IES, Inc. Software for Structural Engineering

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February 2017
Table of Contents
VA 17 Beta Test
Coming to VA 17
From 10,000 feet
Sweet Sites
Customer Training

VA 17.0 Beta Test

Coming Next Month

You Are Invited (or Else)

The beta test of VisualAnalysis is now in full swing. The new version has executed over 600 times by nearly 40 customers. At this time, we are inviting all engineers with an active license for VisualAnalysis 12.0 to download and test the new product. We are looking for critical insight from engineers in the field--what are we missing, have we made any task harder? So far, the new version is well received and quite stable. We have now "completed" all major features. We only need your approval.

Whiners Wanted Today

We strongly recommend that you look at the new version now. We actually want you to whine and complain about VisualAnalysis 17.0--before we are finished working on it. Warning: Absolutely no whining will be tolerated after the product is official!

VA 12.0 is old, but comfortable. + Testers = VA 17.0 will not be ready until you approve it.

What Could Go Wrong?

One customer told us their favorite hot-key was missing--and we didn't even know that it was included in VA 12.0. Perhaps we've made a mistake that you will expose, say in generating copies in a radial direction (that only 3 people have ever tried).

Give us an "Attaboy"

The IES engineers have had their proverbial noses to the grindstone making this the greatest product that IES has ever assembled. You might find something really nifty in the new version. Tell us what makes you happy. For example, we think you will really like the following: indexed help, tooltips explain everything, all tasks are faster, WYSIWYG in the report view, etc., etc.

Beat Your Next Deadline!

Maybe you'll want to dump VA 12.0 a month ahead of everyone else and start working smarter, faster, easier than ever before. The new version has been validated for accurate results, we are just trying to smooth out a few rough edges and finish up some loose ends. With sound engineering judgment (as always) the new version is ready for prime time, despite our legal disclaimers otherwise.

 

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Coming to VA 17.0

Here is more of our progressive revelation of the next major upgrade. You can actually test these features right now. Or you can just wet your whistle.

Merge Projects

Have you ever had a .VAP project file that you wanted to include within another? We have gotten that request numerous times. There are several good reasons to split projects into pieces or to build distinct parts of the model separately, but then combine them later.

In version 12.0 and prior you could cobble it through the clipboard exchange feature. But this only worked for very basic model and loads, and only some of their properties. It could save you some time, or it could just give you headaches.

VisualAnalysis 17.0 will let you merge directly from a .VAP project file for all your model objects and load objects and all their properties.

Live Load Reduction

Several versions back, VisualAnalysis tried and FALED to help you with live load reductions. The problem with the old solution was that it relied on superposition and some seriously wrong guessing. We took it out because we didn't want to be the cause of any major blunders.

In VA 17 you specify one or more levels for reducing live loads in the Load Case Manager.  his feature uses the building code combination feature to generate additional load combinations, one set for each level you enable. You can then associate a Design Group with one of these levels to take advantage of the reduced demands. Easy and no "black box" voodoo!

CFS 10.0 Integration

IES has had a long and successful partnership with RSG Software, makers of CFS. We have used the CFS product to perform cold-formed steel design checks since the 1990's. RSG has updated their product to version 10.0, which is also built with new technology--no more issues with the missing Microsoft Visual Basic dll! Their new version is faster for cold-formed steel checks and supports the latest AISI provisions. And the 'Icing on the Cake': Copy a .scl or .cfsl (shape library) into your shapes folder, and VisualAnalysis will automatically load the custom file and let you check members modeled on them.

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Customer Training

Take 5 and Express Your Needs

Handshakes & Faces

There was some energy and excitement at the customer-training held last month in Bozeman. We were able to visit with over 30 IES customers from around the world. That was fantastic. We also got to show off many of the major improvements that will be on your desktop soon.

Here are Terry's poor quality snapshots from the training. Next time we'll hire a professional! Click for the full-size image.

What IES Learned

Whenever we get to sit down and have real conversations with customers we learn some amazing things. You guys and gals are really smart. You use our products in ways we did not imagine.

We also have features that you did not know about! There are areas where we need to improve our products or documentation to help you understand.

The Future of Training?

Often when using our products, you are often too busy to really master new features. It's a challenging task to learn tricks in your dozens of software tools, while also getting your job done. Help us provide the kind of training you want:

Please take a 2 minute Training Survey

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Sweet Sites

Geeky Web Sites You May Like

As engineers, we can appreciate television like Nova, or books from Henry Petroski, but you may not yet have discovered some of the hidden gems available for free on the web. Here are a few that Terry has found entertaining or informative:

VSauce & Veritasium

Although youtube is not what it once was (ad-free and completely fun) you can still find some great content there. Check out sites like VSauce or Veritasium for explanations of the world around us. I especially like the older VSauce content.

Wind and Weather

All the weather apps can give you a forecast that is at least 50% correct 3 days out. But you might understand your weather better by getting a bigger picture. Check out this Earth web site that shows wind, ocean currents, and pollution on the entire globe--it is fun to spin it (drag your mouse), and explore (click the earth label). I also like the mesmerizing effects of this USA Wind animation.

Flight Tracker

You look up and see a jet trailing across your sky. Wonder where it is going? Check out Flight Aware and be amazed at the volume of airline flights happening right now. Click on an airplane and learn more about it. Simply amazing real-time data. Now everyone can be a flight controller.

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From 10,000 ft

IES FEA Products Explained

Four FEA Tools?

IES offers four tools that can perform finite element analysis for plate elements that bend and shear. Why is that? Two reasons, really: productivity and intelligence.

The Generalist

VisualAnalysis, of course, is the generalist. You can use it to solve just about any FEA problem the typical engineer will need to solve. It is powerful and versatile. But as a generalist tool, it does not specialize very well. Because the software (or we engineering programmers) have no idea what kind of model you are building, or why, we cannot make too many assumptions. This means VA is capable for most things: if you know what you are doing. Excellent for flexibility. Power when you need it.

The Foundation Tool

VisualFoundation on the other hand, is dedicated to solving one extremely narrow class of problems: soil or pile-supported concrete slabs. Because the problem breadth is very narrow, the software can not only build the model for you, but can perform additional checks not found in VisualAnalysis, such as overturning stability checks, and column punching shear checks.

You can work faster and smarter in VisualFoundation and it comes at a lower price-point if you only need to design foundations.

The Others

Similarly, VisualPlate can solve metal plate or flat-slab bending problems for you very quickly. VisualShearWall offers nice features for working with a concrete shear-wall system. It is generally easier and faster to build models in these products as compared to VisualAnalysis, unless you are an expert in VisualAnalysis.

How to Decide?

If you already have VisualAnalysis you don't really need anything else. On the other-hand, if you spend lots of time doing things manually, or in a spreadsheet post-processing your results, then maybe it is time to consider one of the specialist products.

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