Manufacturing techniques have progressed and it is now possible to print steel components.
This means we can now print spigots and sockets that fit together with minimal clearance, and weld these to conventional columns and beams.
So this technology makes the altCONNECT structure a possibility.
Most structures are subjected to vertical forces due to gravity – self-weight, weight of equipment, and “live” loads – those that come and go. These forces transfer to columns and produce compression.
Then there are horizontal forces – they come from environmental loads like wind and seismic action, and from equipment like belt pull on conveyors. These forces transfer to the ground in two main ways
– through bracing
– through frame sway
and produce bending in beams and columns along with tension (uplift) and compression.
altCONNECT requires “frame sway” to work, so we don’t need or even want bracing. The sway produces bending in the connection, and the friction this causes stops the connection from coming apart. If there’s no bending, then there’s no uplift.
There are numerous possibilities for altCONNECT structures in mining and petroleum plants where on-site costs are huge, but there are also huge possibilities for multi-storey commercial and residential buildings too.