Piling and Equipment & ELW Associates LLC
Cold Formed Steel Sheet Pile vs.
Hot Rolled Steel Sheet Pile
Worldwide cold formed steel sheet pile is set to overtake and out-produce hot rolled steel sheet pile in harbors, shipyards, docks, and water treatment plants from Singapore to North America.
Since cold formed steel sheet pile was introduced over thirty years ago, there are now over a dozen mills producing cold formed steel sheet pile worldwide compared to a half dozen hot rolled mills worldwide. Over a million tons of permanent and temporary projects have been supplied in North America alone for every type of soil condition including driving in extremely hard glacier tills, coral, cemented sands and heavy clays. In fact, cold formed piling has never had a propensity to drive out of the interlocks like many hot rolled sheets in difficult driving conditions.
Some reasons cold formed is proving to be superior to hot rolled:
- Cold formed costs less. Because of the economically efficient process, cold formed has been selling for approximately $200 to $400 dollars a ton less than hot rolled.
- Cold formed created many innovations in the pile industry such as wider, deeper, multiple thickness sections.
- Cold Formed offers greater flexibility and additional savings in selecting exact lengths; whereby most hot rolled mills offer only 5? increments or cannot not roll less than 20? lengths. In many projects this flexibility can produce 25% savings in material.
- Many sections of hot rolled are rolled infrequently and customers are at the mercy of hot rolled mills arbitrary rolling schedules. Cold formed mills have the ability to economically change over to roll other sections, allowing for faster schedules on small orders and increased savings in project production scheduling.
Cold formed piling would probably be out-selling hot rolled in the United States, if it were not for the bureaucracy of the US Army Corp of Engineers. Without publishing any empirical data, but rather relying on anecdotal data, the Corp of Engineers has been resistant to make design considerations that include cold formed for many projects. In spite of this situation, contractors in North America are increasingly asking for and preferring to use cold formed for the many varied permanent or temporary steel sheet pile projects they are installing.