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April 12, 2000

New Machine Will Revolutionize Steel Building Industry

Portland, Oregon - Recently, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) recommended nationwide that builders turn to steel as a preferred building material to wood. Although steel is a better choice than wood for many reasons, builders have been slow to change to steel because of a lack of knowledge about using steel and increased costs associated with ordering steel framing. A new machine, being marketed under the name “The Studmeister” by International Steel Building Systems, LLC., however, is about to revolutionize the construction industry and make steel the inevitable framing material of choice rather than wood.

The Studmeister is a small, portable machine, which can manufacture metal stud and steel wall components out of steel coil at the building site. A laptop computer loaded with the program Studmeister Design Software controls the machine, automatically designing wall sections by simply using inputted dimensions of height, width, and openings. The machine automatically produces studs, which are perfectly aligned, sized and punched, so that simply snapping the studs together and adding screws can put up walls.

Because of its portability, the machine can go to the construction site and produce walls in hours, eliminating unnecessary and unpredictable waiting time for wood delivery or steel stud fabrication, which previously had resulted in higher costs to builders. Because the machine is run by a computer and is simple to operate, it also eliminates the need for special expertise that scared builders from using steel before now.

With the previous stumbling blocks of using steel eliminated--higher costs and lack of knowledge, builders will definitely turn to steel over wood for many reasons. Probably first and foremost, the cost of wood is unpredictable and fluctuates wildly, often making it difficult for contractors to price their products. Steel prices, on the other hand, have remained flat since 1981. With the use of The Studmeister and without the previously needed extra costs of sizing and drilling steel at a steel manufacturer’s plant, steel becomes more affordable and stable in price than wood. Plus, The Studmeister leaves absolutely no waste material, thus lowering the cost of wasted materials and clean-up labor.

In addition, steel is more abundant than wood and is the most recycled material on Earth.

And according to the North American Steel Framing Alliance (NASFA), steel has the highest strength to weight ratio of any building material. Steel is non-combustible (and thus will not contribute fuel to a fire), will not rot, warp, split, or crack, is not vulnerable to termites, will not shrink/swell with moisture content, and is produced according to strict national requirements, resulting in a consistently high quality material. Building with steel rather than wood will provide a structure that is more resistant to termites, foundation problems, or damage from hurricane, earthquake, tornado, or fire. Because of its many advantages as a building material, steel has been used for years in commercial building. Recently, the NAHB with President Charlie Ruma at its helm has shifted its attitude from thinking of steel as an alternative material to one of promoting steel in residential building. Many factors have ensured that steel will become the building material of choice in all building applications, commercial and residential:

(1) The recent effort by 73 steel-stud manufacturers to standardize their products and make them acceptable to local building code officials

(2) The efforts by steel groups, such as the North American Steel Framing Alliance, to educate consumers on the benefits of steel

(3) Recent technological innovations, such as The Studmeister, which will reduce costs and eliminate the complexity of working with steel.