SHEFFIELD, Iowa – An innovative winged roof that has taken off at airports is helping propel rapid growth by a newcomer to the steel buildings manufacturing industry, Sukup Steel Buildings.
Since its inception in 2011, the division of Sukup Manufacturing Co. has sold more than 350 buildings. The number sold per year has grown steadily, including a 45 percent increase from 2015 to 2016, and the variety of uses has soared. They include churches, sports complexes, tractor and motorcycle dealerships, a lumber store, and multistory and multi-building ag processing centers.
The Sukup Winged Roof featured on the new Ames (Iowa) Municipal Airport hangar uses two barrel-vault sections, each sheltering half the area of the building. The offset wings “meet” over the center of the structure, connected by specially designed trapezoidal supports. Between the supports there are large areas for windows. The 4-foot-tall “step rafters” enable a sturdy clerestory connection of the roof sections and provide lots of space for windows.
The winged roof design was first developed for use on an airport hangar at the Mason City (Iowa) Municipal Airport. It was the brainchild of Sukup Manufacturing Co. Chief Financial Officer Steve Sukup and his wife, Vicki.
“The wings idea just seemed a natural for use on an airplane hangar,” Steve Sukup said, crediting Vicki with having an eye for great design.
The recent hangar projects, among others, help showcase the commercial building design capabilities of Sukup Steel Buildings, which started off mainly as a manufacturer of farm storage buildings. Both in 2015 and 2016, the number of commercial buildings surpassed the number of ag buildings.
“We have a rapidly expanding and talented staff who can design buildings to meet most any need,” said Jeremy Woodland, department manager.
Also, the company has some of the newest and most sophisticated metal fabricating equipment available, said sales and service rep Jim Shipley, a 25-year veteran of the metal buildings industry. The PHI submerged arc pull-through welder can run widths ranging from 8” to 72” with flanges ranging from 5” to 16”. There are Peddinghaus saws for cutting and drilling plate and angle steel, and two Peddinghaus beam lines for sawing and drilling beams. The newer of the two can also cut slots, drill threads and scribe part numbers into beams.
The ASC purlin mill can produce C- and Z-shaped purlins and girts from 4” to 16” wide and switch profiles in just minutes, Shipley said, and the Jorns Eco-TwinMatic is the newest and most technologically advanced trim folder in the industry.
The Sukup Winged Roof is an attractive option for buildings serving a wide variety of industries, said Bill Mossie, the Sukup Steel Buildings engineer who designed supports for the Winged Roof. Besides airplane hangars, the Sukup Winged Roof was used on a Hamilton, Mich., office/warehouse for an agricultural equipment dealer, on a fairgrounds building in Wisconsin, and has drawn interest from others who seek eye-catching form.
Not only does the Winged Roof design boost the image of building owners and users, it provides more natural lighting than available on traditional roofing. The ample lighting helps with equipment care and display, and helps reduce utility bills.
The new hangar is one of two physical components of an Ames airport modernization project. Another will be a new terminal.
The growth of traffic at the airport prompted Ames area leaders to seek an upgrade of facilities, said Dan Culhane, president and chief executive officer of the Ames Chamber of Commerce & Ames Economic Development Commission. The airport averages nearly 120 operations per day, including take-offs and landings, according to the city of Ames.
The 11,400-square-foot hangar – 120 feet wide by 95 feet long -- was built by Story Construction of Ames. It “turned out just the way we had hoped,” Culhane said.
Walls are made of 26-gauge polar white-painted MSP panels. Bright red wainscot with a yellow accent band were used to match colors of Iowa State University, which is a primary client of the hangar. Roofing is made of 24-gauge Galvalume panels. Roof panels were rolled and radiused on-site using a portable standing-seem roof panel shaping machine. It saved time and money for the builder and ensured a more accurate fit.
The design of the building ties into that of a building in the university’s nearby research park, which is a destination for many of the airport users, Culhane said.
Besides planes used by visitors to the research park, the hangar will also shelter aircraft of sports teams playing against the ISU Cyclones, and those used by entertainers and local business travelers.
Since there are currently no de-icing capabilities at the airport, having a heated hangar will help keep winter departures on schedule, said Sukup’s Nadine Wreghitt, who coordinated manufacturing of the building materials.
Partners in funding the hangar project included Story County, the city of Ames, the Ames Economic Development Commission, ISU, and private businesses.
Sukup Manufacturing’s commitment to the project was outstanding, Culhane said. “The process went quite smoothly.”
The building “was done on time and the final product is exceptional,” Culhane said, adding that it looks great from the nearby research park and from the air.
With applications at two airports and plans for use on other buildings, you might say the Sukup Winged Roof, like Sukup Steel Buildings, is no longer flying under the radar.
Sukup Manufacturing Co. is headquartered in Sheffield, Iowa, and covers 1,000,000 sq. ft. of office, manufacturing and warehouse space. The company employs about 500 people, making it one of the largest employers in North Central Iowa. Three generations of the family are active in the business.
Besides steel buildings, Sukup’s product line includes farm and commercial grain bins, three types of grain dryers, centrifugal and axial fans and heaters, stirring machines, and bin unloading equipment. Sukup also manufactures bucket elevators, drag conveyors and chain loop conveyors, as well as support structures.
Sukup has six distribution centers in the Midwest and a division in Denmark that serves customers throughout Europe. Sukup has customers in more than 80 countries.