Panltek looks for help with panelized roof system

April 15, 2003

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PLATTEVILLE - One of UW-Platteville's senior design teams has recently paired up with Tom Bragg of Panltek, manufacturers of steel building systems in Platteville, to help design the walls and support beams to hold and connect 16 roof panels measuring 65 feet by 12 feet each without support columns taking up space in the middle of a building.

Panltek's primary market currently lies in agricultural buildings, but the company is looking to expand its market into small commercial clear span buildings. Having a design system to attach more free standing roof panels will allow Panltek to build larger, more versatile, buildings to attract a larger customer base.

The senior design team consists of three civil engineering students who will each be graduating this May. The team includes Kristine Palmer, a fourth-year senior from Two Rivers, and Brian Elskamp, a fifth-year senior from Kieler, each with an emphasis in structural and geotechnical engineering. The third team member is Adam Teuissen, a fifth-year senior from Sheboygan with an emphasis in structural and construction engineering.

Thus far, the team has designed the rafters and the two 65-foot beams that will extend to the center of the roof connecting the roof panels. The team has also worked on the crossbeams that will connect the beams throughout the panelized roof system.

The next step for the team involves designing the connection for each of the panelized frames. In doing so, the team must make sure the connection is strong enough to support the roof panels, insulation and possible snow loads.

The team has been challenged throughout the project due to its uniqueness. Since the roof system is panelized and needed to be free standing, the group has spent a lot of time and energy designing alternative solutions to complete the project.

Throughout the course of the project the team has learned a lot about beam and steel construction. They have learned how to analyze a beam, which beams are strong enough to support certain loads, and in-depth information regarding steel design. The team has also learned about step-by-step interpretation and expectations of the project through a client.

Classes at UWP have also prepared the team for the project. Previously, the team has learned about steel design and how to test steel sections against failure and different weight loads. Civil engineering professor Matthew Roberts has also been a big help to the team and an excellent resource for information.

The team agrees that this project has been a wonderful real-life experience that has encouraged team members to think outside the box.

Following graduation each of the team members has continuing plans. Palmer will be attending graduate school at Iowa State University in Ames. Teuissen has already accepted a position with Donahue & Associates in Sheboygan. Elskamp is currently interviewing and seeking a position for future employment.

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