elZinc America Memorial Will Become The Most Ambitious Equal Justice Project In The Nation

The Equal Justice Initiative is building a national memorial to victims of lynching in Montgomery, Alabama, which is expected to open in 2018. This memorial project relating to America’s history of racial terror and lynching will become the first memorial to lynching victims in the nation. When visitors enter the memorial, the ground drops and perception shifts as visitors realize the columns that appeared to be holding up the structure are actually monuments suspended from above, which evoke the lynchings that took place in the public square. Over 4000 names of lynching victims will be inscribed on these monuments.
We interviewed Eric Simonsen, VP of Project Management at elZinc America, to discuss this project in more detail.

Product & Materials: 
20ga elZinc Graphite
Design Challenges:
“The project presented several ‘design’ challenges.  We had to modify our standard flatlock panel system in order to meet the aesthetic, structural, and installation challenges. Aesthetically the design intent was for a completely flat surface. The basis of design was an ‘s-lock’ style panel that would have given the surface alignment of the panels they desired, but it would not have met the structural loading requirements. Our standard flatlock panel has a stepped panel surface where the panels overlap and interlock however it’s the interlocking joints that give the system the strength needed to meet the design loads. So we added a step-down profile to the panel so that they would have a flush surface alignment but maintain the strength we needed. The installation of the panel system is also atypical for our flatlock panel system because it’s being installed over an open grid framing system.  Without a solid substrate the attachment points for the panels are limited therefore a great deal of coordination between all trades involved was required throughout the shop drawing process.”
Discuss The Development Process:  “The development process for the Custom Fabricated Memorials took many rounds of sample submittals to settle on the exact product and process the designers and client wanted.  We experimented with different methods of inscribing the text. We tried etching, fully cut text, text with color inlay, text with contrasting backer, and ultimately settled on fully cut text with the shadow of the interior of the module providing the contrast for legibility. We utilized a variety different fabrication techniques in order to cut the text and give the designers and clients options on font style, font sizing all while analyzing the efficiency of production to maintain the project budget. (milling, laser cutting, waterjet cutting, punching) We also submitted a variety of preweathered finish samples using different preweathering methods to achieve the look desired for the opening of the project while still allowing the metal to weather naturally on-site.”
Custom Fabrication Details: “We’re using a fully automated robotic welding cell to produce 1,610 modules.  The individual components of each module are laser cut on a CNC laser processing center and the components are then welded together to create the modules using the robotic welding cell.  The entire process requires a delicate balance between skilled fabricator, programmers, and managers coupled with the advanced technology of the automated production process.”
Comments: “I personally can say that given the current political and sociocultural climate of our country, I’m proud to be part of a project that is working to heal the wounds of our country’s past and working to unify us as people instead of dividing.”

elZinc America offers 12 standard finishes and endless possibilities for custom finishes. Unlike many of our competitors, elZinc America provides not only distribution, but also reprocessing, fabrication, and architectural support – all under one name.
For more information on elZinc America, call 678-799-9040 or visit www.elzinc.us.com

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