| Article Archive
Features List 13
From CAD User AEC Magazine Vol 17 No 05 - MAY/JUNE 2004
Steel detailing 'advances' further as CADS releases the latest version of its
How time flies! The last article we published about HyperSteel was way back in October 2001, when we took a look at HyperSteel 6.0. We went down to the company's base in Poole, Dorset, to see what advances have been made to the product, and came back with two surprises. One, the town, Poole, (www.pooletourism.com) is largely unrecognisable since I lived there many years ago, although I was pleasantly surprised to see that the local train still crosses the end of the High Street, and two, the popular steel detailing package is now being released under a new name - AdvanceSteel.
Forgive me, therefore, if I describe features of the software under HyperSteel, and switch to AdvanceSteel for the latest additions to the software. AdvanceSteel 5.1, ties in with the versioning of its sister product, AdvanceConcrete 5.1.
HyperSteel is a 3D steelwork solid modelling, detailing and material listing system, that works under the auspices of AutoCAD, using its ObjectARX object oriented technology. Steel structures are created in 3D as wire sections or rendered models, and include all geometry dimensions, member properties, connection types and materials. The software is supported by comprehensive libraries of steel components, including hot and cold rolled sections, parametric macros for modelling joints, modelling tools for modifying elements, or to prepare them for welding, and its own clash detection engine. Drawings for fabrication and construction can be automatically produced from the model, as well as CNC control files, and a wide range of customisable reports from material, assembly and loading lists to bolt summaries etc, which can be printed off.
Being parametric, all elements can be edited with ease. HyperSteel can also integrate with ADT, allowing hybrid steel and brick structures to be created, or to allow structures to be designed affixed to existing buildings.
3D modelling is usually (but not necessarily) developed from a structural grid, automatically labelled with letters and numbers. Members are selected from the appropriate library and placed on the grid, defining the member's orientation and length. All of this is controlled by the User Co-ordinate system (UCS). Each member is assigned a function - column, beam, rafter, cross bracing etc - which determines their annotation and dimensioning in fabrication drawings. Steel structures are commonly composed of identical elements, members replicated to populate the whole structure, using AutoCAD commands, and members snap automatically to node points of other members (or to any other position required).
Having established the basic frame of the structure, the individual connections have to be designed. Most of the commonly used joints can be placed at junctions using a wide range of connection macros, which, also being parametric, can be edited to fit the connection. Once a connection type has been selected, a dialogue box allows a number of variables to be defined - plate thickness, bolt sizes, number and position and weld types etc. An interesting touch here is the intelligence that has been built into the system to search for similar connections that have already been created, and to suggest these as suitable connections for the current job. As with the beam elements, once connections have been selected, they can be copied throughout the model.
Unconventional connections can be assembled from individual components, or created by using the software's modelling tools to cut notches, chamfers, bevels etc.
Visualisation of the model, as it progresses into complex structures is assisted by the using different colours to identify groups of elements, HyperSteel's filtering tools to single out parts of the construction, and AutoCADs own viewing tools such as 3D Orbit.
Clash detection is an important element in steel detailing, and HyperSteel's tool can detect clashes between members and joints, right down to root radius clashes in hot rolled sections, webs and flanges - all achieved through a single mouse click that runs the collision checking routine producing an AutoCAD text window that lists the section type, size, model function and co-ordinates. Clashes can be highlighted on the model in red - large red arrows, if necessary - to prevent them slipping through the net.
Each member is automatically allocated a part number and identical parts are identified, so that they can be assembled into reports, or added to the drawings. In addition to the lists outlined above, the software can produce others, such as plate lists, saw lists, assembly lists and article lists for special parts - or they can be output as a Bill of Materials - especially if the software is running with ADT, where the data can be used to supplement lists of foundation, masonry and other construction types, providing more complete information for the consulting engineer.
Drawings can be produced at any time, and can include GAs/erection drawings, assembly fabrication drawings, part details and template drawings.
The software's parametric capabilities allow the model, and the drawings, to be modified at any stage in the detailing process. Individual elements, such as connections, can be sectioned within drawings after they have been scaled up, to show bolts, their holes and positions more clearly.
HyperSteel files can also be exported in DSTV format, enabling them to supply CNC data compatible with all leading machines. HyperSteel can also be used in conjunction with CADS design and analysis software, including A3DMAX for general purpose structural analysis, and SMART Portal, a 2d or 3D portal frame design system that uses knowledge based design techniques, and SMART Modeller, CADS general purpose FEA software.
The brief overview above hopefully provided an outline of the basic functions of HyperSteel. Now, we look at some of the more interesting of the many new features provided with AdvanceSteel 5.1.
As part of the basic detailing of the steel structure, AdvanceSteel allows users to prepare plates for welding by specifying the shape of the plate edge to accommodate the weld (and actually model it) - defined as bevel welding preparation, fillet welding prep, cut plate at plate, or cut plate at UCS, where the plate is cut at the UCS and a chamfer is created for welding.
Folded plates can be created in the model by picking points in the UCS, or selecting a polyline or circle. Once folded, as the radius of its corners, can be modified using a dialogue box. When the representation of the folded plate is displayed, grips can be used to modify its length.
A number of structural elements have been improved. Purlins, for instance, can now be created on selected rafters with optional eaves beams. Purlins are created automatically after the rafters have been selected whether the distance between rafters is equal or different. Profiles of purlins can also be specified, and purlins can be single or double span, with an extra purlin at the end of the building.
Stairs have also undergone some modification, allowing users to create stringers and treads with connections to the stringers. This process is alarmingly simple - after selecting the stair type, and defining the number of risers, only two points need to be picked to establish the length height and position of the stairs, before they are automatically inserted. Stringers can be of any type - channel, flat, etc or custom profiles. Treads can be any profile or folded plate, even wood, and connections between stringers come in several types. The number of treads, actually, can be calculated from the stair dimensions.
Railings can be created on selected beams by picking two points to define their length, and, like the above, come in a range of configurations to include handrails, kickrails, posts and so on, and connections between posts and handrails, or posts and stringers, can be created using cuts, welds or chamfers.
Mezzanine floors, despite what you may already think you know, are self supporting first floor structures within a larger space, and are becoming increasingly popular as a way of installing additional accommodation in warehouses, hangars, without the paraphernalia and costs associated with separate buildings. AdvanceSteel includes a powerful automated mezzanine modelling macro and range of connections for cold rolled mezzanine floors beams.
Cold rolled components create their own construction problems, not least their lack of rigidity in large structures which require purlin and side rail anti-sagging systems to be installed with struts, ties, diagonals etc. The software, therefore, contains a suite of accessory macros to simplify their creation. Cold rolled components can also be ordered electronically, without the need for drawings, after the required profile has been defined. As errors could possibly creep in here, a high degree of automatic error-checking has been implemented.
Users now have the ability to define parts with standard part numbers. A new numbering system is used to assign assembly numbers as single part numbers of the main part, and warning systems appear if numbering is not carried out before the production of working drawings.
Many parts of the Document Management, Document Issue and Revision Controls have been enhanced, simplifying processes, and tidying up areas that may have caused minor problems in the past. Lack of space prevents me from going through these in any detail but one of the biggest features of the new release is the automatic revison handling.
AdvanceSteel or HyperSteel is a widely respected steel detailing solution, that has evolved with the industry - perhaps incorporating the widest body of knowledge available about beams, connections, manufacturing techniques and manufactured components. Small wonder that engineers conversant with the software are deemed to have earned their spurs. The software is not difficult to use, however, in spite of its thoroughness.
SMART Portal3D, mentioned earlier, is aimed at the other end of the user market
- the Fabricator's Estimator or Salesperson. Using extracted 'knowledge' in
conjunction with the software's component libraries, it allows estimators to
automatically create portal frame structures from a brief set of inputs - very
rapidly -assembling all components, drawings and an estimate BOM, to quote a
price for the job with confidence. CU
Click here for a Print Friendly Version
©2006 BTC. All rights reserved.
No part of this site may be reproduced without written permission of the owners.