Unistrut Compatible Channel Support Systems
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Designing Unistrut Support Systems For Radiology and Medical Applications: Common Problems
We often receive calls from Contractors, Architects and Engineers wanting to play an active role in the design of a Unistrut Medical Equipment Support System. Since one of the most common applications is a Radiology (X-Ray) grid, we will discuss some design issues associated with these types of installations.
One design that we frequently see is adding structural steel beams (I Beams, or Wideflange Beams) perpendicular to the Unistrut, but just 3-1/4” above the ceiling (equal to the height of the P1001 ceiling channel). There are a few problems in doing this. We will address a few of them below.
- Design load: Most Radiology rooms are designed for a 1,000 lb load anywhere on the system (there are some that are higher and some lower, but this gives a basic idea for of discussion). The ideal beam clamp to attach P1001 Unistrut to the beam is a P2786, rated for 2,000 lbs/pair, but unfortunately, these are wrap around style beam and would extend below the ceiling, something that is typically not acceptable. There are alternative clamps, but they do not have the same load rating.
- Deflection: Industry standards require system deflection to be below 1/16”. Spanning structural steel across a room, most likely around 15’ or so, will exceed the deflection requirements of the system.
- Steel tolerances: Most radiology systems have certain requirements for plumb and level. Because most structural steel is not fabricated to the tolerances that the equipment drawings require, chances are good that you are dealing with steel that is at least ¼” or ½” off over that span. Simply bolting P1001 below this does not fix the problem.
Now you may ask…….what do I do for our Unistrut system? We recommend having the structural steel several inches above the ceiling. Having the steel above the ceiling will allow the installation of additional Unistrut members, allowing infinite adjustment within the vertical members to get the system plumb and level. Contact the team at Unistrut Service Company for a quote on the design of your system today!
Unistrut Channel Support System, A Long History
Unistrut channel has been around for almost a century and has become unsurprisingly, the generic name used to describe the systems of many manufacturers. The original Unistrut system was if my information is correct invented in 1924 by Charles Attwood, at the time being the Attwood System. Originally invented to support cable and electrical equipment, the inventor saw many uses for this ingenious support system.
Mr Attwood continued to develop his Unistrut Channel and fixings until it became the standard support system across many industries. The size of what we term as 41 x 41 slotted channel is actually 1 5/8” x 1 5/8” and originally based on the thickness of 2" x 4" stud for constructing walls. As we are still talking imperial measurements, you will realise straight away that this is an American invention. This does explain though why the standard size we still use is 41mm x 41mm Unistrut channel as this is produced the world over in these dimensions.
Unistrut Channel Development
As we have already stated Charles Attwood with his Attwood system saw many advantages to using this clever support system. He began to look at various mechanical systems where his Unistrut support system could be used and created brackets and products to hang and support material. The original invention was an ingenious idea that although is over ninety years old is still the world standard in framing support.
Looking at the original idea, I doubt anyone now really looks at how clever this was in 1924. A man came up with the concept that if you created a channel support then added curved pyramid edges and then added a spring nut with serrated slots. You came up with a complete box section support that could be built into a frame support. The tightening up of these nuts would then allow you to add more framing to the original support; with the absolute certainty that the strut could not lose its shape.
From this original idea, it could be calculated what weight each section could support and if further support was required. No drilling was required, just the addition of more square spring nuts and further lengths of Unistrut channel supports. There is online the original film “The Sky’s the Limit” about the Unistrut channel products, with a simple explanation of how it worked and how easy it was to assemble. This fascinating piece of history takes you to Unistrut City where you meet the original Mr Strut. From there you see Unistrut and the spring nut, originally known as the Unistrut Nut being assembled and easily disassembled.
Unistrut Channel From ValvesTubesFittings.com
Although Unistrut channel is the generic name for this widely used product, not all we offer is the original product here at ValvesTubesFittings.com. We do provide various manufacturers of slotted channel and the associated products; which do include Unistrut products. But much of what we supply in Unistrut channel and the wealth of bracketry available comes from our friends at Caddy. Their catalogue can be found by clicking the highlighted link; a volume that will take you to a wide variety of electrical and mechanical support systems.
As well as be able to provide the galvanised 41mm x 41mm Unistrut channel, we can offer variances in stainless steel, aluminium and fibreglass alternatives. So, no matter what hazards are likely to beset this support system, we can provide the solution. If you can’t find the bracket, fixing or nut you are looking for, contact our sales team who will offer assistance. Whether you are building a temporary structure or a more permanent Unistrut channel support solution, we can assist you.
Unistrut Channel & Pipe Support Systems
We offer an extensive range of pipe support solutions centred around Unistrut channel, a huge seller is our range of cantilever arms. These supports are manufactured from Unistrut channel; to produce an ideal solution for pipeline support systems. Cantilever arms are available from stock in various lengths from 100mm to 600mm. They can be fixed to walls or steel building supports at regular intervals, creating a support mechanism for many pipe system.
Cantilever arms can be used to support longer lengths of strut, to produce framing support for multiple uses, across many industries. Recently we have supplied Unistrut channel cantilever arms to support steam and condense pipe. Where rollers and chairs have been added to ensure trouble-free movement on start-up; including fixed points where required when supplying expansion joints.
Unistrut channel can be used to support just about any pipework system, framing support for heavier valves such as pressure reducing sets or separators. Where additional support is required, just the inclusion of increased support struts can assure a safe and long lasting structure. The myriad of support accessories that are offered as part of Unistrut channel systems, means no task is unachievable. For further information on this or any other pipeline products, talk to our sales team.
Unistrut Channel, A Century On
It is amazing to realise that this simple but effective mechanical support system has been around for almost one hundred years. If Charles Attwood could see now how his product has become the norm in 21st Century mechanical installation; I believe he would be amazed. Early 20th-century technology still thriving almost a century later is an amazing fact.
A simple solution invented by an industry pioneer, a man who should be remembered and celebrated. But the simple fact is, we don’t remember individuals like this because what they created is not in the foreground. Everyone will remember Henry Ford and the first automobiles with combustion engines in 1920. Unistrut channel and the products that came after, seem to pale into insignificance compared to this. But so much was achieved by the invention of Unistrut Channel and Unistrut nuts; that Charles Attwood should share the same industrial glory as Henry Ford.
Next time you look at a simple invention you use now, consider when it came into being and who invented it. That is a bit anorak I know but 1920 saw the invention of the first electric hair dryer by Alexandria Godefoy. The following were all invented in the 1920s and are still in use nearly a century later:
- Traffic Lights - Police Officer, William Potts in 1920
- The Plaster/Band Aid - Earle Dickson in 1920
- The Electric Kitchen Blender - Steven Perlowski in 1922
- The Electric Pop-up Toaster - Charles Strite in 1926
- The Bread Slicer - Otto Rowedder in 1927
- The Electric Razor - Jacob Schick in 1928
- Colour Television - John Logie Baird in 1928
Apart from the traffic light, we couldn’t do without any of these products in the 21st-century. Although they may look very different to the original, the products are basically the same as their inventors envisioned all those years ago. So, in the future when you look at your surroundings in a store or commercial building; remember the impact that Charles Attwood has had on modern life with his Unistrut channel.
Disclaimer: Information correct at the time of publishing (November 2018) but is subject to change. E&OE.
Systems unistrut support
.Unistrut System Components
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