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The Steel Lion Award is on! Join our contest with your best project.

The process of implementing our new developments usually takes a year from idea to implementation. These novelties are traditionally connected to a subsequent new version of Consteel, our flagship product. We launched the first international Consteel Award. The previous Diploma Competition will be merged into it, so the next competition for civil engineering graduates will be launched under The Steel Lion Award umbrella. We also added new support features during the year and released an update to Steelspace. In the following, we would like to summarize our new developments, which will reflects several user requests.

Development strategy behind Consteel

The development strategy behind Consteel is always based on three main pillars

  1. Innovations – we try to keep our edge position in offering advanced, automatic but still practical design methods, especially for steel structures with developments based on our own research results. These developments are very unique on the market and form the core of Consteel’s incomparable design workflow.
  1. Supplements – Consteel is originally developed and mainly used for general steel structural design however to provide our unique design workflow to wider range of problems we continuously cover more and more modeling, analysis, and design fields supplementing our core functionalities.
  1. Requests – we regularly ask our users about their wishes and although it is impossible to satisfy all their needs, we always try to shape our new versions to include a considerable amount of novelties based on these requests.

If we look at the new functionalities in Consteel 16 we can state that this version is dominantly about the user requests: almost all the developments are directly connected to specific user needs, we received during the previous years or in the survey we have recently made. We would like to make a brief summary of these novelties and hope to be able to present such a version for our users where their requests are realized in the usual innovative Consteel way.

Easy handling of limit states and load combinations 

We reshaped the system of our load combination generation by introducing the limit states. This includes completion of Consteel automatic load generation tool with combinations for geotechnical design and visualization of all limit states at several places in Consteel. Easy handling of limit states will be the basis for several other new developments which together will help you perform a fully EN-conform design more quickly and efficiently. 

Automatic load combination generation according to limit states

Filter of relevant load combinations

It is a significant problem in almost all structural design projects that the standards define a huge amount of possible load cases and combinations to evaluate. Although most of these load combinations are never relevant or provide decisive design situations, it is usually not evident which ones might be neglected safely and accordingly the optimization process is overloaded by a large amount of unnecessary calculation. The new filtering function for load combinations offer a comprehensive tool to handle this problem. Based on the type of the load combinations and the previous analysis and design results, a wide range of filtering rules can be defined to select the relevant load combinations. The reduced list of load combinations can be saved for the different steps of the optimization, which enhances the design process and substantially reduces calculation time.

Advanced design of RC columns 

Although the earlier versions of Consteel have several functions to design reinforced concrete structural members, these design options have not reached the level we provide for the steel structural members in terms of uniqueness and automatism. With the new option for RC columns, we raised the level of design of these elements to the usual innovative standard of Consteel helping the engineer to optimize their RC columns quickly and safely. The very important buckling and second order imperfection effects can be automatically defined based on our unique global buckling and sensitivity analysis considering the realistic stiffness of the whole model. In this way the reinforcement of the columns can be placed in accordance with the real distribution of the second order bending moments without the need to use them at column sections where these effects are negligible.

New dialog for RC column reinforcement with defining rebar length

The new spread footing design tool

It has been a long-standing demand from our users to have a comprehensive design option for spread footing to be able to do a complete design for all parts of a hall structure within Consteel. The new spread footing design tool satisfies this request fully. Spread foundation design has been separated from column base joints and the already existing checks – like bearing resistance calculation and settlement analysis – have been completed with several verification checks including eccentricity and overturn check and reinforcement verification for bending moment and punching shear.

Model versioning and compare 

Last year we have started to provide comfortable cloud-based functionalities for the project and model management within the new Project Center. The cloud-saved models can easily be accessed from anywhere and shared with colleagues in Consteel or Steelspace. In Consteel 16, you can record the annotated history of these models fully in Consteel or access all earlier versions either with a quick view in Steelspace, where you may also compare models to easily detect the changes between two versions.

Combine Pangolin with Consteel models

Our Grasshopper plugin has become a must-have tool for the centralized, parametric design workflow in many design offices. Practically, the whole model optimization process can be controlled in Pangolin from model building to automatic analysis and design. With the new developments we want those engineers who are working in Consteel only and do not directly use the visual scripting language of Grasshopper to join into this process. The new model deconstruct, model merge and the preliminary version of the model compare components make it possible to combine parametric Pangolin models with Consteel models keeping all necessary model objects and inserting them into the parametric workflow.

Descript quick launch toolbar

Our internal scripting language (Descript) and its working environment in Consteel (MyDescript) have a growing success among our users. We have continuously released several scripts during this year to enhance your workflow with useful functions. They are also available in the Script Library. In Consteel 16 we made a big step to make the everyday use of the functionality defined by these scripts even more efficient with a quick launch toolbar. Select your favorite Descript functions and pin quick launch icons to the bottom bar to make these functions instantly available and ready for your work. 

Implemented user requests in Consteel 16

Direct requests from the survey

Couple of small requests have been included to our developments which were directly submitted to us in this year’s user survey. Some of them are listed here: 

From time to time, we assess how our partners use the software in their daily works and want to provide support to spend even less time on modeling. After the release of the new version, the new developments will be automatically available in our free trial version. Let’s develop together, help us with your feedback!

We present one of the projects for the Steel Lion Award, which won this year’s Pangolin Award. In this article you can read a detailed case study from the Tiszaliget Revitalization project.

Project general data

The main task of the structural engineers was to carry out the design of a support structure for a new slide track. This was prescribed by the architectural design to have slightly different slopes and curvatures than the existing ones which have been considered obsolete. The goal was to reuse as many of the existing columns as possible and to optimize the positioning of support placement, therefore minimizing the number of required cantilevers.

The design team handled the global structural calculations, as well as the joint calculations, detailing, and drafting. The main purpose even at the very beginning was to create a centralized parametric model in order to dynamically generate all the necessary model objects and communicate efficiently between the softwares. From the structural point of view, this meant the full model with complex geometry, loads, supports, etc. While from the detailing side a completed model with definitive joints.

The general workflow of the project

The versatile Grasshopper script

The script is capable to carry out the following tasks:

0. Input data processing

  1. Structural model parameter collecting
  2. Load definition according to the prescriptions (manufacturer, codes)
  3. Geometry creation via Grasshopper
  4. Tekla model generation
  5. Consteel model object generation
  6. Load assignment to Consteel beams

Input data processing

Two main input data were received: A 3D model of the assembled slide elements, and a geodetic survey of the existing structure. Both .dwg files were processed in Rhino 3D to prepare the centralized model which is directly linked to a Grasshopper script. The base model which contained the slide centrelines was distributed to separate layers and loaded into Grasshopper via the Elefront plugin, as well as the measured points of the existing columns. Using these points the centrelines of the columns were averaged.

Input data in Rhino

Load evaluation

The slide manufacturers’ data sheet and the related load evaluation methods from the standard were imported to Grasshopper. This allowed us to calculate automatically the particular user, water, centrifugal, and snow loads for the given slide sections and to directly forward the results to the Pangolin plugin.

Calculation methods from the standard
Automatically generated user and centrifugal forces with eccentricities

Producing the Consteel model

After a quick correction of the centrelines in Grasshopper, a preliminary Tekla model was created by the script in order to create rudimentary joint configurations using custom components and scatter through the model in every position. This model ensured that the correct eccentricities could be calculated in Consteel at the slide receiving joints due to the real centrelines of the supporting beams.

The generated model contained all the necessary model objects (e.g. all the beams with specific releases, load cases & combinations, etc.) to directly run and analyze the model from Grasshopper, which made it possible to check different support placements in a relatively short time.

The Consteel model with all the necessary data to perform the analysis

The final model

After the structural verification and dimensioning process the verification of typified joint models (using IDEA StatiCa) for specific positions was also performed, e.g. for cantilever end node, bracing nodes, and slide receiving plates. The preliminary custom components were updated in Tekla Structures, thus creating the complete model which is ready to prepare the drawings was a matter of hours.

Conclusion

The parametric model was capable to generate multiple configurations and to assist throughout the whole project. The project’s total design duration was 2 months and was carried out by one structural engineer and one detailer. The script development lasted about 1 month and it is fully reusable for similar future projects.

PROJECT FACTS 

General Designer:  Eleven Ltd.

Steel Designer: KÉSZ Constructii Romania Ltd.

Steel design team: 1 lead structural engineer, 1 structural engineer, 1 modeller

In the future, the new Steel Lion Award will include all ConSteel-related competitions and contests – including the Hungarian User Day contest or Diploma Competition – to create a high-level, internationally recognized professional or graduate award for the Consteel user community. It is an initiative that celebrates and inspires structural engineer talents all over the world to compete with their best projects made in Consteel. In this article, we have put together a summary of how our incentive programs have evolved and how it supports the cultural sector at the same time.

Why have we created an international award?

The idea of creating a high-level international award for the Consteel user community has been ripe for a long time. Consteel software is a unique and advanced solution for designing steel structures helping engineers to create many excellent projects around the world every year. We would like to show these to the wider engineering community, so you can see how many creative implementations there are and how much the software can be used for.

In Hungary, we have already launched a smaller, domestic version of this award, in which our users have submitted many great projects and we have rewarded them every year on the Hungarian User Day contest. You can see previous winners here.

The first international Steel Lion Award

The Steel Lion Award is an initiative that celebrates and inspires structural engineer talents all over the world to compete with their best projects made in Consteel. As we are not only in the domestic market but also have a significant number of international users, we wanted to give them the opportunity to enter the competition with their work. Therefore, we launched the first international Steel Lion Award on 1 February 2022, which is not only open to Hungarian projects but now also looking for international ones. More information about the award can be found here.

The trophy was put out to competition among Hungarian artists and from the entries received we chose a young sculptor, Mihály Ágoston Gyurcsovics. Just as the lion is considered the king of the animals, with this The Steel Lion Award we are highlighting the best projects from the submitted models. In addition to the sculpture’s clean and elegant design, it was also important that the structure of the lion’s interior symbolized the steel structure design and valuable global connections that the ConSteel team has. The material of the award is stainless steel, which in addition to its structural functionality, is also excellent design material.

The Steel Lion trophy
Mihály Ágoston Gyurcsovics, sculptor

How to apply?

Currently, we have made it free for everyone to enter the competition, with a prerequisite that the company must have a live Consteel license. A company can apply for the award with more than one project, in which case an application form must be completed for each project. The size of the project or the size of the Consteel model is not a key factor during the evaluation, so the smaller projects with creative, unique solutions are warmly welcome. Applications will close on 16 March 2022 and will be reviewed by the professional jury.

The submitted projects will be evaluated by an international Consteel team of structural engineering professionals, academic professors. All the projects where the solution includes the use of scripting technologies (Pangolin or Descript) will be automatically evaluated for the Pangolin award. We believe that this new technology is the future of structural steel design, which is why we believe it is important to promote its uptake and spread within the profession. The winners will be announced during the International Consteel Meetup on 24 March 2022. More information about the event will be coming soon.

Apply for submission

What happens with the Diploma Competition?

The launched Steel Lion Award will include all ConSteel-related competitions and contests. This means that the domestic competition will no longer be organized separately, but instead, projects will be assessed globally, and the Diploma Competition, which was announced in previous years, will be merged into it. In 2023, the next competition for civil engineering graduates will be launched under The Steel Lion Award umbrella. This will be a change of name, of course, and the diploma will not be evaluated together with the projects submitted by experienced professionals.

As we have received theses from surrounding countries this year, which we consider to be a great step forward and see it as a good idea to expand this to an international competition, so that in the future young people from abroad will also have the opportunity to participate.