Gary, Indiana – On Wednesday, July 28, 2021, Andrew Gross, President and CEO of Alliance Steel, alongside Jeff Foerster, Product Manager – Heavy Gauge / Fabrication Division Manager, presented a custom fabrication of the city's seal to Mayor Jerome Prince. As a result, the City of Gary's seal will be displayed on Mayor Prince's podium.
Alliance Steel's headquarters and processing plant occupies 300,000 square feet of steel sales, state-of-the-art processing, and distribution space, strategically located by major highways, mills, and ports.
Foerster has been a part of Alliance Steel for over a decade, bringing a surplus of industry knowledge to the team.
When asked, "How long have you been working on this?" Foerster replied, "Too long! This project started at our Ribbon Cutting in August of 2020 when a member of the city approached me. Outside of designing and the laser cutting time, the cleaning, grinding, and seal assembling, I completed at my house."
The first step into creating the city's seal started with a revamp of the original drawing file. This recreation took over a month to complete, redrawing specific details like the stars and letters. Once this was finished, the CAD file was exported to both of Alliance Steel's fiber lasers.
"This project had its fair share of trials and tribulations,” states Foerster. "At first, the base of the seal was created out of Hot Rolled Pickled and Oiled (HRPO), and aluminum steel was used for the creative details. However, the HRPO was too heavy and was traded to a Cold Rolled material.
“To attach the backer plate to the podium, our head of maintenance, Sam Cardenas welded two mounting bolts on the back of the seal; this went fine on the heavier material, however when we switched to a lighter gauge material, the heat from the welder caused burn marks.
"On the second attempt, we welded the bolts onto the backer plates before attaching the display, however in this attempt, the heat from the welder warped the steel.
"The third attempt, we used a spot weld before running a full weld around the bolt. This finally worked. Unfortunately, to attach the display to the backer, both parts needed to be thoroughly cleaned and were left untreated, exposing the seal to rust.
"On our last attempt, we assembled a seal with bolts attached and immediately treated with oil to prevent any rust. Next, I used an emery cloth to add texture to the raised details, like the starts and letters, moving in the same direction to keep a uniform texture. After that, I placed each one into the final seal one by one. Once the adhesive had cured, I cleaned the seal again to remove all remaining oil.
“My last step was to spray several coats of finish to protect it from the elements. I think the most challenging part of the whole thing was recreating the file into our CAD system and fighting the nature of the steel (corrosion and heat transfer)."