Robot Structural Analysis BIM link for connection design

By following this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to design and code-check a structural steel joint using the BIM link between Robot Structural Analysis (RSA) and IDEA StatiCa Connection.

1 How to activate the link

IDEA StatiCa automatically integrates the BIM link into your CAD/CAE software during its installation. You can check the status and activate more BIM links for later installed software in the BIM link installer.

Open IDEA StatiCa and navigate to the panel BIM and open the BIM link installer. A notification "Run as administrator" may appear, please confirm with the Yes button.

Select the software to integrate the IDEA StatiCa BIM link, click the Install button and check the Installed status.

2 How to use the link

Open the attached project in Robot Structural Analysis. The BIM link should be automatically integrated. You can find it in the top ribbon under Add-Ins IDEA StatiCa. This button will open the Code-check manager.

Select the code you want to use, let's use EN in this example.

Select these three connections with all the corresponding members in Robot. By clicking on the Connection button, you import the connections to the Code-check manager.  

In the next step, each connection needs to be configured. For the first two connections, set the columns as Bearing members. In the third connection, a bearing is set to a girder. Then, continue by Finish button.

For the purposes of this tutorial, let's import all combinations created in Robot Structural Analysis (default setting). Of course, it is possible to select and import the combinations, causing the most unfavorable results or create a new combination in the wizard by clicking on Definition of loads. Inspire in the different tutorial on how to select a particular combination.

The connections are configured, it is time to launch generated projects in IDEA StatiCa Connection.

3 Geometry

The geometry of the connection has been imported. You can see all the members with the proper orientation and cross-section.

Regards to the pinned connection of floor beams to the column, it is necessary to set forces in bolts for Beam 7 and 8.

4 Load effects

The load (combination ULS) has been imported from Robot Structural Analysis.

5 Design

Define a set of manufacturing operations to model connections between members.

Start by the connection of a girder (Beam 12) to a column. Use the right-click on the member to open the menu. There, select Connect to… option (1). To connect it to the vertical member (Column 2), select it by the mouse click (2). That opens the list of predefined templates. Choose the end plate option with a widener (3).

And define the default bolt class and size.

End plate EP1 and widener WID1 have been created, and you can edit their parameters.

To connect the floor beams to the column, add a new Operation from the top ribbon – Cleat.

CLEAT1 was added, and now you can edit the parameters. Add a new size of bolts.

To copy this operation for the other floor beam, use Copy option from the ribbon above the table and change the member to the web of the Beam 7.

The last added operation is the Stiffener in this connection.

Set the distances and the location of the stiffeners in such a way they do not coincide with the bolts or other connected members.

The connections have been designed. You can proceed to the code-check.

Or you can save and close the project with CON-14 and continue with designing of other connections.

The following operations are focused on the other two connections (CON-17, CON-57) imported from Robot to Code-check manager.

The manufacturing operations of the joint CON-17 are exactly the same as CON-14 apart from the stiffeners. Since it is an internal joint, Member 2 should be defined in operation End plate EP1.

Copy operation WID1 and set the right related members.

The pinned connection of the floor beams and column is the same as in the previous joint (CON-14).

The only one manufacturing operation, cleat, is added in connection CON-57.

6 Check

Nonlinear analysis is started by the icon Calculate button in the top ribbon. The analysis model is automatically generated, the calculation is performed, and you can check results. You can see the overall check directly in the table in the left part of the 3D scene.

All values can be checked in detail in the tables and 2D view. For example, to display the check of plates, select the corresponding tab. You can also activate the icon Equivalent stress, Mesh, and Deformed from the ribbon.

7 Report

IDEA StatiCa offers a fully customizable report to print out or save in an editable format.

8 Synchronize model

Sometimes, it is necessary to edit the original model in Robot Structural Analysis, e.g., change of the load intensity, geometry of the model, cross-section of a member, etc.

In this case, when you look at the results, you might see the opportunity for cross-section optimization of some members.

Save the project and close IDEA StatiCa Connection.

All joints exported from the Robot Structural Analysis project to IDEA StatiCa are kept in Code-check manager for later updates, and you can see them in the list together with a summary of the analysis (if available).

Let' s keep the Code-check manager open and click to the window where the project in Robot Structural Analysis is. Optimize the cross-section of the internal girders, substitute IPE 500 by IPE 400, confirm the change of database of structural data, and recalculate the project here in RSA.

Go back to Code-check manager and click Synchronize all.

After synchronizing, open the connection CON-14, for example, and check out if the change of cross-section requires editing of the manufacturing operation.

Reduce the number of the bolts on end plate EP1 and set their greater spacing.

Change the position of the column stiffeners.

Recalculate the joint for code-check and check out the results. 

Similarly, the manufacturing operations of the other joints can be modified and recalculated.

You have designed, optimized, and code-checked three structural steel joints according to Eurocode (EN).

Sample files

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