Cookie-cutter designs aren’t for everything. Unique visions call for anything but standard designs. But that doesn’t mean that the process to realize that vision should not meet certain standards.
Allstate Tower, which is under the Pittsburg Tank & Tower Group umbrella, provides custom support system designs to fit customers’ needs. Steel support towers, catwalks, superstructures, stairs, work platforms, walk thru trusses, barge loadout towers, and goal posts – PTTG can custom design these types of structures that are utilized across a wide range of industries.
“With us, obviously, we can offer standard products, but we can also offer the customized structures as well,” said Alisha Saalwaechter, manager of sales and project management for manufacturing at Allstate Tower. “We have the engineering staff. We have the facility. We have the knowledge.”
From drafting and engineering to fabrication, manufacturing, and completion, PTTG handles everything in-house at its facilities in Henderson, Kentucky. We process structural steel and plate on site to meet specific shapes and tolerances, whether bolted or welded. Our finishing options include custom finishing, ASTM 123 Hot-dipped galvanizing, NACE/SSPC, FAA Standard Paint, and powder coating and custom painting.
Naturally, custom designs take longer to complete than standard ones.
“We have standard designs that go through really quick if they are using our standard products,” said Ray Fulkerson, director of engineering for Allstate Tower. “There is a lot more engineering and drafting time involved in custom structures.”
Custom designs involve more planning in the drafting and engineering phases; therefore they are more expensive than standard designs. There are many things to consider with custom design, including if the structure will be in a seismic zone, which could result in a price increase. However, careful planning helps the projects remain cost-effective.
Pittsburg Tank & Tower Group takes the time to figure out exactly what the customer needs in the initial phases. Sometimes it’s hard for the customer to imagine the finished product. Seeing a mock-up of the finished product gives customers a visual reference point.
With our 2D and 3D capabilities, PTTG can accurately depict what the structure will look like upon completion. Our drafting team can also safely assess the safety and constructability of the customized design so that any potential problems can be addressed prior to construction.
“For a lot of these complex towers, especially if they have stairs or special platforms, it’s much better to go ahead and do a 3D drawing,” said Fulkerson. “We know they are going to fit together better out in the field and they’re going to have fewer problems.”
PTTG also factors in future expansion for many of its designs.
“Some of our competitors will max the towers completely out so that they are less expensive,” Saalwaechter said. “We have room for growth. We know most of the time that the customer is going to expand eventually. We take those types of things into consideration.”
Once the design is finalized, PTTG offers a complete range of support throughout the construction or installation process. Pittsburg backs up each custom design with the staff, contractors, and engineering services necessary to turn the design into reality – on budget and on time. The goal is to provide our customers with cost-effective design and support solutions from start to finish.
As the industry grows, the demand for customized options, rather than the cookie cutter standards, are here to stay.
“So, you have to have a company that can keep up with those demands and we do,” said Saalwaechter. “Whether we are putting more into our engineering department or our drafting department, that’s what we do to make sure we are meeting the needs of our customers and their customers for the long term.”