a Repetitive Process

Beam coping is a repetitive process. There’s a lot of flipping and handling of the beams for precise fabricating. You can dramatically reduce layout time with a CNC beam coping machine. Typically, this requires your most experienced steel fabricators. However, since the machine handles the cutting processes, it frees up some of your most experienced workers for other projects.

Fix the Cope Early

A CNC beam coping machine eliminates the risk of manual beam coping. It’s imperative to have the cuts perfect before the beams end up on the job site. Steel workers need to pay special attention to how the beams fit together to avoid inaccurately cutting the beam. Since these are structural beams, the result of inaccurate coping and grading will result in a failed inspection. In turn, this will cost you valuable time and money in the process. If you’re still manually coping your beams, make sure to double- and triple-check your measurements, cuts, grinds, etc. Also, correct inaccuracies as soon as possible.

Shifting Toward CNC Beam Coping Machines

Manual coping is a time-consuming process. The physical layout, measuring, cutting, and grinding takes several hours. With a coping machine, you can radically reduce the time you spend on this laborious process. For this reason, many shops are shifting away from this tedious process to more of an automated one. Manual coping takes lots of time and results in frequent human errors. The most common ones are holes out of alignment and cuts at the wrong angles. Not to mention, the manual finishing process takes too long with chipping and grinding to remove the slag left behind. Upgrading to a CNC Beam Coping Machine will significantly improve the throughput, accuracy, and reliability of the products you produce.

These four important beam coping tips paint a good picture of the advancements in beam coping and how eliminating the manual process benefits steel shops. At Mac-Tech, we’re happy to answer any questions about beam coping and help you make the right decision on the structural steel cutting machine that’s the right fit for your shop’s application needs. This way, you’ll get the job done right every time.

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