When designing a steel structure, we want to group together steel connections which are likely to be of the same fabrication layout. Once grouped we can design for the ‘worst-case’ scenario – ultimately saving time and ensuring we carry out adequate design for all members to be connected.

In this blog, we will walk through how to group connections in Structural Analysis Software, Advance Design. Once grouped we will run the analysis and inspect the results for the entire group of connections. We start by creating a simple 2D portal frame structure and apply connections to both the high and low side of the frame.

Advance Design 2D Portal Frame Structure

After generating wind load combinations using the climatic generator and simplified load combinations according to EC1, we run the analysis. From there we open the BIM Design Steel Connections module from within Advance Design and begin to design the connection for the high side of the frame.

Advance Design Connection

This process is very simple for the 2D frame, now we move into a 3D structure where we will not want to inspect each connection individually. We start by Grouping the connections on the high side of each frame, again for both the low side of the frame and for all base plates.

Advance Design Connections Group

Advance Design Connections Group 2

Now, when inspecting the Loads and Combinations dialogue for the entire connection group within the BIM Designers Steel Connections module we can see the number of the connection for which the worst-case scenario applies. You will also notice there is only one entry available in the Project Browser for the connection under inspection, this is a clear sign that we are carrying out an envelope design due to the small Connection Group symbol Advance Design Connections Group Symbol located next to the connection type.

Advance Design Connections Group 3

Now we can be certain that we are achieving an accurate and efficient design for the entire group of connections on the high side of the portal frame, avoiding having to inspect each joint, for each load case to find the governing situation – allowing us to free up more time to focus on the design, and less time processing the input data.

I hope you have enjoyed this short read on Advance Design’s ability to conduct envelope design for groups of steel connections.

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