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Nuts & Bolts A Blog Dedicated to All Things SDS/2

The Nuts & bolts Blog serves the SDS/2 community by sharing information of interest to our users.
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JAN 11

Join Design Data at 2017 NASCC

Registration is now open for the 2017 NASCC: The Steel Conference, taking place in San Antonio, Texas, March 22-24.

Among the session highlights for this year: 3D Model Review and Approval Really Works, which will be presented Wednesday, from 9:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.; Quality Procedures in Detailing Offices, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Thursday; and The Little Site That Could: 150 N Riverside, from 9:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.

NASCC is the perfect place for steel fabricators, detailers, erectors and structural engineers to interact with their peers and learn more about structural steel design and construction. This year’s conference includes more than 100 technical sessions and an extensive trade show with more than 200 exhibitors. Design Data will be exhibiting in booths #7017 and #7025.

To register for NASCC or to view the advance program, complete with a detailed list of the conference sessions, click here.

Leveraging 3D Information in the Field: How Can Erectors Benefit?

Leveraging 3D Information in the Field: How Can Erectors Benefit?
By James Schwartz

Note: This article, written by Design Data's James Schwartz, originally appeared in the Fall 2016 Issue of SEAA Connector.

Digital 3D models are becoming a primary method of communication between disciplines within the construction industry. While fabricators have been using them to produce shop drawings and CNC data since the 80’s, new disciplines — such as the BIM coordinator — have emerged in the industry. The advancement of GPS and advent of drones brings us to the next logical step: the use of models for procurement, planning and construction on the site.

So what are the benefits of utilizing the 3D models for site planning?

One issue for the site is having current up-to-date documentation, especially where construction drawings are concerned. The advantage of having the fabrication 3D model, is what you see is what was fabricated. The CNC data used to run the fabrication machinery comes from the 3D model. An out-of-date model would be a very costly affair, so accuracy is of the utmost importance. 2D drawings can also be directly linked to the model for further investigation, without having to forage through piles of documentation.

Many of us are visual, especially those on the site. If we can see it we can build it. The ability to quickly visualize a connection — without having to interpret to 3D from a combination of 2D drawings — will reduce, if not eliminate, errors and confusion. The model will allow for better communication between people and execution of the plan.

Image courtesy of Virtual Steel Technologies

“The model eliminates all communication breakdown about the plan. Everyone is able to sit in one room and fly through the model, looking at possible issues and what sections could potentially be pre-assembled. Anytime there is a question about a connection, we are able to answer our own questions through the model or write RFIs, which are easier for the engineer to understand by using model shots,” said a project manager with The Boldt Company

The data and tools to extract that data provided in the fabricators digital model, permits on-demand reports, such as bolt summaries and point-to-point lists, or members that require non-default bolt types and diameters. There is the ability to determine accurate weights and center of gravity for single or assembled lifts, and tools to locate that “needle in a haystack” member, or quickly determine where all the batched members are to be placed. It also eliminates the guesswork on which members were shop assembled by the fabricator.

Simplification of the creation of work packages or project staging, to nail down the steel erection sequencing, allows you to maximize an early start, and results in a smoother and quicker process. Other benefits include the ability to quickly create pre-assembly and erection set lists which are given to the FM to assist in pulling steel from the laydown. A visual aid of what each activity in the schedule is helps all office personnel and the owner understand the plan.

A common issue is getting steel to the site in a timely manner, or missing steel at the site. A model with fabrication and shipping data set can give you not only a quick visual of what the status of members are, but will assist you to communicate your current need and future needs more efficiently.

Using the crane capabilities within a modeling product will permit you generate the information required to be in compliance with codes — for example, generating placement drawings, and critical lift and defining lift documentation. In some cases, erectors have even won the bid by using the 3D model and crane packages.

Completed portions of the structure can be set as erected, and reports or color coded 3D PDF model data can be sent to concerned parties. This data can also be sent back to the fabricator to have their model automatically updated.

As one erector who has implemented the fabricators 3D digital model into their work processes stated, “It appears to be unlimited benefits, which we have only begun to see.”

DEC 29

Earn Scholarship Opportunities With SDS/2

The need for detailers with SDS/2 experience and knowledge continues to grow, and Northcentral Technical College (NTC) and Design Data have partnered to provide the training necessary to excel in this high-demand profession.

As part of this program, Design Data is offering scholarship opportunities of up to $1,000 to our customers who complete a class through NTC's Structural Steel Detailing program and purchase a new license of SDS/2. To learn more about the scholarship program, contact Amanda Kunze at amanda@sds2.com.

Several SDS/2 customers have already participated in the program; you can learn more about how the NTC program has benefited their companies here.


Cost: The estimated total price for this program, based on the 15-16 tuition rates, is $3,955 for the entire program. This does not include the cost of books (which will cost approximately $520).

Format: In Virtual College all courses are fully online and have flexible starts and flexible deadlines. This means students can begin the courses anytime within the first 10 weeks of the spring and fall semesters. Within the courses, deadlines are set by the student. The online flexibility of our courses is a great benefit to business professionals, especially those who have employees in different time zones or unpredictable work schedules.

There are only two deadlines that are set by the school. These deadlines are: 1) The Plan for Completion assignment must be completed within the first 10% of the course. If this is not done, the student will receive a No Show (NS) grade and will be dropped from the course but still responsible for the fees. 2) All course work must be completed by the final day of the semester.

Software: Design Data will provide the hasp for students to use the SDS/2 software during this course. See the computer requirements you need to run this software here.

Single Courses: If you only need employees to complete a portion of the program and you and the student are not looking to earn the entire technical diploma, we do have an option to take the course a-la-carte. Please contact NTC to find out about single courses and how to get enrolled.

Enrollment steps: NTC has a new session of some courses beginning January 26, 2017. The full program will also start again in August 2017. It is easy to get your employees signed up for Virtual College and started in this program. They do not require admissions testing for individuals who are already working in the industry, and in many cases can take an application and have the learner accepted in the next 3-5 business days. It is easiest to get the process started by having your employees fill out the Application for Admission on the NTC website. If you have a group of people you would like to sign up for the program, please have them apply and then have a company representative contact NTC to help you get them all enrolled at the same time.

Credit for Prior Learning: Please keep in mind that NTC offers credit for prior learning for any and all of these courses if students have transcripts from another school or feel they have the work/life experience to meet all the competencies. Please visit the Credit for Prior Learning page of the NTC website for more details.

Online Training Dates for 2017 Announced

Design Data now offers an online basic training course so you can attend from the comfort of your own office, with less downtime and no travel expenses. This basic training course covers project setup, member input, connection design, material input and more. The course will consist of live training and Q&A sessions with a certified SDS/2 instructor, video training, and application exercises for a hands-on experience. It will take an estimated 30 hours to complete the course, depending on skill level and learning ability. The cost for the four-day online basic training course is $500 per person.

Learn More and Register

To learn more about online training, including training dates and the course schedule, click here.

2016 SDS/2 Users Group Conference a Success

Nearly 250 SDS/2 users, industry partners and Design Data representatives gathered for educational sessions, networking and a first-hand look at the future of the software at the 2016 SDS/2 Users Group Conference. The three-day event was held October 12-14 at The Embassy Suites in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska.

Following the welcome and opening remarks on Wednesday, Alan Kerschen of Kimmel & Associates provided the conference's keynote speech, which focused on the aging workforce in the construction industry. The discussion also covered retaining young employees through mentoring, recruitment and being creative in hiring.

The annual Design Data update touched on the acquisition of the company by Nemetschek, as well as a preview of upcoming features in SDS/2 v2017.

Wednesday also included the business meeting and a series of roundtables, which gave conference attendees the chance to have a voice in future development of the software. Roundtable topics included connection design, templates, custom members/components, install and networking, and model review. The day concluded with the opening of the Partner Pavilion, which hosted partnering companies and served as the venue for Wednesday evening's reception (sponsored by Peddinghaus). Click here to view images from the Partner Pavilion.

The last two days of the conference were dedicated exclusively to breakout sessions, including a first look at SDS/2 v2017 enhancements, SDS/2 v2016 Modeling, SDS/2 v2016 Drawing Editor, SDS/2 Erector, helical stair detailing, and template detailing. Other sessions focused on modeling with parametrics, full status transfer, model transfer facts, custom members and components, and boot camp basics. To view available presentations from the conference, click here.

Design Data's annual Thursday night conference dinner was held at the Nebraska Innovation Campus in downtown Lincoln. The theme for this year was SDS/2016 Olympics, which allowed athletes from four countries — Greece, Italy, Bhutan and Togo — to compete for medals, prizes and pride. Live events included hula hoop, egg race, flip cup and thumb wrestling; prerecorded events included synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, track, soccer and shooting. Click here to view images from the Thursday night dinner.

To view additional images from the conference, visit our Facebook page.

SEP 27

Training Courses Now Available in SDS/2 v2016

With the general release of SDS/2 v2016, all training classes will now be taught in the latest version of the software.

There are three more Basic Training dates available this year: October 24-28; November 7-11; and December 5-9. A Continuing Education course will also be held November 14-18.

Both the Basic Training and Continuing Education courses are held at Design Data headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Design Data offers an online basic training course so you can attend from the comfort of your own office, with less downtime and no travel expenses. This basic training course covers project setup, member input, connection design, material input and more. There are three online training dates remaining in 2016: October 3-6; November 28-December 1; and December 12-15.

To learn more about SDS/2 training opportunities, view course outlines and register, click here.


Two Longtime SDS/2 Customers Team Up On Nebraska Medicine Parking Structure

Two longtime SDS/2 customers — St. Louis, Missouri-based Industrial Detailing, Inc. and Paxton & Vierling Steel Company of Carter Lake, Iowa — were recently part of the team responsible for construction of a new parking facility for Nebraska Medicine.

With its rapidly expanding campus, Omaha-based Nebraska Medicine needed to create additional on-site parking to meet expanding demands. The new eight-story garage — comprised of approximately 800 tons of structural steel — includes 730 spots in its double helix ramp system.

The garage’s superstructure uses wide-flange steel columns and beams; a two-part coating system was used on all steel framing members. As profiled in Modern Steel Construction, the detailing of the slab and beam interaction was critical to minimizing the potential for cracking caused by slab restraints with a volume-changing post-tensioned deck.

The garage was completed in 2015.

To find out more about this project, read "Second Time Around" in the July 2016 issue of Modern Steel Construction.


SDS/2 v2016 Now Available as a General Release

Design Data has now issued a general release of SDS/2 v2016. The release is available to all customers whose accounts are in good standing and have a signed license agreement on file.

Among the highlights of the v2016 release are:

  • Automatic processing
  • Automatic creation of solids
  • Hole enhancements
  • Weld enhancements
  • Stair enhancements
  • Rod bracing
  • Status Display upgrades
  • New Connections
    • WTee vertical brace cope flange
    • Double angle vertical brace near/far side configuration
    • HSS reinforcement plates
    • Base plate extension with stiffeners
    • Varying hole spacing
    • Plate Definition Schedule information in Member Edit
  • Detail setting saved with drawings
  • Label styles in Drawing Editor
  • Hatching in Drawing Editor
  • Transmittal tool

The How/2 Files, located under the start menu, provide a more in-depth explanation of the new features available in the latest version of the software.

To download SDS/2 v2016, click here.

JUL 28

Design Data Acquired by Nemetschek Group

LINCOLN, NEB., July 28, 2016 – Design Data, a leader in 3D steel detailing and Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, announced today the company has been acquired by Nemetschek Group, based in Munich, Germany. Nemetschek is a globally leading software provider for the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry, with 12 brands and 2.1 million users in 142 countries.

In keeping with the strategic alignment of Nemetschek Group, Design Data will continue to be led by its current management as an independent brand company in the future.

“For our company, the acquisition means accelerated growth into international markets,” said Damon Scaggs, president of Design Data. “For our customers, it allows them to continue to use the leading software in the structural steel detailing industry, while now benefitting from increased integration with Nemetschek’s software solutions throughout the BIM process. SDS/2 seamlessly plugs into Nemetschek’s architectural and design offerings, while providing their customers access to Design Data’s longstanding manufacturing expertise.”

Design Data recently announced support for the European connection design codes and drawing standards with its SDS/2 Detailing solution.SDS/2 software is unique in that it automates the connection design process by optimizing every joint based on specific code requirements established by each market.

With the acquisition, the Nemetschek Group fills a gap concerning engineering detailing software for steel. Nemetschek is now able to cover the complete structural workflow from analysis and design (via the brand Scia), through detailing and fabrication (Design Data), all the way to reviews and markup (Bluebeam).

About Design Data

Design Data is a leading software innovator for the steel industry's fabrication, detailing and engineering sectors. SDS/2 software products provide automatic connection optimization, detailing, engineering information, fabrication data and much more, reducing the time required to design, detail, fabricate and erect steel.Founded in 1981 and headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska USA, the company serves customers in 17 countries.Information on Design Data and SDS/2 can be found at: www.sds2.com.

The Connector publication contains news about the structural steel industry and related events, customer spotlights, as well as information about SDS/2 and Design Data.

Delivered via e-mail, The Connector gets this important information straight to Design Data’s customer contacts. This format allows these customers to easily route our newsletter throughout their business, so all SDS/2 users can benefit from the valuable information it contains.

SDS/2 Software Provides Framework for
Detroit Medical Center Heart Hospital

When the new $78-million, 190,000-square-foot Detroit Medical Center Heart Hospital opens in early 2014, Design Data's SDS/2 software will have played an important role in the six-story project.

Meeting the project's challenges required collaboration between Harley Ellis Devereaux (HED) — the project's structural engineer — and Douglas Steel Fabricating Corporation — the project's fabricator — via SDS/2.

Using SDS/2, Douglas Steel automatically designed connections for each beam, brace, column and framing condition, which enabled HED engineers to validate the connection capacities against the required values.

To learn more about how HED and Douglas Steel successfully used SDS/2, read the full article in the March 2013 issue of Modern Steel Construction.