Since the introduction of strength design for post-installed anchors in IBC 2000, determining the designed capacity of anchors has become increasingly complex. Dozens of variables, such as geometry, concrete conditions, and the specific properties of different anchor types, make a quick, straightforward comparison of design options almost impossible. Leaving behind printed tables and digital spreadsheets, many manufacturers now offer software to simplify anchor design and provide design feedback in real time. Simpson Strong-Tie offers Anchor Designer software to specifiers as a free, intuitive design tool that streamlines the anchor design process.
Historically, anchors were designed using Allowable Stress Design, which allowed specifiers to design connections using load tables and reduction factors. Manufacturers provided tabulated anchor capacities based on ultimate failures of the anchoring system, and a reasonable safety factor was applied to help account for differences from one project to another. Reduction factors were applied to the allowable load capacities based on spacing and edge distance, and designers could determine the capacity of an anchor design within a few minutes. Engineers could quickly use pencil, paper, and calculator to formulate a package, then call it a day.
Industry research over the years showed there are seven different failure modes for anchors in concrete (eight including considerations for combined loading). It was also determined that a design capacity could be calculated for each failure mode. While the adoption of a strength design approach led to new insights about anchor design, it presented designers with the cumbersome responsibility of determining anchor capacity by separately hand-calculating each failure mode. Designers created sophisticated spreadsheets to help reduce the time it took to calculate an anchor design. The first iterations of manufacturer software were essentially spreadsheets with simple graphics showing the definition of variables. Software now offers designers the ability to input their design parameters and visualize the design in 3D.
The recent release of Simpson Strong-Tie Anchor Designer v3.0 improves the concrete anchor design process in three important ways.
- Simplifying design input. Anchor Designer breaks up input variables into categories defined by base material, geometry, loading conditions and product selection. The software also offers detailed pop-up messages if a user hovers the mouse over a variable that may need further explanation. The graphic interface in the 3D-Model Pane allows users to input geometry and loading parameters in an easy, adjustable way.Anchor Designer v3.0 provides the new ability to input customized anchor patterns. This lets users place anchors anywhere within a baseplate, allowing more customized solutions for unique project applications.
- Verifying all possible solutions. If a user has a set of design parameters but doesn’t have a specific anchor product in mind, Anchor Designer allows the user to calculate all possible anchor solutions simultaneously. The Multi Design feature in Anchor Designer takes all base material, geometry, and loading condition parameters and shows users which anchor products will satisfy the design requirements. This enhancement saves users from spending time performing multiple calculations, one after the other, to evaluate their suitable anchoring options.
Anchor Designer v3.0 includes links to tutorial videos, specification and general note language, plus related design tools (e.g., Rebar Development Length Calculator). Altogether, this powerful software can save specifiers a significant amount of time calculating anchor designs for projects. Most important, Anchor Designer v3.0 gives users peace of mind, knowing they are designing with reliable software that utilizes the latest design code provisions and the most current product test data.
Simpson Strong-Tie Anchor Designer v3.0 is available now to download online, free of charge. The new version requires a new download and installation because it is designed on an updated software platform. For more information, visit strongtie.com, call (800) 999-5099, or contact your local Simpson Strong-Tie representative.