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New features of version 8

Version 8 is the next chapter in reinventing steel connection design. It has a lot of new features and improvements, the majority of which were inspired by our customers, resellers and partners. These are the highlights:
IDEA Connection now has 4 analysis types
  • Stress/Strain Design
  • Connection Stiffness
  • Member Capacity Design (NEW)
  • Joint Design Resistance (NEW)
Several manufacturing operations were added or improved
  • Rod (tension)
  • General cleat
  • General fin
Formulas were added into result tables
  • New startup wizard to determine code and units
  • Improved usage of imperial units
  • Plate thickness and weld thickness in inches

The most important new features in detail

Member Capacity Design

Probably the biggest improvement of version 8 is the Member Capacity Design, a very important feature for seismic regions, where it is required to check the connection on the maximal moment which can be taken by connected member. Connections designed on maximal moment usually need to be much more stiffed than connections in regular structures. IDEA Connection now checks the connection on applied design load.  We calculate that moment in the software and apply it on the specific member. All other members in the joint are supported. It is important to mention that the connected member is not checked and this is not the scope of this functionality. It has to be properly designed in the global analysis of the structure.

Design Joint Resistance

Structural engineers usually design steel connections/joints so that they are able to carry the known design load. But it is also useful to know how far the design is from the limit state, or else, how big is the reserve in the design and how safe it is. This can be done very easily with the new type of analysis of version 8 – Design joint resistance.

The user inputs the design load like in standard design. The software automatically increases proportionally all load components until one of the checks is not satisfied. The user gets the ratio of maximal load to the design load. Also, a simple diagram is provided.

New steel rod member

Until now designers could not use rods with circular profile in their model. This option is implemented in 8.0 and the user can find this cross-section in the profile library. Circular profile can be used with connecting and gusset plates. In this case, the profile is not converted into steel plates like all others, and we also do not present results on them – it has to be done in the global design of the member. The weld is checked as all others in the joint.

Manufacturing operations improvements

The wide set of manufacturing operations help the user to model a steel joint of any topology. In this version there are 2 main improvements in the Fin and Cleat connection which are now equipped with more functionalities.

Cleat operation

Cleat connection can now be applied also on pitched members. The same functionality as we have for end plates was also implemented here. Two members that are connected on opposite sides can be now resolved in only one operation.

Fin plate

Fin plate is a typical shear connection of the vertical web of the profile. We enlarged this functionality to be able to connect any plate of a member. This allows the user to model for instance typical seismic connections. The end-cut of a member is now a part of the operation.

Formulas in result tables

IDEA StatiCa Connection already provided all necessary code check results in table format, where the user can see all the input values and the final results of checks, like for example checks for bolts and welds. But it is also very good to know for transparency reasons what is behind those numbers, meaning which formula is used, and which article of code has been applied. This was a frequently asked feature from our users and we are happy to say that is is now available.

When the user clicks on the + button in the relevant line, this line is “expanded” and all background formulas and values are shown.

Position of loads in the connection

The position of the load effect has a big influence in the correct design of the connection. As this was a source of misunderstandings, especially for new users, we implemented in the new version a choice to automatically define the position of the load between 3 different options: In node/ In bolts/ In position.

Improvements in code/units customization

When the program opens for the first time, a new window is implemented to define the national environment, the used code and the units.

Direct input of inches in AISC

Users that work with the AISC code and imperial units, can now choose between proper values of inches for plate thicknesses and welds. We have also implemented arrows into the value box that allow you to increase/decrease easily these values.

Links with FEA programs

Continuing our effort to link IDEA StatiCa with as many structural analysis software as possible, we are introducing 2 new links in version 8: StaadPRO and RSTAB. We have also significantly improved the link with SCIA Engineer, which is now more integrated and easy to use.

Links with CAD programs

In version 8 we have also some significant improvements to the links with TEKLA and Advanced Steel, by introducing conversion tables for recognizing cross-sections and bolts. This was often an issue because there were a lot of compatibility issues with the numerous types that are used all over the world. We have also introduced the possibility to import cross-sections from Advance Steel.

Curious to see all the new features?