Since we entered in the world of parametric design with our Grasshopper plugin Pangolin, we have observed numerous remarkable projects characterized by significant geometrical and structural intricacy. However, these projects are so unique that it is hard to effectively transfer the experiences and standardize certain parts of the parametric design workflow, particularly within design firms employing numerous structural engineers. But what happens in the case of modular or pre-engineered buildings? One of our customers has the answer. Let us delve into the details and then watch the accompanying video for a practical demonstration.

long-span portal with truss rafters and truss columns

When one begins to implement parametric methodologies in design, it is essential to start with the end in mind, formulating a well-defined goal to minimize the number of parameters required. Mexi Steel, a designer and manufacturer of cold-formed steel buildings, had such a clear objective: a tool that could, based on their expertise, internal capabilities, and solutions, swiftly generate a mechanically accurate Consteel model according to a set of variables, with all potential loads evaluated in various cases and combinations. This tool should assist structural engineers in decision-making by providing precise material lists (beams and bolts) derived from the Consteel model results during the concept design phase, thus facilitating more accurate quotations. In collaboration with our local distributor, REFLEX Software, the first version of this tool was developed within approximately two months in 2022. The tool delineates the primary steps of the design workflow and offers a sequential user interface with multiple tabs.

First, the geometry at the portal level must be defined in 2D by specifying a few global or general dimensions of the building and providing information regarding the columns and rafters. Once the portal frame is generated and the loads are quickly evaluated, it becomes possible to examine the standalone portal and predesign the cross sections.

A long-span portal with truss rafters and truss columns
A long-span portal with truss rafters and truss columns
A short-span haunched portal with double C profiles
A short-span haunched portal with double C profiles

The next step involves defining the parameters in the perpendicular or longitudinal direction. When the portal frame is a truss, it consists of several members, and all translations of the main axis as well as rotations of the cross sections are considered using link elements in Consteel.

defining the parameters in the perpendicular or longitudinal direction
Defining the parameters in the perpendicular or longitudinal direction

As a potential step, there is a posibility to expand the cross-section library, with typical cold-formed sections which can be manufactured by our customer. Then, as an essential step, all the load parameters have to be defined to obtain the desired ready-to-run Consteel model with all the mechanical objects, supports, loads etc.

UI of the parameters
ready-to-run Consteel model
all the mechanical objects, supports, loads etc.

Following the initial successful collaboration, the second version of the tool, developed this year, includes the capability to retrieve available analysis and design results from Consteel. This enhancement allows the tool to prepare data sheets that include material lists for both beams and bolts, as well as internal forces, thereby facilitating the joint design process.

Tables to investigate through the user interface
Tables to investigate through the user interface

All the tables can later be exported to Excel sheets, while the structure itself can be exported to an IFC model. These functionalities were developed using a range of exceptional third-party plugins, with Pangolin being the primary tool for creating the actual structural model. Additionally, HumanUI was employed to create a smooth user interface that can be effectively utilized even without specific Grasshopper knowledge.

We believe this project serves as a prime example of harnessing not only Pangolin’s inherent potential but also a wide range of open-source applications within the Rhino/Grasshopper community. However, achieving such successful outcome requires an investment of mainly time to delve into computational design. Even with just one dedicated individual, remarkable results can be achieved, thereby expanding the toolbox of an entire team. Consequently, we eagerly anticipate the emergence of more similar projects in the modular, product-based segment of the construction industry.

Every year, different strategies are influencing how Consteel‘s features are developed. In 2023, our primary focus is on one key subject: making the software easier to use. Accordingly, almost all of our new developments aim to increase usability across our software. Novelties include practical functions for efficient model manipulation, easy modification, and providing clear information not only in Consteel but also in Descript and in our cloud-based platform, Steelspace too. The new features are summarized here below.  

Automatic model portions

The existing model portion function is an easy way to handle larger models and it’s been used by all of our customers during their workflow for years. Studying the created model portions made it clear that there are some common categories used for portioning the structural models which are used very frequently by our users. Based on that, we have developed a new, automatic model portioning function beside the manual model portion. This feature creates automatic model portions grouping the members by the following categories: cross-section, material, placement, and utilization for bar members; and thickness, material, and placement for plate elements. The auto portions are always updated reflecting the actual state of the model and can be used together with the manually created custom portions. 

Auto portion categories in Consteel
The new feature allows grouping members by the following categories: cross-section, material, placement, and utilization for bar members; and thickness, material, and placement for plate elements.

X Bracing members

The tension-only members are usually used for bracing purposes arranged in X shape. The specific nonlinear behaviour of these pairs of members can cause troubles in the linear calculations (first order analysis, linear buckling or vibration analysis) while it can be handled in other analysis types using some nonlinear solution technique. The new development allows the user to set the finite element type of these members to X Brace, which handles the problematic analysis types with the usual linearization technique and automatically leaves these members out from the second order matrix compilation. 

The new development  in Consteel allows the user to set the finite element type of these members to X Brace, which handles the problematic analysis types with the usual linearization technique and automatically leaves these members out from the second order matrix compilation.
The new development allows the user to set the finite element type of these members to X Brace, which handles the problematic analysis types with the usual linearization technique and automatically leaves these members out from the second order matrix compilation. 

Load transfer surface improvements

The use of load transfer surface is an easy and efficient way to distribute surface loads to bar members. But since it is not a real mechanical process, the distribution can not always yield the expected solution (for instance can not consider the stiffness of the surface). To handle this problem we have modified the basic operation of the load transfer surface allowing the user to edit the properties of the generated line loads once unlinked from the surface load. The automatic update (regeneration of the line loads) function can also be controlled by the user.

The use of load transfer surface is an easy and efficient way to distribute surface loads to bar members. But since it is not a real mechanical process, the distribution can not always yield the expected solution (for instance can not consider the stiffness of the surface). To handle this problem we have modified the basic operation of the load transfer surface in Consteel allowing the user to edit the properties of the generated line loads once unlinked from the surface load. The automatic update (regeneration of the line loads) function can also be controlled by the user.
We have modified the basic operation of the load transfer surface allowing the user to edit the properties of the generated line loads once unlinked from the surface load. The automatic update (regeneration of the line loads) function can also be controlled by the user.

Extended and unified design results

Sometimes, you may need a quick review of the calculation results, while other situations may call for a more in-depth examination. In order to satisfy both requirements, we have completely reworked the handling and visualization of the design results. Firstly, the ULS and SLS design checks are unified in terms of execution and result display. Accordingly, all the dominant design results can be instantly accessed considering any limit states. On the other hand, all the utilizations from all load combinations are saved and shown for more detailed investigation of the structural adequacy.

New environment for software interactions

Reacting to the ever-growing demand for interaction possibilities between software, we have developed a new concept to operate as the background for all of our interfaces. The SDK-based environment creates the possibility to translate the external models to a general format (smadsteel) compatible with Consteel and Steelspace also. As a first step on our way with this methodology, a plugin for Axis VM structural analysis software is developed. Axis VM models can be converted to smadsteel format and then opened in Consteel. The conversion is extended to mechanical objects (supports, releases, etc.), loads and load combinations as well, not only geometry and sectional properties. The environment includes tools for cross-section and material conversion at different levels, and a comprehensive report of the import including visualization of the problematic objects in the model. 

New SDK environment in Consteel for software interactions
New SDK-based environment in Consteel creates the possibility to translate the external models to a general format (smadsteel) compatible with Consteel and Steelspace also. As a first step on our way with this methodology, a plugin for Axis VM structural analysis software is developed.

Descript language developments

As our built-in script environment is used more and more often, new development needs constantly arise during applications in different areas. These needs usually require new elements and improvements in the scripting language to cover the required functionalities. The novelties include new commands such as custom cold-formed cross-section creation, object referencing queries, and more, plus expanded capabilities in object creation, manipulation, and querying, all designed to empower your civil engineering projects with unmatched versatility and efficiency. 

Improvements for efficient modeling (user requests)

In response to direct requests from our valued customers, this version also incorporates several enhancements aimed at further improving Consteel’s usability:

Detailed model comparison

A model undergoes numerous modifications during the design process. Thanks to previous Consteel innovations, we can now preserve important milestones and decision points related to changes in the form of model version histories. Building upon this foundation, we have further enhanced the capability to compare versions in model histories. The new functionality allows users to customize the comparison process, focusing solely on objects and attributes that are relevant. The comparison results vividly illustrate parameter differences, highlighting the designated objects and attributes. Within the user interface, elements such as the selection tab and object property display have been redesigned to facilitate easy access to the differences in data between both versions during the comparison. 

Introducing the Clipping Plane feature in Steelspace

Discover more about your model! With the latest enhancement in the cloud-based Consteel model viewer, Steelspace, we’re introducing a powerful feature – the clipping plane. This innovative tool allows you to create a clipping plane object, representing a plane that clips away parts of the geometry within a specific viewport.

Improved collaboration management

Effective collaboration is often key to accelerating work, particularly in the structural design phase of larger projects. In recognition of this, we’ve taken steps to enhance collaboration within Consteel and improve the Model version history feature. With our latest development, you can grant access customized with different permission levels to your model to multiple engineers or team members. In this, case more engineers can save new versions into the model history of the same project where the versions include now the creator as well.

Watch our comprehensive guide on the new version

In this comprehensive video, we walk you through a step-by-step workflow guide, demonstrating how to leverage Consteel 17 to its full potential.

Explore the new features for free

Download the new version now!


If you are new to Consteel, you can explore the new features easily. After the release of Consteel 17, the new developments will be automatically available in our free trial version.

Our users who use our software with online protection will automatically have access to the latest version after installation. Consteel users with USB dongle protection will receive the necessary information to upgrade when the new version is released. For any problems with the update, please contact our support team.

The ordinary practice of structural design is based on the use of many empirically introduced safety factors and statistical approaches, considering / applying different standards. As a result, the geometrical model of the buildings and the loads acting on them can often differ significantly from reality because of these simplifications, especially if the geometry of the structure is freeform, which is practically impossible to accurately model and analyse with standard tools.

Detaching from reality can be a legitimate concern for a structural designer which amplifies when it comes to wind load evaluation. Thoughtfully, but structural engineers must be able to respond to the needs of today’s architecture. This is why computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation methods are increasingly appearing as an alternative solution for the challenges of non-conventional geometries between the conservative solutions offered by the standards and the experimental way, using wind tunnel tests. For this purpose OpenFOAM as a CFD engine offers a wide range of solutions. Although, for these type of simulations a proper environment is essential, where one can easily define all the necessary parameters to setup a flexible simulation case. This led us to begin the implementation of these solutions into our platforms based on our research in the topic. This lead to a new functionality, where one can define the simulation parameters conveniently, using OpenFOAM as the engine without a comprehensive knowledge regarding its use.

Design code interpretations in the case of free-form structures

The effect of the wind acting on a structure can be calculated from the average wind speed and the fluctuating wind speed generated by the turbulence around the building. EN-1991-1-4 defines the wind-generated effects as simplified surface pressures for the calculation of wind loads acting on structures, considering the shape of the structure, its location, the roughness of the terrain, etc. Thus, the wind loads can be considered as a quasi-static external pressure equal to the effect of the turbulent wind with maximum speed. Then the effective surface pressure (or suction), can be determined as the result of the product of the peak pressure (at “z” height above the ground) and the pressure coefficients belonging to the building, according to the design codes, which are covering only a few regular shapers: flat roofs, different pitched roofs, vaulted roofs, domes, etc.

For instance, for the free-form structure below to determine these external pressure coefficients could be really challenging. First of all, due to the relatively low roof slope of the structure, it is difficult to decide whether to consider the roof as a flat roof with curved eaves or as a dome (due that it fits to the surface of a sphere). In the case of a dome, the standard gives 3 characteristic values in a relatively cumbersome way, depending on the eaves height, roof height and diameter of the building. Applying these values to the geometry is highly debatable, especially at the edges.

External pressure coefficents on the roof a free form structure
Fig. 1. External pressure coefficents on the roof a free form structure

Similar questions are raised if we try to apply the pressure coefficients on walls which are not regular.

External pressure coefficients on the facade
Fig. 2. External pressure coefficients on the facade

CFD Simulations

Computation Fluid Dynamics is a branch of fluid mechanics that deals with the numerical simulation and analysis of fluid flow and heat transfer phenomena. CFD involves using computer algorithms and numerical methods to solve the governing equations of fluid flow, such as the Navier-Stokes equations, on a discretized domain containing finite element volumes. For these problems OpenFOAM as a toolkit is one of the most suitable.

OpenFOAM contains several applications which can be divide to two main types. Solver-type applications are suitable for solving specific solid or liquid body mechanical problems, while the Utility-type can be used for mesh creation and data management.

To prepare a CFD-based simulation, the following main steps can be identified:

The current stage of the development uses only one specific turbulence model, that handles the partial
differential equations of the kinetic energy and the energy distribution rate (k-ε model), with
the solver simpleFoam (SIMPLE = Semi – Implicit Method for Pressure Linked Equations) . In this
scenario, the simulation assumes the following conditions:

Our service as a general workflow for wind load evaluation

According to the steps we identified above we began the development of a service which as automatically as possible creates a premesh for load assignment and prepares the necessary data for OpenFOAM, which generates a finite volume mesh ( preprocess stage) and performs a simulation ( dataprocess stage) as shown below. For this, beyond the geometrical and meshing information, suchs as the cell size of the desired loads and the refinement, the user should provide only the wind reference base speed, the direction and the terrain category to define a wind profile according to the civil engineering logic (primarily the Eurocode wind profile corresponding to the peak velocity pressure).

The representation of the pre- and dataprocessing stages
Fig. 3. The representation of the pre- and dataprocessing stages

The current development aimed an additional and in the same time the main feature ( postprocess stage) which offers an automated conversion from the resulted pressure values to usable surface loads according to the users preferences. It will be possible to directly assign the simulation results to the premesh, or to apply a zoning logic, similar to the standard.

The surface loads created after different postprocessing based on the same simulation
Fig. 4. The surface loads created after different postprocessing based on the same simulation
The generated wind surface loads in Consteel and the analysis according to it
Fig. 5. The generated wind surface loads in Consteel and the analysis according to it

In conclusion, a serious potential can be observed in the feature, mainly due to its versatility. However, experience shows that although CFD can be used to perform wind load simulations for industrial use, its pertinence is highly dependent on the quality of the input parameters. So a minimal fluid dynamic expertise is still required, but the current state of the development already offers a solution for the structural engineers, in order to create these simulation relatively easily. The service is planned to be implemented in multiple channels using our existing platforms: Consteel (direct desktop use on Consteel models), Steelspace (cloud based use on compatible models) and Grasshopper (use on any models defined in the GH environment for instance with Pangolin) to make it available for as many engineers using different tools as possible.

Simulation on a free-form structure
Fig. 6. Simulation on a free-form structure

A new driver is available on our website at Downloads for the USB dongles.

A new driver is available on our website at Downloads for the USB dongles. It is compatible with the latest updates of Windows 10 and 11 too. Please download and install it to ensure flawless operation of your dongle! Only users who use Consteel with an USB dongle protection will need this driver.

How to download the new driver?

Log in to your account on our website and click on the USB driver download icon to download the driver. Then you just need to install it to your computer.

Log in to your account on our website and click on the USB driver download icon to download the driver.

Discover an in-depth case study detailing the expansion of a Turda, Romania plasterboard factory, which shows how the expansion led to the construction of nine new structures. This project, which uses a central parametric model, won third place in this year’s The Steel Lion Award 2023 competiton, thanks to its innovative use of Consteel software for steel structural design and Pangolin, the Rhino-Grasshopper plugin for Consteel.

1. Project Info

The aim of the project is to expand an existing plasterboard factory in Turda, Romania, resulting in the creation of 9 new structures.

These buildings serve various purposes, from raw material processing to waste storage. The building that monitors and serves the manufacturing process is called the “mill,” constructed from a multi-storey rigid steel frame structure. The maximum frame span is 8 meters, and the total height of the 7-story structure is 28 meters.

2. Central parametric model

While the geometry of the structure is based on classic shapes that may not necessarily require parametric design methods, our goal was to parameterize and create a central BIM model to keep all data in one place during the project’s design process. This data includes 3D models of the technological equipment, technical data sheets, and plans related to them, along with permanent and live loads, all revisions, architectural plans, and more. Given the data provided, we constructed the geometry, defined the loads, and other relevant information. The resulting structure was a complete wireframe model, and its global static analysis was performed using Consteel.

The load evaluation process on the centralized model based on the technological drawings
The load evaluation process on the centralized model based on the technological drawings

In this way, the centralized model controlled the entire design process from Rhino-Grasshopper interfaces (top-left corner). From here, the complete load evaluation process was coordinated (bottom-left), the construction of the structural model (top-center), the generation of models required for joint calculations (bottom-right) based on the results of the structural analysis (top-right), and ultimately, the whole detail design (bottom-center).

The design processes managed by the centralized model
The design processes managed by the centralized model

3. Analysis in Consteel

The primary challenge in the design was harmonizing the technology with the structure. Essentially, the design of the technological equipment occurred in parallel with the design of the structure, and the structure had a subordinate role throughout the whole process, necessitating flexibility to adapt to any modifications from the technology side. Within Consteel, we continuously optimized the structure, and utilizing Pangolin’s bidirectional functionality it allowed us to update our centralized model almost instantly. This ensured that the current state was always available, enabling concurrent detailing of the building. Another challenge was that the building was connected to a precast concrete production building. For the affected facades, the ordinary bracing system couldn’t be applied on the first three levels, significantly affecting the structure’s global behavior under horizontal loads. Therefore, it was crucial to consider all structural elements within a global model, in this case, together with the trusses providing the necessary horizontal rigidity.

Analysing the structure
Analysing the structure in Consteel Software

4. Joint Filtering

Following the main structural analysis, we performed joint analysis using the Grasshopper-IdeaStatica compatibility. This allowed us to filter out type joints (e.g., column bases, column-to-beam connections) from the Consteel model, which were then dimensioned for the internal forces collected automatically. These forces, while considering all possible positions for the selected type joints, represented the maximum concurrent and the absolute maximum values. Using predefined Tekla macros, we distributed the dimensioned connections to all positions with the help of Grasshopper. This method enabled the scattering of 2074 joints on the strut beams with a single click. Using this approach, we distributed over 3800 Tekla macros under Grasshopper control.

Control panel of the joint filtering script
Control panel of the joint filtering script
A selected joint type representation, from which all internal forces coming from Consteel are collected for every position.
A selected joint type representation, from which all internal forces coming from Consteel are collected for every position.

5. Conclusions

The design process consisted of two main phases. During the conceptual design phase, which served as the basis for the final authorization plans, we began writing scripts based on a parametric central model. We handled this as an internal development, which could also serve as a starting point for similar projects in the future. Thus, by the time we were creating final detailed plans in the second phase, we had a highly flexible tool at our disposal, providing data for structural checks, global and joint dimensioning, detailing, and ultimately for drawings. This workflow proved to be extremely efficient, requiring only one project lead structural engineer and one engineer responsible for script development and usage throughout the roughly two-year design process from the steel structure perspective. Therefore, when everything was considered final, we were able to involve an additional five engineers, and together, we completed the joint dimensioning, the remaining manual detailing, and the manufacturing design in approximately two months.

Centralized model in Rhino
Centralized model in Rhino-Grasshopper
Consteel model
Consteel model
Final, detailed structure
Final, detailed structure

This month we have shared 4 new example models regarding fire resistance, cold-formed macro sections, user-defined cross sections, and shear stiffness. Models are available for download from the Knowledge Base.

Perform structural analysis at room and elevated temperatures as part of design process for fire resistance

Did you know that you could use Consteel to perform structural analysis at room and elevated temperatures as part of design process for fire resistance?

Include in your model a wide range of cold-formed macro sections

Did you know that you could use Consteel to include in your model a wide range of cold-formed macro sections?

Draw a user-defined cross section and calculate its section properties

Did you know that you could use Consteel to draw a user-defined cross section and calculate its section properties?

Consider the shear stiffness of a steel deck as stabilization for steel members

Did you know that you could use Consteel to consider the shear stiffness of a steel deck as stabilization for steel members?

To see what else the Consteel software can do, check out the features.

From now, it is faster, easier, and more convenient to contact Consteel support, as the application form is now available directly from Consteel. The new development also allows users to send ideas or reach learning materials while working in Consteel. Let’s see this feature more in-depth.

Extended Help menu

We have extended the top Help menu with different options according to your needs. The menu has been divided into two sections, the first includes links to the Online Manual, to the Descript Manual, and to a filtered selection of our Knowledge Base with tutorials and guides. No need to login to our website as it will be done automatically through Consteel if you use it with online protection.

The second section is for support-related requests. The “Get Support” command opens our Support system notification window to ask for help issues regarding Consteel. If you have trouble with licensing then you will need to click on the “Report licensing issue” command. We would like to hear your ideas regarding Consteel as well, so if you have any feedback, click on the “Send feedback” command and share your thoughts with us! Your email address will fill in automatically.

Extended Help menu

The new Help tab

We have implemented a new “Help” tab for the essential support-related requests into the graphical interface to make posting support issues more convenient.

Help tab

These support options are also available from the left bottom side of the Project Center.

The Help option on the left bottom side of the Project Center

When you open a new support request, report a licensing issue, or request a feature, please add as much information as you can, so we can help you more effectively. If you are facing any issues, attach your Consteel model and screenshots to your request as well. If possible, please always include the version number of the Consteel you are currently using.

We hope you find our development useful. This feature is available for users with Pro or Premium memberships. Feel free to get in touch with us as we only can be better if we hear your feedback.

We assess how our partners use the software in their daily works and want to provide support to spend even less time on modeling. This requires your feedback. If you want to take part in shaping Consteel, fill out our 10-20 minutes questionnaire and be part of our updates.

We would like to better understand how our users use Consteel during modeling and their thoughts about the software’s graphical interface. Your answers will help us to make the development of Consteel better and understand your experience.

The survey should only take 10-20 minutes and available in the following languages: English, German, Spanish, Polish, Greek, Romanian, Hungarian. Filling the survey is voluntary and anonymous.

The survey is closed thank you for your time.

Along with the release of Consteel 15, there are several new features and changes that affect the use of the software.

Consteel Joint ceases to be sold as a separate licence

With the release of Consteel 15, we will cease to sell, develop and maintain our Consteel Joint product under a separate license. The full functionality of steel connection design will continue to be available in our Consteel Full or Starter products. For our Consteel Joint users with active maintenance, we offer a special licensing solution for continued software use.

Introduction the subscription system

With the launch of Consteel 15, not only a new version has been released, but also a number of online services that our current sales system can no longer adequately cover. As a result, we have developed a new unified subscription system that includes access to the available online services, Consteel Community Membership levels, and different software access types.

We plan to switch to a subscription-based system from 2022 and contact you soon with the details. Until then, you can find out more about the new offers on our Offers and Plans page.

Extending online protection

The new Consteel 15 version will allow the use of online software protection, which will be available as part of the newly introduced subscription packages. Current users with USB dongle protection will also have the option to switch to online protection, but until then they will have to launch Consteel using the USB dongle.

Selecting USB dongle protection when starting Consteel 15

Access to online services

All of our users can now access storing and sharing models in the cloud and using Descript codes from the Script library as online services connected to Consteel 15. Until the introduction of the new subscription system, all of our users with software access can use these services with a Pro level Consteel Community Membership.

Our users with USB dongle protection only need to log in with the credentials created on our website. To access the services within the software, the login can be done via the Project Center by pressing the “Open from Cloud” button, when saving by selecting the “Cloud” option in the “File/Save As” option, or via the Descript interface.

After a long and intensive development period, we are glad to announce that Consteel 15 is out! 

With the new developments, we tried to follow the most state-of-the-art trends in the software and structural engineering industry including the involvement of cloud services, API based scripting and parametrization possibilities, higher-level analysis options with simple model management, and many more. Accordingly, in the new release, you may find a couple of breakthrough developments along with some useful improvements making your work with Consteel more efficient, controlled, and comfortable. Let’s take some time to browse the most important novelties listed below and start to experience the new version of Consteel!

What’s new in Consteel 15?


Consteel has broadened the concept of traditional bar members with the Superbeam concept, which allows performing the analysis on two consistently generated calculation models (bar and shell model). The member model in Consteel 15 is still built-up with conventional 1D bar members, however, with the help of a simple switch, it is possible for any bar member with welded I-section to switch between using a conventional 7DOF bar or a shell finite element for the analysis (other section types are coming later). This makes it possible to examine certain structural parts more thoroughly with the accuracy of the 2D shell model while keeping the possibility of simple modeling and modification offered by 1D bar members. It is important to note that this finite element model change is fully automatic and can be reversed at any time.

Extended modeling of the bar members also allows the incorporation of details such as web cutouts and stiffeners into the model. The placed detail objects are also automatically converted into shell members and participate in the stress and buckling analysis.

It is possible to place three types of stiffeners:

The cutouts that can be placed anywhere on the web can also take three forms:

(Note: Structural design (global or member level) is available only for members calculated with beam finite elements. For members calculated with shell finite elements – similarly to other 2D members defined with shell elements – deformation and stress results are available.)

Project Center

From now, the new Project Center unites all the functionalities for model and account management, supplemented with easy access to personalized information and learning materials. Here you can create new models, easily browse your recent models, and open models stored on your computer or in your cloud storage. Searching for recent models is also facilitated by auto-generated preview images, which always show the most recently saved status of the models. Models from the cloud can be shared with other Consteel users with multilevel authorization, allowing full access to the shared model – view, save as and execute operations or calculations – or view-only access. In license info, you can view the details of the license you are accessing, set your preferences on the protection and software launch settings, or borrow an online protected license for offline use for a pre-determined period of time. In the new Info Hub area, customized information is provided highlighting news, upcoming events, software updates, release notes, blog articles, or learning materials. The learning center offers various learning materials and example models from the Knowledge base to deepen your expertise in using Consteel.

Cloud servicesBeta

No more file transferring is needed. Save and store your Consteel model and result files in the cloud and share them with others from Consteel to make collaboration easier.

Steelspace, your cloud service platform, will provide your models storing, sharing, and commenting options. With the new cloud-save and cloud-open possibilities, you can manage your models as if you had personal cloud storage right on your desktop. Your cloud-saved models will accumulate in this store and you can quickly view, access, open or share them also directly from Consteel.  It is also possible to control the authorization level for shared models to ensure full access or more strict usage for a shared model.

Service Center

A place where you can easily access our structured knowledge and experience in structural analysis, standard design methods, and the recent modern technologies of the construction industry.

User Manuals: include detailed descriptions of Consteel features and Descript functions to get familiar with them in a new online form with easy navigation between topics, search, detailed guides, and feedback options to share your ideas and needs with us.

Knowledge Base: a well-curated collection of learning materials and models of different types and levels to help your understanding of how to develop an effective design workflow in Consteel. It includes guides for how to start with Consteel, tips & tricks for best practices, example models to try out features, user guides for in-depth theory and application theory backgrounds for diving into the scientific background of a specific Consteel solution, and many more.

Script Library:  an all-around selection of multilevel scripting solutions. Includes a wide range of prepared Descript examples which are ready to go to use in Consteel and speed up the workflow. Covers also many Grasshopper scripts to utilize parametric design with Pangolin and show the best practices. Introduces also various scripts for advanced users to take advantage of the power of Consteel API.

Access for users to the Service Center materials is based on the Consteel Community Membership levels.

Online protection and license management

The online software protection system has been expanded to all users from students, individual professionals to design offices with greater teams.

The new developments ensure smooth and convenient license management to cover all necessary services coming with the new Subscription plans and Consteel Community Membership system as well. It has been also integrated into Consteel therefore one can always check the actual license status either in Consteel or in the personal account on our website.

Customers with Team subscriptions can use a new online license management tool to control the allocation of software seats and accesses to end-users, providing much more flexible and optimal software use within the company.

Consteel API

API is the acronym for Application Programming Interface, which is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other.

Why APIs matter in steel design?
With the power of coding, the API supports actions such as retrieving and creating cross-sections, structural members, supports, link elements, loads, and much more types of model objects. The API can read and write model files and even communicate with a running Consteel instance and enables users to interact with the Consteel model through their own code instead of the graphical user interface, making complex tasks less time-consuming.

If you would like to enhance your workflow with the Consteel API, don’t hesitate to contact us.

MyDescript Programming Environment

A custom-built and now updated programing language and personal scripting environment used directly inside Consteel to speed up your workflow.

The Descript script language (former csPI) was designed to assist the needs of a structural engineer and to be a powerful tool to create access, and manipulate flexibly model objects and operations or calculations on them. Allows for automation of tedious or hard tasks that do not have specific preexisting solutions, but which can be done with Descript’s toolset. The MyDescript interface, the personal scripting environment in Consteel gives the opportunity to create or add your own Descript files or gain access with your online account to more scripting solutions from the Script Library. A detailed Descript manual is also provided to help get started with scripting.

Pangolin 2.0

The Pangolin plugin integrates the creation and analysis of Consteel models into Rhino-Grasshopper parametric modeling environment.

The Pangolin plug-in allows you to create a Consteel model directly in Grasshopper, with profiles, supports, loads, and all the features and functions available in Consteel. This model can then be uploaded to the cloud via Steelspace, or even directly to Consteel. The live connection between Grasshopper and Consteel also allows us to supplement the model built in Consteel with additional elements and loads in Grasshopper, of course also in a parametric way.

The new 2.0 update includes:

Load the results of the first and second-order analysis and the global design (code-design) back into the Grasshopper model. The transfered data includes stresses, buckling eigenvalues, deformations, deformed shapes, including buckling shapes. The design results include the dominant results, along with the resulting load combination, as well as all sub-results for each finite element checked.

Download Pangolin and try for free from here. It will need Rhino-Grasshopper to run.

Open SAF models

A new file format has been added to the range of formats that can be read by Consteel. This is SAF (Structural Analysis Format), an Excel-based, open exchange format developed by the Nemetschek Group and already supported by many other engineering and architect software as well. It is intended to improve the collaboration between structural engineers on the one hand, and different disciplines on the other, by developing an open exchange format for exchanging structural analysis data (static model and loads) between FEA and CAD programs.

With Consteel 15, engineers are now able to open structural analysis models exported in SAF format (files have a .xlsx extension in this format) that are directly converted to a Consteel model in the process.

Member-coloring by cross-sections

A new possibility has been added to the visualization of the structural model: the representation of the model colored according to the sections. In Consteel 15, each section is automatically assigned a unique color when the section is loaded, which can of course be changed later. Colors are also assigned when models from previous versions are opened. On the right side of the status bar is a new switch to toggle between default and section-based coloring.

More informative visualization of results

We have further developed the visualization of the model and the results for easier interpretation and better visual appearance.

Projected stress diagram

In the section module, the stress diagrams can now be displayed in a new, three-dimensional representation, thus helping to better understand the stress state of the section.

Smooth and realistic deformation representation

In Consteel 15, the real 3D behavior of the structure can be better seen thanks to our improvements in the representation of the deformations. In the new version, we no longer depict the displacement of the finite elements and their twisting around its axis, but the actual displacements of each corner point of the cross-section, including the effect of the section distortion due to the seventh degree of freedom. All these results in continuous, clearer and nicer deformation shapes, and as well as deformation shapes similar to the plate model, even in the case of bar members.

Colored internal force diagrams

Among the ways of displaying internal force and displacement diagrams, the possibility of colored diagrams has appeared. Negative values are displayed in blue and positive values in red, providing better comprehensibility when reviewing results.

Buckling sensitivity results

The results of the buckling sensitivity analysis are aided by the fact that they can now be seen on the actual buckling shapes. In this way, the critical elements can immediately show the mode of deflection that caused it.

Additional improvements

Multiplying loads into new load cases

The creation of moving loads has been made easier by a new option in the copy function, which allows you to copy the selected loads within the same load case or into new load cases, as well. In the latter case, each copy of the load is placed in a new load case that is automatically generated within the same load group.

Constraint elements

In connection with the Superbeam concept, the constraint element was also introduced in Consteel. These elements cannot be created manually at this time, they can only be created automatically by the following functions and displayed in the finite element model:

Renewal of member releases (hinges)

The modeling of the member end releases (hinges) was also renewed with the introduction of a new zero-length finite element. The handling of the member end releases is removed from the member finite element and transferred to a new release finite element located between the member end and the connecting structural elements. This does not involve any change for the user during modeling, everything happens automatically during the creation of the finite element model. However, this change, which was needed to make the deformations more realistic (see above), has some changes that are also visible and positive for users:

Expanding the visibility switches

We have expanded the number of visibility switches that control the display of model objects. 6 new switches have been added to the new, expanded settings window, so you can now control the visibility of all structural objects. The new switches are:

Improvement of load transfer surfaces

The load distribution control algorithm of the load transfer surfaces has been further developed to encounter as few error messages as possible, usually due to modeling inaccuracies, in the day-to-day work of the engineer.

As a result, we can also encounter fewer problems with models that we have imported into Consteel from other programs and often contain small inaccuracies that may have caused an error in the finite element model.