At the Forefront of Architectural Steel

Newport Industrial Fabrication
Written by Ryan Cartner

Structural steel manufacturer Newport Industrial Fabrication, Inc. (NIF) specializes in architecturally and geometrically challenging builds. NIF is located in Newport, Maine and works primarily throughout New England but has worked on projects in New York, Florida, and beyond.
Newport Industrial Fabrication was established in 1997 and has since grown from an eight-thousand-square-foot fabrication plant to eighteen thousand square feet. The company works closely with general contractors, engineers, architects, and other on-site teams to provide project management and engineering support services. The company’s philosophy is to get involved at the early stages of the project so it can lend its experience and its expertise to every phase of the job.

Its project management team collaborates with key groups on a job site, understand their needs, and communicate its own guidance, all toward providing the best result for the customer. Employees have a broad range of experience across many related fields, giving them a deep understanding of the technical details and inherent complications in every area of the project.

By keeping the lines of communication open, everyone on the project is able to operate efficiently as a team. The company website describes this approach as “service oriented and pragmatic.”

This commitment to efficient on-site communication is fundamental for projects with geometric and architectural complexity, and these are the types of projects that suit its expertise. It has developed a portfolio of technical structural builds. Because many of these designs are at a level of complexity well beyond the scope of traditional processes, Newport Industrial Fabrication complements its expert engineering talent with custom three-dimensional (3D) modeling software. This allows the company to create intricate, complex structures that fit precisely to the client’s specifications.

To build and finish these projects, it operates two state-of-the-art facilities. From design and detailing to fabrication and finishing, its 18,000-square-foot assembly plant is equipped with the machinery to meet the structural steel fabrication needs for projects of any size or complexity. It has sawing equipment and a plasma table capable of cutting through two-inch-thick steel; it has a drill line, as well as 45 and 120-ton punches, and equipment for a wide range of industry standard welding, press braking, and forming processes.

This is all in addition to its sixteen acres of developed yard space and a separate seventeen-thousand-square-foot facility designed for painting, coating, and other finishing applications. Its coating facility is equipped for a variety of coating and painting processes, as well as sandblasting and pressure cleaning.

NIF is highly proficient and accredited to be able to complete its projects. The company has certifications for welding, coating, inspecting both of those processes, and much more. It is certified by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) to build structural components for small and intermediate steel bridges. The AISC has also provided it with a fracture critical endorsement.

Bridges are considered ‘fracture critical’ when the failure of a structural component would cause partial or complete collapse. In general, bridges are designed so that if a structural component were to fail, backup components would keep it standing. This redundancy has multiple components doing the same job, becoming useful only when one fails. To perform work on a non-redundant fracture critical bridge, more stringent fabrication standards must be met than for typical bridge work. The AISC’s endorsement indicates whether or not a fabricator is equipped to meet those demands, and Newport Industrial Fabrication has earned it, demonstrating its reliable, quality workmanship.

Having so many prestigious designations has enabled NIF to stand apart in its industry. Due to that, the company has been able to seek out more difficult projects and further develop its expertise, the field experience of its workforce, and its reputation.

It has worked on an array of project types, but the majority fall into four categories. These are architecturally exposed structural steel, curtain walls and glass support structures, transportation projects such as bridges, and structures for the alternative energy sector.

Architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS) is any steel component that has a structural function, but has been deliberately left exposed to serve an aesthetic purpose as well. AESS components typically require detailing and finishing processes that are not necessary with standard structural steel, and a greater level of care is required from the fabricator to make the product appeal to the eye while being structurally sound.

To achieve this, the company uses a whole suite of software utilities including AutoCAD, Tekla Structures, and Solidworks. The combination of these tools gives precision design and engineering capabilities from modeling structures to calculating the physical attributes of components. Incorporating these technologies allows the company to operate with great accuracy and efficiency.

Curtain wall is the term for architecturally exposed steel structures that hold glass. They are often challenging to construct, but tend to be in demand because of their aesthetic appeal. However difficult these projects might be, Newport Industrial Fabrication has developed techniques and processes to make the project feasible.

For the transportation sector, the company has worked on an assortment of job types including bridges, bus, train, and subway stations, ferry terminals, and more. Each project has its own unique set of requirements and can be complicated to construct. Because the clients for these projects are often state departments of transportation, certain qualifications are necessary and very strict standards must be met. It has consistently delivered the highest possible quality, and as a result, the Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine departments of transportation are all repeat customers.

NIF’s coating capabilities enable it to construct metalized structures that are perfectly suited to handle the specific issues of alternative energy projects. Wind farms and hydroelectric or underwater tidal turbines require robust equipment to withstand weather and environmental wear. NIF’s coating facility is equipped with thermal transfer equipment for metalizing steel with coatings of zinc, aluminum, titanium, and brass.

For more than two decades, Newport Industrial Fabrication has built its reputation by delivering top quality work on some of the most architecturally challenging projects in its region.



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