IES VAConnect (Steel Connection Design)
Requires: IES VAConnect
Requires: Advanced Level
VAConnect is a set of utilities for connection design, currently just steel connections per AISC, but in the future this may expand. The tool provides a set of stand-alone connection utility programs that can be launched from within VisualAnalysis. Integration with VAConnect can save a tremendous amount of time because it exports forces from many load cases and multiple joints, saving you all the bookkeeping. In VAConnect, there is a steel base plate component with anchorage calculations, and a steel shear-tab component. IES has introduced this tool with limited features to get feedback from you regarding what you want or need!
How to Use IES VAConnect
- Turn on the Auto-Connections option in the Project Settings settings for your project. The automatic grouping of VisualAnalysis will set up reasonable groups for you, but you can customize these as you like.
- Define Result Type: VAConnect can use service case results or "pre-factored" results. Go to Load Case Manager and turn on the analysis for all the load cases (they are not necessarily enabled by default for service cases). On the Service Case tab, select each service case that contains loads, and check the box titled "Include in analysis".
- In the Design View you will find (or you can manually create) connection design groups. These groups allow you to organize your connections by member shapes, geometry and connection-types.
- Select a connection group in the Design View and use the Modify tab to launch the design tool. You may save your connection design in the utility.
- You can control the auto-group connection feature in the Project Settings setting in Project Manager, or in the preferences.
Connection Shapes & Geometry Limitations
- Steel materials and shapes only
- Grouped connections must be 'identical' in type, shape, orientations, etc.
Base Plate Requirements
- Base plate is assumed to be perpendicular to the member's local axis
- A single member framing into a supported node or with spring-supports (no braces may frame into this node!)
- Permitted shapes: I-Beams, HSS (rectangular tubes), Pipe, Rectangle, or Round
- VAConnect 1.0 will not design plates for biaxial bending.
Shear Tab Requirements
- Beam is nearly perpendicular to column or girder with end-released connection (~15° tolerance)
- A single member framing into a support column or girder
- Permitted beam shapes: I-Beams, Channels
- Permitted supporting member shapes: I-Beams, Channels, HSS, Pipe, Rectangle or Round
- The preferred approach is to export service-case results. While you may export “factored” results into VAConnect, which would go in as “prefactored” loads. This is not the best way to design a connection. Use the type in .
- The coordinate systems are different between VisualAnalysis and VAConnect.
- Member local forces in VisualAnalysis are exported to VAConnect, transformed into the appropriate directions.
- Once the project is created in VAConnect it is not “updated” from VisualAnalysis, and no information transfers back to VisualAnalysis.
- If your forces change in VisualAnalysis you must start the process over or manually update the VAConnect project.
- VAConnect reports are only available in VisualAnalysis 'per session'. If you exit and restart VisualAnalysis any VAConnect reports are no longer present.
- No connection data input into VAConnect is currently stored or transferred back to VisualAnalysis.
- You may save VAConnect project files manually to store your input-data and settings for each connection design.