Build Complex Forms, Simply.

The ZEPPS® Process is a series of metal systems developed by Zahner for the construction of curvilinear and otherwise complex forms. The ZEPPS® are digital engineered, yielding the blueprints for streamlined construction and limitless design.

ZEPPS® stands for Zahner Engineered Profiled Panel Systems. The end result of this process is a facade with a smooth profile, each panel aligning with the next panel on the same plane, so that the total effect is s smooth form.

Download the ZEPPS® PDF

Download the ZEPPS® PDF Digital Book, an interactive presentation which showcases several projects produced using the ZEPPS® Process.

The ZEPPS® Process was first developed during the production of Antoine Predock's Museum of Science and Industry and the first iteration was implemented during Frank Gehry's Experience Music Project, in Seattle, WA.

The whole ZEPPS® Process revolves around precision. Engineers match the architect's designs using the latest CAD technologies. Digital production technologies allow the structures to be created in our controlled facility. This allows for the elimination of labor intensive field fabrication and field-related inconsistencies, because entire structures are built in house to be assembled on site.

ZEPPS® assembly is quicker than build-in-place wall systems, allowing the building envelope to be sealed significantly quicker, thus expediting the construction process, saving money and time.  ZEPPS® can be engineered from a variety of metals that provide varying degrees of structural value and unlimited design options.

The ZEPPS® Process was used for the Nascar Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC.  A massive möbius strip is cantilevered from the main building, wrapping around and twisting, something that only the ZEPPS® Process can accomplish. 

Rendering and Reality, the NASCAR Hall of Fame in North Carolina.

The pictures above show both the blueprint and the final form for creating a dual-curved twisting form.

Select Projects completed with the ZEPPS® Process

Small and Unique projects completed with ZEPPS®

Zahner has expanded the process as a tool to produce sculptures and medium to large sized forms by artists. We also used the ZEPPS® Process on complex projects requiring high altitude installations and rapid-construction processes.

Export ZEPPS® Assemblies

In 2010, Zahner began offering a solution for overseas construction projects of complex and curvilinear designs.

Under normal circumstances, the ZEPPS® Panels are fabricated and assembled in the Zahner shop. Each completed panel is shipped to the job site, and under ideal circumstances, installed by Zahner's own field install team.

But in the case of overseas projects, the ZEPPS® Assemblies are too large to be shipped as fully assembled panels. So Export ZEPPS® Panels are fabricated as parts, packed, crated, and shipped in cargo containers to the site where the parts were re-assembled on site by local installers.

Parts are shipped with digital and paper instruction manuals particular to the project's custom designed Export ZEPPS® Assemblies.

Photograph of the paper version of the Export ZEPPS® Manual for Sidra.

Assembly of an Export ZEPPS® Panel for Sidra Medical Center in Doha, Qatar.

Typical ZEPPS® Assemblies are fabricated and assembled at the Zahner Plant. An Export ZEPPS® Assembly consists of fabricated parts that are crated and shipped to the site. They are then assembled on-site by local workers.

Advantages of Export ZEPPS® Assemblies

For large and long-distance projects, the Export ZEPPS® Process makes sense from both financial and logistical perpsectives.

  • Larger ZEPPS® Assemblies possible due to disassembled shipment
  • Export ZEPPS® Assemblies efficiently pack into standard shipping containers
  • Lowered shipment cost from more densely packed containers
  • Potentially lowered cost of assembly by local labor

Learn more about the Export ZEPPS® Process on our first major project to feature the innovation, the Sidra Medical Center in Doha, Qatar.

Using ZEPPS® without curves.

There are a few projects completed using the ZEPPS® Process which have no curvatures. One such project is 400 Fifth Avenue, a skyscraper in New York City whose crown required an intelligent and efficient installation.

This project's form is not overtly complex or curving, but the ZEPPS® Process was used to simplify the process, reducing the danger of working at several hundred feet in the air by reducing the number of workers and eliminating several precarious steps.

Using the ZEPPS® Process for this project also reduced the amount of time spent installing the finished panels. This is true of all projects built using the ZEPPS® Process. There are some cases where the entire installation process took less than a week. When building in New York or other dense cities, every day spent on the jobsite costs clients tens of thousands of dollars. By pre-engineering the wall panel systems, the time spent is drastically reduced.


“It works a little bit like a model-airplane kit. Zahner’s computer system will go through the design automatically and organize all the parts to create a shape. The cutting patterns get sent over to a computer system that cuts the shapes. All the shapes come in a box numbered, and as long as they fit the numbered parts in the right places there’s very little measuring. You get a unique prefabricated shape that comes in a box.”

- George Metzler of Frank Gehry Partners quoted in Sheet Metal Magicians by Peter Hall, Metropolis Magazine.

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Featured Post: Building a dual-curved facade with pre-fabricated panels. — Writer Susan Chaityn Lebovits profiles Zahner in Form Magazine, about how the Neiman Marcus facade was made in Natick, Massachusetts.

Featured Post: Zahner ShopFloor team develops a perforated Louvered Screen Wall Facade System — How a small team of ShopFloor engineers at Zahner hacked a ten-year old welding robot arm to create louvered screen wall facade systems.

Picture of ShopFloor ShopFloor: Create unique designs for architecture and interiors using a simple configurator.

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