How to Cope Steel Beams

How does one cope steel beams?

Steel beams are usually fabricated to fit up to another beam. In order for the beams to fit perfectly, coping and slotting are required.

Coping or notching of beams is required to ensure that beams and columns fit without conflict (interference). It is often necessary to remove material from a flange or web in order for the intersecting steel pieces to fit.


Manual Coping of Steel Beams

To manually cope a steel beam, a layout man reads the detailed drawings and then transfers the dimensions of the cope to the steel beam, and uses a tape measure, framing square and chalk to draw the cope. Then using an oxy-fuel gas torch, an operator will manually cut out the cope from the steel beam. Often this rough cut requires considerable chipping and grinding in order to improve the appearance and finish of the cut.

Problems with Manually Coping Steel Beams

There are several potential problems with manual beam coping:

  • The time taken to layout the cope is often long, and sometimes the layout man will rush this process, trying to reduce the amount of time taken.
  • Laying out the cope in the steel beam uses the most expensive shop floor man, and the layout adds no value – its only the actual cutting/drilling of the beam that adds value to the beam – layout is a very expensive NON-VALUE-ADDED activity.
  • There is always the possibility that the layout man will transfer the information to the beams inaccurately, and that the copes will be cut in the wrong place.
  • And frequently there is the possibility that the man cutting the copes will cut incorrectly, often over-cutting a critical/corner/radius/filet inducing a stress raiser that will ensure that the beam gets rejected by the inspector.
  • And finally there is often a fair amount of grinding required to clean up the cope, another NON VALUE ADDED ACTIVITY.
  • All these NON VALUE ADDED ACTIVITIES and potential errors, dramatically erode any potential profit the that fabricator was hoping to make


Alternate Way to Cope Steel Beams – CNC Beam Coping Machine

  • The Ocean Liberator Beam Coper is a single torch CNC beam coping machine that removes the need for manually laying out your copes, and ensures that copes are done neatly and accurately, direct from your CNC detail drawings.
  • The Liberator performs copes steel beams significantly faster than copes done manually.
  • Minor clean-up with a chipping hammer and very little, if any, grinding is required one the cope is done, further reducing non-value added labor costs.
  • The Ocean Liberator CNC Beam Coping Machine is capable of processing almost any structural steel profile including beams, channel, tube, angle, and plate.
  • The Ocean Liberator beam coping machine has 5 axes of movement. It simulates the human hand holding a cutting torch and WILL do everything a human hand can do with the torch on beams, channels, plates, angles, tubes, and almost anything you can put in the machine.
  • At cutting time, the torch will light automatically. The operator then determines the preheat time at each start point. The beam coping machine will bevel the flanges and the web automatically at any degree between +/- 45 degrees.


Read more about the Ocean Liberator CNC Beam Coping Machine

© Copyright 2024, Ocean Machinery Inc.