Concrete Structure, RC, Reinforcing Steel, Robot Structural, Steel Reinforcement, Steel Structures -

What is the typical Workflow in Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional?

Migrating to a new software, even when we are somehow used to work with one already, could be quite challenging, specially for a so complex and delicate subject such as the analysis of structures.  As there is so many questions in matter of what the software could or not do, or even if using it in the first place is just a mistake.

Sometimes this may be so distressing that will prevent many professional from looking for better more innovative and powerful tools, as they may feel safer using old fashion applications or even methods that kinda do the job.

But believing that in the always changing world of technology and software nothing ever gets better or improved...that is the biggest mistake. Talking specifically about structural analysis software, there have been many improvements, as software has become more powerful, flexible, precise and efficient.

One of these software is Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional, which while being relatively new in the game of structural engineering and analysis, have surpassed many of the already known and somehow typical programs such as CSI SAP2000 or STAAD.Pro.

However and in comparison with to those two, it has been not so widely used across companies and professionals, since the above described dynamic is always in place.

So for those still undecided on moving to Autodesk RSA, or just need to have better understanding of the program before making an important decision, we would like to offer a quick description of the main steps that will lead us to perform the analysis of a simple structure in Autodesk RSA.


Analyzing a Structural Model in just a few minutes.

For getting an overview of an analysis in Autodesk RSA, let's approach the simple but yet typical case of  a reinforced concrete frame integrated by just two columns and a beam.

This particular frame, and besides being affected by its dead load, should bear both a live load uniformly distributed and a punctual load on either side.

It's what we could call a simple chalkboard example.

Within Robot we simply generate the Analytical Model, specifying the columns as 30x30cm sections, separated at 5m and the beams in two levels at 3m height from each other and defined as 20x30cm sections.

So far this is just a 2D Drawing to a which we will assign a couple of fixed supports.

If at this point we run the Static Analysis of this simple model, the program will automatically determine the dead load of the structure, giving us as well the reactions on the supports.

Until now we have nothing to complicated. So let's try to assign a live load. Let's say of 3kN/m. Namely, 300kg. The program will do this at ease and even applying a punctual load it is something that any structural analysis software can perform.

We could even obtain a combination from these loads and obtain the corresponding shear and bending moment diagrams.

In any case, all this has taken just a few seconds of our time.  Even requesting the deformation graphs or assigning lateral loads is matter of just a couple clicks. The program will give us the values for displacements and deformations and obviously, exaggerate these results by using a scale factor so we can take easier note of them.

You could separate each load cases for a better analysis or make them work together if you prefer.

From just these results you could decide to keep the current sections, or quickly begin to test some others; that is why we call Autodesk RSA an emulation software.

If we choose to keep the first proposed sections, we could easily move on and request the program to design the reinforcement steel for us.

This is as simple as choosing the bars, the load cases or combinations and run once more the Static Analysis of the model.

And if during this analysis something is incorrect , the program will let us know the error and stop the calculation, otherwise we could just continue.

The program will also give us a table of bars and columns in to propose the type of diameters we should use for the horizontal and vertical reinforcement.

And as you can tell from the image below this is quite detailed, as it divides the clears in several parts, hence allowing us to infer the position of each proposed bars.

Although so far, we could compare these features to those present in more traditional programs such as CSI SAP2000 or STAAD.Pro. But the really amazing thing about Autodesk RSA comes next...

We can ask Robot to automatically design the reinforcing steel for us in both beams and columns.

A set of settings permit us to review the sections, design parameters for the reinforcing steel according to the ACI 318-14 code and even the transversal steel for providing it with a seismic-resistant design; according to the needed regional and country regulations.

This is task in which an experienced structural engineer may intervene for adjusting each of those parameters. But where is also possible to keep the defaults values and quickly obtain the reinforcement steel design.

You can certainly request directly the reinforcement design.  But the most orthodox is to adjust all the series of parameters, which goes from the ACI-318 design code, to the construction regulations from your specific country and region; Autodesk RSA posses design codes and databases from all around the world!

You may adjust the type, qualities, coatings and arrows in the concrete beams, as well as the detail of hooks and stirrups in the reinforcing steel, among many other parameters.

Furthermore, the exposure to fire and seismic resistance may also be calculated.

In each of those cases the program will generate a series of warnings in case the given specifications are incorrect.

And these results could also be observed through detailed diagrams displaying critical and adjustment values for each of the load combinations.

And which include beams, columns, slabs and panels.

In each instance we will have access to the Calculation Note, highly detailed and from which we could conclude if certain adjustments need to be performed.

Furthermore, this calculation note will highlight each error in a red color, including caution notes and safety coefficients.

Even so, it's always possible to perform adjustments in the reinforcement, placing additional reinforcements or specifying hooks according to our own criteria.

Finally, when the structure has been verified and there is no error note or warning from the program, we could request Robot to print out the respective detail drawings and calculation note, thus obtaining the adequate project's documentation.

All these steps may be performed in less than 10 minutes!


For more information about this software and how to apply it to real world projects visit: