Applications of I-Beams

graphic displaying a classic I-beam profileStructural steel beams are the primary component used in constructing buildings, bridges, and other structures, and I-beams are the most common type. I-beams are so called because of the shape created by the central web and two tapered flanges. This rather simplistic design offers significant load-bearing strength, which is a key reason to its popularity. Let’s take a closer look at this universal building material.

The Basic Shape of an I-Beam

The long vertical section of a beam is called the web. On the top and bottom of the web are two flanges (sometimes called legs) that extend outward, forming the “I” shape. The strength of I-beams is derived from the flanges, which prevent bending, and the web, which resists force. The unique shape of I-beams allows them to offer maximum weight support with minimal materials. It’s easy to understand, therefore, why they are so versatile across industries.


In addition to their ability to support enormous weight, I-beams can be used in various ways to form the structure of buildings and bridges. For instance, I-beams can easily connect with other I-beams and structural steel components with bottom mounts, top mounts, and bottom-center mounts. They also evenly distribute weight to center the load of the structure. Additionally, hoists, lighting, and other features can be attached to I-beams.

Similar Materials

While I-beams are a popular structural steel material, there are other types of beams that look the same and offer similar applications. H-beams, for instance, are almost identical to I-beams, with the key difference being that H-beams are thicker and have wider flanges. The larger size of H-beams allows them to support even more weight than I-beams, which is why they are often driven into the foundation to be used as the primary structural component for buildings, bridges, and other structures.

Fabricating Structural Steel I-Beams

Because I-beams are used in almost every type of permanent structure, they are in high demand across many industries. Professionals who specialize in structural steel and plate fabrication need to produce perfect I-beams in order to stay ahead of their competition. If you own a structural steel fabrication shop and are looking for a way to perfect your production of I-beams and other materials, you’ll want to know about BeamCut, the industry’s most advanced CNC robotic plasma cutting technology.

The Power of BeamCut

BeamCut is equipped with state-of-the-art features to improve production at your shop. These features include:

  • FANUC robotics – The six-axis robotic arm can bevel 360 degrees and process any shape or profile in the industry.
  • Hypertherm plasma – X-Definition plasma from Hypertherm is renowned for its unrivaled power and cutting capabilities.
  • CNC software – BeamCut’s CNC controls are a cinch to use and can eliminate cutting errors. They can also automate production and speed up turnaround times.

With these advanced features working together, BeamCut can help you save on labor costs and reduce your production time by as much as 80%. That adds up to a significant return on investment!

For more information about BeamCut, the most advanced robotic plasma cutting beam machine on the market, and how it can help your structural steel and plate fabrication shop get ahead in a crowded industry, contact us today.