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Overhead Support Structure Mounting Options For Buildings With Inadequate Structural Members

Many Unistrut applications require connections to steel columns, beams, or concrete, but what happens when these structural members aren't strong enough to handle the loads imposed by the system?  For example, what happens when you want to suspend a 1,000-pound x-ray system overhead, but the building can't handle the load and meet the stringent deflection requirements of all major equipment manufacturers.  Our recent installation of a support structure for a GE x-ray system illustrates how our design and installation experience created a solution to overcome a building's structural limitations.

Most of the x-ray system support structures we design and install are for hospitals or buildings that can handle significant loads.  In this case, we were dealing with a building originally designed for retail use.  The architect charged with converting the space to medical use worried about the strength of the building's structural members and an engineer commissioned to analyze the situation confirmed these concerns.  Further complicating matters, this was a rush job (which is often the case with medical projects), and the architect wanted uninterrupted sight lines for the new space. We earned this project thanks to our years of experience designing, fabricating, and installing Unistrut overhead medical support structures for radiology equipment.  Although most of our clients know us for our work with Unistrut materials, we also work with structural steel--a much-needed skill set in cases like this.  Our ability to perform both tasks reduced the number of sub-contractors required for the installation and kept the project on schedule.

Before hanging any strut, we needed to start by installing a structural steel superstructure consisting of four 3 x 3 square tube columns nestled within the wall cavities and six overhead beams approximately two feet above the ceiling. Strategically placing the upright columns in this manner and connecting them to the overhead beams created an out-of-sight superstructure from which to hang the channel without cluttering up the radiology room's floor plan.  The superstructure was also designed and installed so it can be utilized during future room renovations.

With the suitable structural steel in place, we installed a support system made from Unistrut P1000 and P1001 back-to-back channel, P2786 beam clamps, P2751 trolleys, and P2484 and P1359 angular fittings.  For readers new to the Unistrut System, the images below illustrate some of the fittings and hardware used to complete this project:Unistrut P2751 Four Wheel Loop Trolley 

Unistrut P2786 Beam ClampUnistrut P2484 - 7 Hole 90 Degree Gusseted FittingUnistrut P1359 4-Hole 90 Degree Fitting 

Below are some photos were taken during the installation of the x-ray support structure

GE 3-rail x-ray system support stucture made from Unistrut

The steel columns like the one shown in shown in the upper right hand corner support the overhead beams

Multiple Rail GE x-ray support structure Unistrut support grid mounted using structural steel superstructure

Ceiling rails are supported every three feet to minimize deflection[/caption]In most cases, we find ways to attach to existing structural members, but this is not always a viable option.  By leveraging years of design and installation experience. we completed this project on time and on budget--despite the limitations of the building.  We should also note that although this post dealt with a medical application, we can apply our extensive knowledge base to deliver similar results for clients with industrial and commercial applications.  To learn more about Unistrut or to discuss your design and installation needs for an upcoming project, contact Unistrut Service Company for further assistance. "