Q1 2018
SidePlate's 2018 Outlook

By Henry Gallart, PE, SE
President & CEO
SidePlate Systems, Inc.  

I would like to take a brief moment to thank so many of you for helping make 2017 another record-setting year at SidePlate!  We're listening to your feedback and continue to innovate and test new steel connection configurations for applications in existing and new markets, as well as create new software tools that are making life easier for structural engineers, steel detailers, fabricators, and erectors. 

Looking forward, based on numerous reliable sources, the economic forecast looks generally strong for the US building marketplace in 2018 with some regions being a little stronger than others.  We are definitely experiencing this already with a very busy start to the first quarter of the year.

In order to keep up with the growing demands on our client's precious resources and to give you the ability to do more with less, we're working hard in two specific areas this year:

1) to significantly reduce the steel fabricator's estimating time and improve the accuracy of these estimates in order for you to bid and win more projects, and,

2) to significantly reduce the steel detailer's time to detail the lateral load resisting system, as well as shorten the shop drawing review and approval process, all with the goal of getting steel into the shop faster than is traditionally done.

If this message is intriguing to you, please reach out to your local SidePlate representative and let's discuss how we can help improve your 2018 bottom line.  
In This Issue
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--Booth 1003

New SidePlate Website is Launched

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new website and integrated client portal.  The goal of this redesign was to improve the availability, functionality, and ease-of-use of SidePlate's customer experience platform.
There have been over 350 new SidePlate projects in the past 5 years, and, as we've grown so quickly, we've struggled to keep our clients updated on all the new things going on. Our new website helps fill that need with easy-to-access tools, resources, and knowledge to support our more than 500 engineering and steel fabrication clients.

Those engaged with SidePlate on specific projects can access info using the Software button on the top right of each page, as well as visit the Projects section to learn about other similar  projects we've worked on. The Resources section has a wealth of information organized by client type and answers most FAQs. In the Culture section, prospective team members can learn more about SidePlate's People First-based culture, commitment to employee development/mentoring, and the company's strong community involvement. 

Check it out at
Resiliency Concepts Getting More Attention
Images of recent storms and wildfires. Photo credit: Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos/Puerto Rico National Guard (flooding); Jeff Head/Flickr (fire); Carlos Giusti/Associated Press (power lines).
Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos/Puerto Rico National Guard (flooding); Jeff Head/Flickr (fire); Carlos Giusti/Associated Press (power lines)

Last year's severe weather and the threat of unpredictable future events are causing lawmakers, engineers, and urban planners to wrestle with what it means to build more "resilient" structures. The National Institute of Building Science (NIBS) latest estimate indicates that every $1 invested in up-front damage mitigation can save the country up to $6 in recovery costs. Interesting article (click photo or here) from last month that discusses the varying views on how the industry moves forward to more resilient buildings. SidePlate has been at the forefront of this thinking and is proud to be a founding member of the United States Resiliency Council.
Innovation Update

SidePlate Field-bolted SMF Connection Full-scale Testing

Behzad Rafezy, PhD
Director of Research and Development
SidePlate Systems, Inc

Ongoing research and development that strengthens structural steel designs is a core value at SidePlate. We recently successfully completed a full-scale testing program of our latest innovative special moment frame (SMF) connection, namely the SidePlate Field-Bolted SMF Connection, at the Charles Lee Powell Laboratories at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The connection requires only field bolting that results in more economical designs, faster field erection, and larger energy dissipation capacity than our field fillet-welded connection. The connection utilizes the SidePlate load transfer technology by means of beam hinging mechanism.

Figure 1:  SidePlate Bolted SMF Configurations
          (a) Standard Configuration               (b) Narrow Configuration

Testing Schedule

A total of seven (7) full-scale specimens were tested, with beams ranging from 21" to 44" deep and weights ranging from 73 to 400 lbs/ft. We also tested bolt sizes ranging from 1-1/8" to 1-1/2". All rolled shapes were specified as ASTM A992 steel for wide flange sections and ASTM A500 Grade C for hollow structural sections (HSS). All plates and angles were specified as ASTM A572 Gr. 50, and bolts were specified as A490-X bolts.

Loading Protocol

The loading sequence for the beam-to-column moment connection tested is defined in Chapter K of the AISC-341 (Seismic Provisions). Loading starts at 6 cycles at 0.00375, 0.005, 0.0075 rad. story drift, followed by 4 cycles at 0.01 rad. story drift, then 2 cycles each at 0.015, 0.02, 0.03, 0.04 rad., etc. until the specimen has failed. In order to qualify as a SMF connection per AISC-341, the connection must complete at least one cycle at 4% (0.04 rad.) drift while maintaining 80% of the nominal flexural moment capacity (0.8Mpn)  of the beam. However, California's Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) has a much more stringent qualification limit with 2 full-cycles at 3% inelastic story drift capacity. Since much of our work is in California, our testing is aimed to meet the OSHPD criteria, which is above and beyond the AISC criteria.

Test Results

The following table summarizes the performances of all test specimens. All connections completed at least 2 cycles at 6% drift (well beyond AISC and OSHPD requirements), and Test H1 completed 2 complete cycles at 8% drift. The average drift for all specimens was about 7% drift. Additionally, all connections completed at least 2 cycles at 5% inelastic story drift, and Test H1 completed 2 complete cycles at 7.2% inelastic drift. The average inelastic drift for all specimens was about 6% plastic drift. Again, all test specimens exceeded the AISC-341 requirement of 4% total story drift and OSHPD's 3% inelastic story drift by a large margin. 

Design Considerations

The recently developed field-bolted SMF connection ensures smooth and balanced transition of the stress from the beam to the cover plates via four fillet welds parallel to the direction of the load with the appropriate weld hold backs. Having 4 line (welds) of load transfer reduces the triaxial stress at the edge of the beam flanges. According to AISC-360, welds with the axis parallel to the direction of load provides the highest possible ductility in the connection, which is one of the main characteristics of the SidePlate connection.  SidePlate connections withstand inelastic deformation primarily through controlled yielding by strengthening the connection and forcing the plastic hinge to form in the beam region that has less complicated behavior and a low triaxial stress state, making our connections much more robust and predictable.


Seven full-scale, special moment frame connection specimens were fabricated and tested at the University of California, San Diego. The average performance of the connection was 7% total story drift with a minimum of 2 full cycles at 6% story drift exceeding AISC-341 and OSHPD's requirements by a large margin. 
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