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Welding problems delay amphitheater

Jun 15th, 2008 1:32:34 am - Subscribe

Teflon Pipe ALTON - The completion of the riverfront amphitheater may be delayed for months after engineers discovered steel pipes to be used in the roofing frame were not welded according to the city's specifications."What was delivered was not acceptable because of the welding and other deficiencies," said Phil Roggio, Alton director of development and housing. "We informed RCS Construction Inc. that we are not accepting what's out there. RCS is working with Birdair and local contractors. We hope to have this refabricated and done right. We are working on a solution, so it is going to be done right."RCS of Wood River is general contractor of the project, considered Phase 6 of the Riverfront Park development plan. Its contract with Alton is for $4,398,528.Birdair Inc. of Amherst, N.Y., is a subcontractor building the amphitheater roof support and topping it with a thin, translucent, Teflon-treated fabric that allows sunlight to flow through. The company Web site says the material is low-maintenance and durable, with a life span of 30 years.Roggio said engineers with Geo Technology Inc. of Collinsville, working on behalf of the city, discovered the inadequate welding about two weeks ago through ultrasound and electro-magnetic testing. The welds were supposed to be "full penetration welds," but some of them only had the solder partially penetrate the pipe connections.He stressed that RCS is not at fault."The contractor had been ready to lift the structures and put them in place," said Dan Bockert, project coordinator and principal architect at Planning Design Studio of St. Louis. "It does not mean it is a bad weld," but it does not meet contract specifications."It is steel pipe, like an erector set that you put together to meet a structural design with specific kinds of welds," Bockert said."The specifications called for the city to provide testing to see the structure follows the contract documents," he said. "It did not meet specifications; they were not the type of welds specified. We wanted to make sure the city gets what it pays for. The company (Birdair) is aware they did not meet the specifications. We have discovered a number of welds below standard."We have asked Birdair, through RCS, to prepare a plan to fix the welds," Bockert said.Kevin Mayer, Birdair vice president of business development and marketing, did not return a reporter's telephone message last week. Christen Stroh, of Larson O'Brien Advertising and Public Relations of Pittsburgh, Pa., represents Birdair. She said Friday she was unaware of the Alton situation and would try to obtain a comment from Mayer on Friday, but she did not.Roggio admitted the planned dismantling and rewelding of the pipes would delay the project, perhaps by a couple months into the summer or early fall."It's definitely going to delay it, but what's there is unacceptable," he said. "We expect it to be done right. The workmanship is not acceptable."Roggio said the work that must be done to remedy the problems would not increase the cost of the project for the city."The vast majority of the structure has not been paid for, and it won't be paid for unless it's done right," he said.A news release on Birdair's Web site says the company built its 70,000-square-foot Birdair SA de CV manufacturing facility in Tijuana, Mexico, in 1998, and employs 40 people. Last August, Birdair consolidated its Latin American sales division to that location."The main advantage for us is that there are more resources in place in Tijuana to take care of the client's architectural, engineering and design needs and inquiries," said Alfredo Davila, director of business development for Birdair in Latin America, the release says.The metal roof supports in the Alton project will sit on four concrete columns already in place. The stage will have more than 7,000 square feet.Birdair has constructed a number of notable structures many times larger than the Alton amphitheater using its tensile architecture techniques with metal frames and fabric. Among its larger projects are the Chicago Navy Pier, Denver International Airport, San Diego Convention Center, Chene Park Amphitheater in Detroit and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.Bockert said welders could do remedial work on site, but he suggests moving the roof sections to an indoor steel fabrication shop within a few miles from the park. Both Bockert and Roggio said the white steel pipes meet specifications, just not some of the welds.He said Birdair would be providing revised drawings in about a week to correct the insufficient welds, with RCS, Bockert and city representatives to check them over and come up with a repair schedule."The system is working the way it should," Bockert said. "The city had the opportunity to do (check) it. They caught it before it was hanging in the air. It was very fortunate the city was on its toes to catch it when it arrived, but I would have preferred it not to have happened. Everybody is pulling together. Everybody knows their reputation is on the line. Even though it is a delay in schedule, it is a good way to do this."
mood: dandy
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Cabot to build second fumed silica plant in China

Jun 15th, 2008 1:32:04 am - Subscribe

fumed silica Cabot Corp. has signed an agreement with the China National Bluestar Group to build a plant to manufacture fumed silica in Tianjin, China. It will be the second fumed silica plant the two companies built in China. The first was built in 2004. Boston-based Cabot Corp. (NYSE: CBT), signed the agreement through its Cabot (China) Ltd. subsidiary. The newly formed joing venture, Cabot Bluestar Chemical (Tianjin) Co. Ltd. will invest roughly $40 million to build the silica facility. The plant is expected to open in early 2010. Fumed silica is used in such applications as coatings, adhesives, cements, sealants, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, inks and abrasives. Cabot is a global specialty chemicals and materials company whose products include carbon black, fumed silica, inkjet colorants, capacitor materials, and cesium formate drilling fluids.
mood: agitated
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Payal hit the Lakme ramp with glamour & grandure

Jun 15th, 2008 1:31:35 am - Subscribe

Jacquard Lace Get set all lovers of retro fashion. Payal Singhal had it all when it came to the glamour and flamboyance of the Roaring Twenties for her Autumn/Winter 2008 collection at the Lakme Fashion Week.It was cocktail time all the way as models glided down the ramp in the most tantalizing dresses that will appeal to ladies whose calendars are filled with after eight soirées.Inspired by the French artist, designer and illustrator, Erte; the flapper look of the fun era of that time was recreated in the 26 glittering mini dresses each named after a pretty woman.The collection was a rich mix of fabrics like gold Lurex, crepe, georgette, chiffon, silk, jacquard, for creatively designed dresses with a slight modern twist.The colours were gorgeous with gold in the forefront and then moved onto white, black, cobalt blue and silver- hues that set the mood for those cocktail hours.Embroidery practically covered the dresses while the silhouettes were kept very simple and short. But drapes played a major role as the fabrics circled the body from various sides.The opening dress a strapless gold Lurex front cross over dhoti drape was followed by a black taffeta dress with a side slit worn with gold lace shorts, a floral jacquard tiered strappy mini, a one shoulder dhoti dress, a bubble with side slits and a blouson dress. Each dress was a glitzy creation which will make the wearer the cynosure of all eyes.Payal Singhal's jazzy flapper line of cocktails dresses will be perfect additions for women during Autumn/Winter 2008 as they get ready for the festive season.
mood: cute
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All at sea: Gallic charm with a tropical twist

Jun 15th, 2008 1:30:18 am - Subscribe

Just south of the island of Guadeloupe there is a delicate scattering of islands named Isles des Saintes. We arrived there after a 36-hour sail from Union Island, and headed straight for the harbour at Terre D’en Haut, the largest of the islands.We were all tired after the long passage, and after a quick supper, our sons, Oscar and Luke, headed for their cabin to play quietly and read. Juliet and I brewed tea and sat in the cockpit, looking out towards the twinkling harbour town which, with its rolling skyline, looked as though it might have been drawn by a child.The next morning we piled into the dinghy and headed for the village. Closer in, we saw a square, and beyond that a little church steeple whose bell was chiming the hour – five minutes late, I noticed. Once we were ashore it became clear that the island was not dominated by tourists but was home to a thriving and very French community. With my schoolboy French I stopped a villager and asked where we might buy some croissants. “Crussels!” Luke exclaimed, and as we made our way along a narrow lane, Oscar shouted, “Dad, I can smell them.”He was right; the air was full of the unmistakable scent of baking bread. We sat on some nearby steps and gorged ourselves on freshly baked baguette and croissants, washing them down with home-pressed orange juice in the boys’ case, and strong black coffee in ours.The village was waking up and we watched as wizened fishermen wearing straw hats pulled wooden boats towards them while their hardy wives opened shutters and hung washing out from tin-roofed balconies or stopped to gossip on street corners.It felt wonderfully surreal, almost as if we had discovered a Mediterranean island in the heart of the Caribbean. Old wooden houses in the French colonial style sat in the perfumed midst of tropical gardens dripping with abundance. Wherever we looked our eyes were rewarded. Hibiscus, gardenia and frangipani grew alongside breadfruit, mango, papaw and cashew trees, and it was exciting to see old Mediterranean ways of doing things given a tropical twist.Cane tables and chairs sat in the cool shade of a pergola made of the thick fruiting foliage not of a grapevine but of a passion fruit vine; a garden path was bordered by trees heavy with starfruit rather than lemons. The boys ran ahead, and we felt safe to let them go as there were hardly any cars on the island, only bicycles and scooters.We headed for the south of the island, past a tiny airstrip to a palm-fringed beach where we cooled ourselves in the sea. Later we ambled back into the village and headed for a little waterfront bistro called Ti Kaz La. There haven’t been many opportunities to eat out during our trip so as we seated ourselves we were all grinning with excitement.The place was breezy and cool and run by people who knew exactly what they were doing. A few moments later I found myself staring at a perfect steak, straight off the outside grill, with the freshest of salads; Juliet’s mahi mahi had been seared to perfection. I also ordered a large glass of chilled white wine and savoured every sip while I watched the boys explore the beach, which began where the restaurant ended.As the sun began to sink, we went to the the square and browsed through some of the shops and galleries. Oscar and Luke, meanwhile, had joined a throng of children, not remotely daunted by the language barrier, and as the streetlights came on above the square the ever-growing tribe invented games and filled the air with laughter. We knew the boys were safe, and it was good to see them enjoying the freedom to run about without a care.Later that day we pulled away reluctantly and set our course for the Virgin Islands, the next stop on our journey north.
mood: careless
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Stainless steel sheet prices rise

Jun 15th, 2008 12:33:28 am - Subscribe

Stainless steel sheet prices will increase this month By Tom Stundza -- Purchasing, 5/7/2008 10:12:00 AM Despite sluggish buying, cold-rolled sheet, Type 304, could rise10% this month to $4726 per ton, 18% higher than it was inDecember. That’s the forecast by purchasingdata.com. Here is thebackground: The current stainless steel market is being described as“confused” with tight domestic supply and flat importssupporting stronger-than-expected transaction prices—eventhough purchasing by end users and service centers is down 14% fromyear-ago tonnage. One analyst says “economically sensitiveend markets remain challenging” for stainless and Nickel Steel Sheet. What hasn’t changed since March is that buying continues onan as-needed basis . Demand is solid in the aerospace, energy and medical marketsectors but down dramatically in the larger industrial, automotiveand consumer-goods sectors. Yet, market economists anticipatefurther increases in stainless steel prices, perhaps even backtoward the record levels of last summer, even if market supplyoutweighs demand. That’s because the recent moderation inalloy surcharges that have restrained the price inflation in NorthAmerican stainless steel products is about to come to an end. Ferrochrome is rising again and now is 25% higher than at the endof December, while nickel is 10% more expensive. Atop that,stainless steel scrap supply is tight (because of reducedindustrial activity and expanded exports) and prices have increasedby at least 5% recently.
mood: demented
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