Autodesk Revit 2017 – What’s New for Structures

It’s that time of year again when Autodesk start to release all the new 2017 software, and a very interesting release for Revit 2017. The first most significant change is the discontinuation of the singular discipline Revit software such as Revit Architecture, Revit Structure and Revit MEP; these are now replaced with Revit 2017 which contains all three products in one ‘box’. The application icon will now simply read Revit 2017 as shown below. Notice that the logos have also had a makeover!

Link to video: Link to Revit 2017 whats new Video

Revit 2017 Icon

In this review I will just focus on the structural changes that have happened in Revit 2017 which I have broken down into the following:

  • Reinforcement (RC Detailing)
  • Structural Columns
  • Structural Connections

Let’s start with the new features for reinforcement features which are very significant in this release! The first feature to look at is varying range rebar. You can now easily add rebar to tapered beams and also to cranked slabs.Revit 2017 - Varying Range Rebar
You will notice that the structural rebar now has a new Rebar Set type for Varying Rebar. This can be used in all sorts of situations where the bar is not parallel to a particular surface or face.varying range rebar
The varying range bar can also be detailed and scheduled as shown below. The varying bars can be called up separately or with a ‘sub mark’ such as letters or numbers. These options can be set within the reinforcement settings.

Varying Range rebar - Range indicator and schedule
Next up are the new reinforcement bar couplers which add not just couplers but also anchors and any product which aids the continuity of concrete systems. The rebar couplers have a new category and can also have a 2D symbolic representation as well as a 3D model.

Revit 2017 - Structure Ribbon

The couplers will attach to reinforcement bar that matches the bar diameters and can also be added to rebar ranges and also scheduled.

Revit 2017 - Rebar Couplers
Bent fabric is now incorporated within this release and can be simply sketched onto any element that can host rebar.

Revit 2017 - Bent Fabric

Structural Columns

A small new feature is now the ability to attach a structural column to an isolated foundation. This can be useful if you have situations where the foundations are changing level as the columns automatically lengthen or shorten based on the moves. If a concrete column is attached to the foundation then these elements will become monolithic.

Columns can now be split which again is very useful for situations where a column has been modelled through many different levels and then requires section changes as the design progresses. Another use is for analysis where nodes are required at floor plates.

Structural Connections

Revit 2017 now adds 22 structural connection types into the product which are directly taken from the Autodesk Advance Steel product. This is obviously a very big improvement as many structural consultants will not directly design connections but want to show design intent within a steel frame to communicate better with the client and the fabricators. Another advantage is that early design coordination can now be realised by modelling items such as haunches and gusset plates that could cause clashes with other elements.

Structural Connections

The connections can be designed to EC3 and will directly take design loads from the results of an analysis that are stored within Revit.

Structural Connection Settings

At present you cannot create fabrication drawings from the various members and plates but this could be a direction that Autodesk move into in the future. At present Revit is not very good at dealing with small elements so perhaps this is a little way off into the future.

Connections - Coordination with rebar

Coordination with connection holding down bolts and anchors with reinforcement.

Click the below link for a full video review.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IO3Hq0DBts

Enjoy,

lawrenceh

Autodesk Inventor 2016 R2- Shape Optimisation for Structural Connections

Within the release of Autodesk Inventor 2016 R2 is the Shape Generator tool for the design of efficient, light weight structural systems based on typical boundary conditions and loads that you specify. Although this technology is currently not within the traditional structural design products from Autodesk such as Autodesk Robot and Autodesk Advance Steel it is worth noting that manufacturers of mass produced structural systems can benefit from the optimisation of traditional products.Structural Optimisation of Fabricated Structural Support Systems

In this simple example shown above I have taken a simple bracket fabricated from 6mm thick steel plate with a simple gusset plate added for stiffness. The bracket needs to be designed to take a load of 500KN/m² with a safety factor of 1.2. The first step is to model the bracket with its basic form with all fixing positions.

Basic Bracket modelled in Autodesk Inventor.jpg

The next stage is to launch the Shape Generator. Within the Shape Generator toolset you then add your Boundary Conditions (Constraints) and desired loads. You will also notice that an option is present to preserve regions. This tool will enable you to select regions where fixings will occur such as bolts and plated connections. Inventor will then take this into account during the optimisation process and preserve these vital areas.

Autodesk Inventor Shape Generator - Analysis Ribbon.jpg

Inventor Shape Generator - Loads Added and Regions Preserved

Once this is done you then run the Generate Shape command. Inventor will then optimise the shape based on the Shape Generator Settings. In the below example we have set a material reduction of 30%.

Note that the result now shows the original mass and the new mass based on the optimisation. The resolution of the mesh can also be refined within the Shape Generator settings dialog box.Autodesk Inventor Shape Generator - Optimised Shape

The next stage is to promote the shape to the part modelling environment where you sketch and model a refined and logical shape based on the mesh. The below image shows the promoted mesh over the original Inventor part. Bear in mind that with the affordability of LASER cutting for mass production this form of optimisation becomes a necessity based on higher material costs and customer expectations.

Laser Cutting Mild Steel Plate

Inventor Shape Generator - Sketch Optimal Profiles over mesh

Below is the finished part.

Finished Part

You can then check the new bracket with the original loads and boundary conditions. In this example the bracket now shows a safety factor of 1.1, this could further be refined by changing some of the fillet radii on the profiles.

Inventor Shape Generator - FEA Check.jpg

A very interesting process and surely the future?

LawrenceH