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Does Your Business Have an Emergency Plan?
Posted by Tasha Weiss on August 31, 2011 at 10:43 AM.

In light of the recent earthquake and hurricane that shook up the East Coast, businesses may want to evaluate their emergency plans to be prepared for such unpredictable natural events. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, nearly two thirds of businesses report they don’t have any type of emergency plan and small-to-medium-size businesses are the most vulnerable following an emergency. In fact, 40% of businesses affected by a disaster never reopen.


So what can you do to be prepared? The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers a link to the Red Cross Ready Rating Program at (under Important Information). This free assessment tool provides owners with an idea of how prepared their business is and what further steps they should take to be able to adapt, recover and stay in control during and after an emergency.


More tips and information on businesses continuity and crisis management can also be found on the site at

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Autodesk Launches Project Storm for Structural Analysis in the Cloud
Posted by Tom Klemens on August 30, 2011 at 12:30 PM.

Autodesk today launched its Project Storm, which enables Revit Structure users to perform cloud-based structural analysis, for public use. The application is offered online as a Technology Preview through Autodesk Labs. As with other online “labs” offerings, this allows the company to offer fully functional technologies that work with their other products but have not yet been incorporated into a standard commercial package. It also provides an excellent channel for user feedback on usability and applications.


Results of structural analysis in the cloud with Project Storm. Click for larger image.

Using Project Storm, Revit users can perform static analysis on BIM models that is done “in the cloud,” which is to say, not in the local computing environment. In addition to freeing up local computing resources, it also give users the benefit of using the same analysis engine that powers Autodesk’s Robot Structural Analysis Professional 2012. Check it out at, under Technology Previews.


Also, look under It’s Alive in the Lab for commentary from Autodesk’s Scott Sheppard on this and other offerings.


Warning: The are a bunch of other interesting Technology Previews on the list, too, so you may get distracted.

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Summer Manufacturing Camp Draws Girls to Industry
Posted by Tasha Weiss on August 29, 2011 at 11:21 AM.

nbt-logo_4color.jpgDid you know that only about a quarter of the 11.7 million workers in manufacturing are women? These are the latest stats according to an August 19 article in The New York Times. But GADgET Camp (Girls Adventuring in Design Engineering & Technology), a week-long summer workshop for teenage girls sponsored by Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs, The Foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl. (FMA), is working to change that.


The NYT article titled, “At This Girls’ Camp, Crafts Will Require a Drill Press,” highlights the efforts of industry groups such as FMA to introduce young people, particularly girls, to technical and scientific-related career opportunities and help alleviate the skilled labor shortage in manufacturing. At GADgET Camp, girls learn practical tips on using hands-on tools such as a band saw or a drill press, tour materials testing labs and participate in various team building and problem-solving activities.


Read the full article on the NYT website, here.


“This is a positive story about the problem our industry faces and one solution to the issue,” said Pat Lee, public relations director for the FMA. “We have millions of people to reach and every step we take is one step closer to our goal of eliminating a future skilled worker shortage in manufacturing.”


NBT also issues scholarships to students attending community colleges and trade schools pursuing careers in manufacturing. More information on NBT is available by visiting

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Steel Shots: Steel Inspiration
Posted by Tasha Weiss on August 26, 2011 at 8:30 AM.


George Tobolowsky’s Signature Piece is welded steel with lacquer and measures 79 in. x 112 in. x 55 in. It is on display at The Grace Museum in Abilene, Texas. Photo: Mountain Springs Sculpture Studio


Texas sculptor George Tobolowsky creates works of art by combining discarded steel machine fragments and industrial parts with scrap metal he acquires from fabrication plants and scrap yards in the Dallas area. The original shapes of the discarded steel pieces determine the form of each sculpture and guide the artistic possibilities of creating new form from old substance.


“My sculptures are visual memories that reflect my business experiences of the past three decades working in the legal and business world,” Tobolowsky said. “Many have an element of motion.”


Tobolowsky said that half of the steel objects and scrap metal have color that was added to the metal by the fabricators or manufacturers. He rejuvenates and recaptures these colored pieces and integrates them in his sculptures. His sculptures range from table top pieces of about 40 pounds or more, to large outdoor sculptures weighing up to two tons.


Tobolowsky’s Sculpture Studio is located in Mountain Springs, Texas, an hour north of Dallas/Ft. Worth. Visit his website at to learn more about his steel sculpting and view more of his work.


Has Tobolowsky’s work inspired you to get creative using steel? If you’re an AISC full or associate member, join in this year’s SteelDay Sculpture Competition. Enter the contest for a chance to win a trip to the 2012 NASCC: The Steel Conference, where your sculpture will be exhibited and the ultimate winner will be voted on by attendees and awarded a prize. Visit the competition website at for more information. Entries are due by September 16.


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Documentary Series on Rebuilding One World Trade Center
Posted by Tasha Weiss on August 25, 2011 at 9:13 AM.

The first part of the commercial-free documentary Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero airs tonight on the Discovery Channel. Produced by Steven Spielberg, this six-hour special documents the people, process and challenges behind constructing the 104-story One World Trade Center tower. The first three installments premier tonight, August 25, at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time and concludes on Thursday, September 1.


A preview clip of the documentary is available on The Hollywood Reporter website, here. The fourth minute of the video clip shows steel as an integral part of rebuilding Ground Zero.


The six one-hour installments are:
Reclaiming the Skyline, Part 1
Reclaiming the Skyline, Part 2
Stories from the Pile
A New City
A Gateway to New York
A Place to Mourn


The broadcast schedule is available on the Discovery Channel’s website, here.


The steel tower at One World Trade Center is one of four skyscrapers envisioned for the site, as well as a transportation hub, (see yesterday’s news post, here) a museum, and a memorial that is expected to open by the 10th anniversary of the 2001 attacks.


Steel construction at One World Trade Center reached its halfway point on December 16, 2010. For more information and to view the project’s construction progress, visit our previous news post, here.

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Plans Set for WTC’s Oculus
Posted by Tasha Weiss on August 24, 2011 at 9:33 AM.

oculus-exterior.jpgBuckland & Taylor Ltd., Seattle, a member of the COWI Group, will provide erection engineering for the “Oculus” at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York. Skanska Koch Inc., New York, will be the project lead. A complex signature structure designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, the Oculus will include more than 11,000 tons of steel and will rise to 150 ft at its highest point. The project is expected to be completed in 2013.oculus-interior_900.jpg



Renderings courtesy of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

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Early Registration for AISC 2011 Fall Seminar Series
Posted by Tasha Weiss on August 23, 2011 at 1:23 PM.

AISC’s Fall 2011 Louis F. Geschwindner Seminar Series kicks off in September with more than 20 cities and several seminar topics to choose from. Register before September 9 at and you’ll receive a $50 discount.


Enhance your professional development and earn CEUs/PDHs by attending the course that is right for you:



To see a map of all seminar locations go to AISC’s website, here.


Visit for more information on AISC’s Fall Seminar Series, registration and pricing.

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AASHTO Approved Squirters
Posted by Tasha Weiss on August 22, 2011 at 2:09 PM.

AASHTO recently passed a ballot that says Self-Indicating Direct Tension Indicators (Squirter DTIs) are an approved option for indicating when at least the minimum required clamp load has been achieved in structural bolts on steel bridges.


Self-Indicating DTIs will be included in the next revision of AASHTO’s LRFD Bridge Construction Specification making it easier for DOTs, engineers and construction personnel to specify, install and inspect Squirters. It will be available in AASHTO’s bookstore at


Squirter DTIs have been used on steel bridge projects such as Louisiana’s John James Audubon Bridge, North America’s longest cable-stayed bridge.


Applied Bolting has issued a field study by Florida DOT comparing costs of Turn-of-Nut to Squirter DTIs. Read the report on Applied Bolting’s website, here.

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Steel Shots: Serious Anchorage
Posted by Tom Klemens on August 19, 2011 at 9:17 AM.


Anchor plate for one of the numerous cables supporting the Cirque du Soleil’s Grand Chapiteau at the United Center, Chicago. Nobody shows up to look at this, even though that’s what it’s all about - balancing tension and compression, friction and the lack thereof. (Click on the photo to see the anchor plate from a different angle with more context.)



Outside the signature yellow and blue-spiraled Cirque du Soleil tent, it’s all about tension. Witness the hefty stakes and substantial braced plates supplying the anchorage for steel cables supporting the multi-turreted circus tent. Inside, it’s climate-controlled darkness, whisking attendees into a land of fantastic characters, amazing feats of strength, and displays of artistry in motion, all accompanied by ethereal live music.


As the Montreal-based organization has reinvented and elevated the art of the circus over the past two decades, so has it raised the bar for circus tents as well. Its self-contained venue wraps up its summer Chicago encampment this weekend where, since late June, performers have been delighting crowds with “Ovo,” one of Cirque du Soleil’s several touring shows. Next stop: Calgary, opening September 7, then on to Mexico City and Santa Monica, Calif.



 By the way, it takes about 400 of the 5-ft-long stakes to hold up the structure. For more information, including some interesting statistics and a cool video, go to
. Watching the 54-second video of raising the big top isn’t nearly as exciting as the show, but it’s still worth a look. And the show is definitely worth seeing.

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Online Guide Updated to 14th Edition
Posted by Tasha Weiss on August 18, 2011 at 8:34 AM.

The online resource offered by T. Bart Quimby, P.E., Ph.D., has been updated to include “A Beginner’s Guide to the Steel Construction Manual, 14th ed.” The guide introduces many of the key areas in AISC’s 14th Edition Manual that students should become familiar with before venturing into the real world. The new 14th Edition Manual became available for purchase ( on July 1.


Quimby is a professor of civil engineering at the University of Alaska Anchorage and years ago established his website, (“A Beginner’s Guide to Structural Engineering”), as an online repository for 20 years of lecture notes. Among other activities, Quimby served on the rules committee for the ASCE/AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition from 2000 through May, 2011, and continues to maintain the website

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