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B+Op: The Great Optimizer

B+Op (bäp) noun 1 An acronym for Bolt Optimization pioneered by Qnect.
verb 1 The action of optimizing a structural model through improving efficiency without sacrificing a project’s safety and integrity.

In an increasingly competitive world, it’s essential for fabricators, detailers and EORs to utilize tools that allow them to work faster, lower costs and accelerate revisions. Thankfully, Qnect is answering that call with B+Op. It’s not a chemical or algebraic formula. B+Op is simply an acronym for Bolt Optimization. B+Op includes a combination of bolt, plate, angle, weld and labor optimization for each engineered joint in a steel structure.

QuickQnect users, such as Julien Locus, Program Manager with fabricator Metal Perreault, lauds bolt optimization for its ability to “maximize efficiency while maintaining required engineering limit states.”

By narrowing the scope of each connection design to just one connection, bolt optimization ensures that each connection is just that – optimized.

For decades, standard vertical bolt spacing has been a consistent 3 inches between bolts. This consistency was important to maintain quality control and conformance. As CNC equipment became more sophisticated and easier to manufacture the practice of 3 inch spacing didn’t evolve at the same rate as the CNC equipment. And for connections, there is only a T/2 requirement that must be met in order to satisfy the AISC code. As long as T/2 is satisfied, and the instantaneous center of rotation and all limit states are satisfied, then 3 inches is not required.

Not surprisingly, “B+Op” is a big help to fabricators looking to optimize their connections. “Fabricators in particular benefit greatly from bolt optimization,” Locus says, “the way it saves both time and money makes it a must for all projects.”

But it’s not just fabricators who benefit from bolt optimization. Erleen Hatfield, formerly of BuroHappold and Thornton Tomasetti, explains that “engineers who design connections also benefit, because B+Op gives them the ability to quickly study different connection variations. Ultimately, the General Contractor or Owner can be the primary beneficiary, as B+Op saves substantial costs to a project.”

QuickQnect user Michael Nelson of Meyer Borgman Johnson, succinctly breaks it down like this: “Bolt optimization allows each connection to be uniquely designed to suit its exact condition. The alternative, more typical practice, of using standardized details has an intrinsic conservatism in that it tries to cover as many different conditions as possible. By narrowing the scope of each connection design to just one connection, bolt optimization ensures that each connection is just that – optimized.”

As Chief Drafter at Canam Group, Line Cusson understands the power of B+Op, perhaps putting it best that “there is really no reason not to be using bolt optimization, nor do I think there is a project that wouldn’t benefit from it.”

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