Advance Steel BIM link for connection design

This tutorial will show you how to activate and use the link between Advance Steel and IDEA StatiCa Connection to streamline your connection design process.

1 How to activate the link

After installation of both programs, run IDEA StatiCa and start with the item BIM. In the BIM wizard, continue with the item Activate your BIM Link. During the process notification "Run as administrator" appears. Please confirm with the button Yes.

Select the Advance Steel and click the Install button. The status will change to Installed.

2 How to use the link

Open the attached project in Advance Steel. Start with the selecting IDEA StatiCa tab in the top ribbon. From the selected ribbon, the Code-check manager can be started.

The Code-check manager, the application for BIM imports, automatically appears. You can proceed further with selecting the EN code and confirmation with the Continue command to start the BIM import.

The new project was created and you can start with exports. Now you can export to the Connection application. The marked part of the Advance Steel model is the connection that will be imported.

Now the whole joint has to be defined. The application tells us what to do at the bottom command line. 

In this step, you have to choose the node which will be representing the node of the joint. The selection can be confirmed by the spacebar (left mouse button or enter).

In the next step, the members have to be chosen. The first chosen member will be the bearing one. After all three members are selected, confirm with the spacebar (left mouse button or enter).

In the last step, choose all other entities like plates, weld, and bolts, confirm with the spacebar (left mouse button or enter).

After the confirmation, automatic data transfer is performed, the Code-check manager imports the connection and creates the item in the list of exported connections. The connection and its components are highlighted in the Advance Steel window with the blue color also.

Proceed with the Open button in the Code-check manager. In a while, the IDEA StatiCa Connection application window automatically appears with the exported connections. All members, plates, welds, etc. were added automatically.

3 Load effects

Now you have to add the load effects. It is time to use the Load command in the New group in the top ribbon (the right-click to the Load Effects and chose the New load can be the alternative way) to create a blank Load Effect. To load the member values of the internal forces must be defined. Just follow the figure below.

4 Design

Adjust the properties of the Member 2. Choose the Member 2 and set the parameter Forces in to the Bolts. This will ensure that the loading pattern of the shear connection is alright.

5 Calculation and Check

Now you can calculate the analysis right in the Design tab by the Calculate command.

After a while, the results summary will appear at the left top corner of the 3D scene and the Overall check model view is set. You can quickly fine-tune the model in case you are not satisfied.

Choose the Check tab and turn on the Equivalent stress, Bolt forces, and Mesh model view. To explore the detailed results for the Bolts, expand the results for the bolt B7.

6 Report

At last, go to the tab Report. IDEA StatiCa offers a fully customizable report to print out or save in an editable format.

Here you can take advantage of the Synchronize function. With this function, you can easily update an existing design of the IDEA StatiCa Connection project exported from the Advance Steel. The originally defined Load effects are saved. This function is crucial to the link between the IDEA StatiCa project file and the Advance Steel source file. You should not change the directory of the IDEA StatiCa project file or its name. Just use the Save function only from the Project menu.

And finally, close the Connection application window. Check out what kind of information is provided in the Code-check manager window.

7 Synchronize models

The design process is an iterative way how to mechanically arrange the structure parts in a way that it will work and pass the code-check. Usually, it takes a few changes in the whole process. Take advantage of the Synchronization function for the current item. For the sake of the example, you will change a few items. Change the bevel parameters. Just follow the figure below.

Change the type of bevel from Straight to Convex.

The change in the structural model is imminent and right now is time to choose the Synchronize (IDEA StatiCa detects changes in already imported entities — changes in thickness, cross-section, modification of properties of welds, bolts, etc.) and updates the project in IDEA StatiCa Connection.command button. After a while, the connection data will be updated and the next step will be opening the connection project.

In the project window, the plate shape is updated.

Note:

Kindly be aware that IDEA StatiCa syncs with a model of the 3rd party application, not the other way around. If you add operations in IDEA StatiCa and then use the options described above (Synchronize; Modify; Calculate; Calculate all), the additionally added operations will be deleted.

8 Import of other connections

For the tutorial demonstration, other connections will be imported. According to the figure below, import the four other connections. All of them will be from the last transversal frame.

The second imported connection is the footing. Start with the Connection command in the Code-check manager and then the selection must be made. The figure below will guide you (A - node selection; B1 column first, B2 bracing second; C - all other entities).

After the correct import will be the Conn 2 listed in the Code-check manager and connection components highlighted in the project window.

The third connection to import is the top-right frame corner. After a successful import, the result will be according to the picture below.

The fourth connection to import is the top-left frame corner. After a successful import, the result will be according to the picture below. 

The fifth connection to import is the middle platform one. After a successful import, the result will be according to the picture below. 

9 Update of more connections - Bracing

Take and advantage of the commands in the Code-check manager to update the model. We are going to use a different approach. If more changes in the project are needed and more exported joints are affected, you can use Synchronize (All items) command. This will save our precious time and we will update the connection data in one push. 

Features for All items - Calculate and Synchronize are available only for the Steel Enhanced product owners. 

For example, you can change the cross-section of the cable stay tube. The original one is RHS Round - 42.4x4 cross-section. Change it to the bigger RHS 60.3x4 from the Advance Steel library.

Now, proceed with the command Synchronize (All items).

After a while, the synchronization process will be done and we can open the Conn 1 or Conn 3 items and check out the cross-section of the bracing member.

We can check and adjust the design, recalculate the joint for code-check and save and close the project item. Then we can continue exporting and code-checking other joints.


Tips, limitations & workarounds for Advance Steel BIM link

General recommendations

  • Please note that in IDEA StatiCa Connection are members of the only beam entities on which loads will be applied. All other beams are defined in a different way. This rule is the first one of the three-step import procedure. In the second step, the members (on which loads will be applied) have to be selected. In the third step, all other connected entities have to be selected – plates, bolts, welds, and most importantly beams on which loads will not be applied (usually stubs, stiffening members, etc).
  • The best way how to design your connection is to use the previously defined macros from the Advance Steel Connection vault menu.
  • The definition of the node is the most important step during the import procedure. The best way how to design the steel construction well prepared to import workflow is to keep the focus on the centerlines of the beams. Always maintain the intersection of beam centerlines which will help you to choose the node easier.
  • Synchronization - data update is a complex process.  Sometimes loss of the data can occur and you can encounter situations like in the picture below (example A), when a change in the beam cross-section was processed and manufacturing operations data were lost. Don't panic, we know how to deal with it. Just close the IDEA StatiCa Connection window and Code-check manager window also. Then launch Code-check manager again and perform Synchronization process again. After that, the data will be restored and all manufacturing operations will be present and valid (example B).

Holes-openings and notches

Negative volume cutting

Cut of the member according to another member is the easiest way how to deal with openings or notches. The easiest thing in Advance Steel is to define a new member, the green HSS roled section in the example below. The green beam is positioned in a way that it will penetrate the top flange of the azure perpendicular beam. By command Element contour, UCS from Advance Steel tool palette, the cut is defined.  

The cut by contour processing is defined and IDEA Connection is able to import it. The cut by contour processing is now part of the beam data and it will be imported even if you will not select it in the third step of the import selection process.

The green HSS rolled section beam which was used for the cut is not needed anymore and can be hidden or deleted. 

Other methods

  • Opening in the members and in the plates are not supported. A workaround is to import the whole joint and manually add Opening as a manufacturing operation in the IDEA StatiCa Connection.
  • Notches of the members are supported but please note that the command Element contour – rule has to be used.

Extending-shortening of the beam

In the IDEA StatiCa the centre of the connection is the node. From the node, the length of the member is determined by the bounding box (an automated way of how to determine the right length of the member). In the Advance Steel, the beam entity has to be shortened or extended by a command Shorten.

Welds

Welds are imported during the third step of the import procedure. If there is a need to add welds manually in Advance Steel the recommended way is to use command Weld point. Please note that the weld entity has to be inserted in the middle edge of the welded plate.

From a huge variety of weld types in Advance Steel, IDEA StatiCa supports only:

IDEA StatiCa weldAdvance Steel weld
ButtFlange Butt, DI, V with Counter, X, K, DY, K web, U, HU
Double FilletBevel – Fillet, Fillet – Bevel, HY – Fillet, Fillet – HY, J- Fillet
FilletEvery other than specified above

Haunches

We recommend designing haunches on a beam by plates and not by members.

Sample files

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