What Are Steel Plates?
Steel plates are large, flat plates most commonly used to cover potholes, excavations, trenches, damaged pedestrian walkways, and roads that are under construction. They are also used along trench boxes during excavation for utility construction and repair. The purpose of a steel plate is to provide a temporary surface for traffic to pass over while construction is underway.
Steel plates are also known as road plates, crossing plates, trench plates, iron mats, metal sheets and steel road plates. These terms are not to be confused with “steel plate construction,” which is a method of constructing heavy reinforced metal sheets that’s mixed with cement for use in building construction projects.
Thickness, Threading, and Materials of a Steel Plate
Steel plates are made of steel that is commonly at least one inch thick. They sometimes feature hardened threaded weld nuts and engineered lifting devices (such as lifting rings) for easy installation. Many plates come with a skid-resistant texture that’s applied to the surface to prevent vehicles from sliding on the steel, especially in wet conditions.
Though steel plates are often 1-inch tall, their thickness will depend on the speed of traffic moving over the plate. Speeds above 45 miles per hour will require taller plates, such as a 1.25-inch plate thickness.
Common Steel Plate Sizes
Some common sizes for steel road plates that are one inch thick include: 4×4, 4×6, 4×8, 4×10, 4×12, 4×16, 5×8, 5×10, 5×12, 5×16, 6×8, 6×10, 6×12, 6×16, 8×10, 8×12, 8×16, 8×20.
How Steel Plates Are Manufactured
Steel plates are manufactured in steel mills. The most common method used to make steel plates is by hot rolling. To do this, a steel slab is heated to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit and passed through a series of rollers. Each set of rollers makes the slab thinner until the desired thickness is achieved. One the steel is the correct thickness, the plate is cooled to room temperature and cut to size or rolled into large coils.
Hot rolled steel is the cheapest sheet steel available. However, cold rolled steel is another option. Cold rolled steel is created when a steel sheet that has previously been hot rolled is run through a second series of rollers without the addition of heat to create an even thinner sheet of steel. Steel must be hot rolled before it can be cold rolled.
Features to Consider when Choosing Steel Road Plates
When choosing steel road plates for a project, there are several features to consider, including:
The plate panel size and coverage
Load bearing features
The use of fixing and machining processes
Safe handling and installation options
Plate details such as edges, ramps and chamfering
Whether there are suitable transportation options
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