With laser fusion technology in the stainless steel industry, architects, engineers, and other design professionals are truly excited about the possibilities when it comes to curtain wall systems and interior partition design. Laser fused stainless steel is structurally sound, precise, handsome, and corrosion resistant. The process of laser fusion allows for clean lines, barely visible welds, and truly square profiles that fit well together flawlessly. Laser fused components also fit well with and compliment other compatible materials.
What is a Mullion?
A mullion is best defined as a vertical or horizontal structural member between adjoining pieces of glass or window units. This is not to be confused with a muntin. The first glass windows used muntins due to the size limitations and fragility of the glass panes manufactured centuries ago. Today, muntins are more of a decorative element to divide panes of glass, often for historical reference. Mullions actually separate plates of flat or curved glass and hold each individual piece securely in place. These are important structural elements in exterior curtain wall systems and in glass interior room partitions.
Where are Stainless Steel Mullions Used?
Stainless steel is one of the most elegant structural and finish materials available today. It is commonly used in exposed structural framing applications and in glazing systems. By exposed, we mean that you would not be inclined to conceal stainless steel behind gypsum board or other building materials on the interior. Nor would you necessarily completely cover the steel with exterior building façade materials. Stainless really is meant to be shown off and appreciated for its inherent beauty and unique finish options.
Steel, especially stainless, is commonly used as framing members, such as columns, beams, and trusses, to visually and simply express the core structure of a building. It is also very popular as a curtain wall framing system. Large expanses of glass can be placed within a stainless steel framing or mullion system. This allows for maximum daylight and minimum structure. You will also see mullions used in glass guardrail applications, both on exteriors and interiors, again to minimize obstruction of view from elevated areas and stairways.
While the sleek lines of laser fused steel mullions are very popular on interiors, they also make for seamless and strong exterior wall systems. The inherent qualities of stainless profiles make them a good choice for exterior applications. They are resistant to corrosion form water, chemicals, and pollutants. This means the material is virtually maintenance free. A bit of wiping down to bring out the natural sheen is recommended periodically.
Why Laser Fusion?
The laser fusion process at Stainless Structurals is extremely accurate and efficient. This production method is ideal for exposed steel shapes and profiles. Each laser fused section is precisely cut using state-of-the-art technology with minute precision. This accuracy is achieved by using the highly concentrated thermal energy of the laser. Sections are then welded together with the smallest possible monolithic weld beads without filler materials. The end result is perfectly square cornered shapes that are either formed to fit tightly together or with other materials, such as glass with gaskets or sealants, with clean lines and smooth edges. The process offers limitless design options.
Designers and glazers prefer to use laser fused stainless mullions because of the attractive precision, flexibility, and durability of the end product. The material is superior in design and quality to that of popular painted aluminum, powder coated metals, and standard steel that have a tendency to succumb to the elements by pitting, discoloring, or rusting. The life span of a stainless steel mullion system surpasses that of other products. Moreover, steel is an almost 100% sustainable material, as it can be repurposed repeatedly.
The Applications of Laser Fused Profiles
Using laser fused sections for mullions is just the tip of the iceberg. Our clients are so impressed with the quality of laser fused stainless steel that they are using the profiles in ways we had initially only dreamed of. Architects and designers have requested the materials for incredibly exciting and innovative projects.
The variety of available laser fused sections and profiles are appreciated by architects, interior designers, landscape architects, sculptors, and engineers. The clean lines of curtain wall framing systems, as well as exposed structural elements, are appealing to architects. Interior designers embrace the ability to create elements such as custom furniture, floating stairs, and light glass partitions. Exterior stainless railing systems and site lighting housings are often worked in to landscapes. Sculptors find limitless possibilities with custom stainless steel shapes. In addition, engineers are particularly fond of the corrosion resistant qualities of stainless structural components.
Please feel free to contact Stainless Structurals to find out more about our laser fusion technology and the use of stainless steel for mullion systems. We are an international company with the most technologically innovative stainless steel production methods and sustainable manufacturing practices.