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Long Established and Trusted, GT STRUDL Delivers Next-generation Performance

This is not your father’s GT STRUDL.

It’s true that GT STRUDL has been around for 46 years and is one of the most trusted names in general purpose structural analysis. But that doesn’t mean it has rested on its reputation.

Since its inception, GT STRUDL has enabled engineers to design structural components or structural systems, relieving them of the burden of performing the analysis calculations and code checking required for most structures.

But we’ve spent the last five years investing heavily in improving the software so that it’s as easy to use as any other tool on the market today. It’s now a fully up-to-date solution, with multi-core, hyper-threaded, 64-bit functionality that takes full advantage of modern computing environments. So while it continues to offer the same powerful levels of analysis, it offers more value and benefit to engineers by enabling them to work in the way that best suits their methods.

It now makes dealing with complicated multi-stage projects a much less daunting task, while handling day-to-day activities is far more simple; there’s no need to switch between structural tools based on your project requirements.

That’s a significant advantage because engineers are able to become more efficient by using a single tool for their needs. By avoiding switching between software packages and the knowledge required to operate each one, work becomes far more efficient and more productive.

Let’s explore the reasons why GT STRUDL is better than ever.

It’s a trusted solution
It’s best to start with something that hasn’t changed at all. Since day one, engineers have known they can trust GT STRUDL to deliver the right answers, fast.

Because GT STRUDL is a general-purpose tool, performing both beam analysis and finite element analysis (FEA), it can be a cost-saver and efficiency driver. Rather than having multiple tools for a project or workflow, engineers can use just one. That reduces the overall cost, because you don’t need to buy several programs. IT maintenance is reduced, while having a single vendor makes purchasing easier.

Developed with a proud academic heritage (‘GT’ comes from Georgia Tech, the university that originally developed the program; ‘STRUDL’ comes from Structural Design Language, the programming language created by MIT in 1969 for structural analysis), this proven heritage brings two compelling benefits.

First, engineers know they’re not going to get wrong answers. GT STRUDL has been working reliably and effectively for decades. It isn’t software that lets users down suddenly with calculation errors.

Second, it isn’t a ‘black box’ program where inputs go in and results come out without accountability. If required, users can see exactly how GT STRUDL handles their input data and how it is processed. Decades of use and development means comprehensive, detailed documentation sits behind it – 33 volumes, equivalent to 14,000 pages – making it incredibly transparent. If you ever wonder “what is this software doing with my data?”, the answer is available. As the processing methods and decisions are available for interrogation, this provides engineers exceptional reassurance in the results they receive.

It’s easy to use
Previous generations of GT STRUDL users will testify that it was the go-to tool if a preferred software wasn’t up to the task. It was what you pulled out to do the job for tough projects. They might also add that it has a reputation as one of the fastest and most accurate solvers in the industry. They might have been less likely to tell you it’s easy to use, but now it is.

There was a time when the trade-off for its powerful performance was a more complex workflow, but that’s no longer an acceptable compromise. We’ve worked hard to make the software easier to use, allowing engineers to work the way that they want to work – in a way that’s appropriate for their project or their personal preferences.

You don’t need to jump between interfaces; you just pick the one you want, build your model and apply the loads. Datasheets are presented in a similar style to Excel spreadsheets, so you can view data and results in a familiar format. Automatically generated loads can be applied graphically to the structure, which is a big time-saver for engineers.

If you’re a long-time GT STRUDL user who prefers the familiar, old-school approach of typing in commands, that approach hasn’t been taken away. We’ve just supplemented it with an improved graphical user interface and new CAD interface.

It’s incredibly flexible
GT STRUDL allows great flexibility in the way engineers work. It can be applied to everything from fabric structures to nuclear power station design. Any structure, made of any material, can be analyzed.

It allows standardization, whether it’s to implement company standards, or to implement project standards. This means if you’re working in a single location, where some factors never change – for example wind loads, load combinations or earthquake loads – you can create a standard template to run every time. Not only is this more efficient, but it removes a lot of tedious, time-consuming administrative work, as you only have to create a template once.

When it comes to customization, GT STRUDL operates like an application programming interface (API), so you don’t have to be an experienced programmer – you just have to understand the well-known STRUDL input language. This means you can easily create tools and data interoperability.

In addition, there are model wizards built into the software. Essentially parametric model builders, these tools help engineers build very complex models in seconds, whether it’s an FEA model of a tank, a simple beam, truss, or frame or a space frame analysis.

It has interoperability
One of the core strengths of GT STRUDL is that it has data interoperability with our CAD packages and with many other modeling packages.

The CAD modeler tool allows engineers to run their structural engineering program inside a CAD environment. It enables them to build complex structures leveraging CAD tools rather than calculate the geometry using a spreadsheet; they can assign loads and perform the analysis all within CAD. That’s of immense value, especially for college graduates who are used to working almost exclusively in CAD environments.

GT STRUDL is natively interoperable with Intergraph Smart solutions, CAESAR II and CADWorx Structure, so structural data-rich models created outside of GT STRUDL can fully leverage its power. It is also interoperable with third-party solutions through CIS/2 and GTI files, so it reduces duplication of effort, saving time and ensuring data accuracy. Additionally, we’ve partnered with companies like Dimensional Solutions, whose Mat 3D program can read the support reactions directly from GT STRUDL, enabling the design of rigid foundation elements.

It’s the only solution you need
GT STRUDL has come a long way since its origins at the dawn of the computer age. The power it possesses to analyze structural components and systems has increased along with the development of computing technology, while it retains the accurate reliability it is known for.

But your father – or indeed the last generation of engineers – would still recognize the trusted tool they used for the difficult occasions. But they’d be pleasantly surprised to learn that it’s now flexible and simple enough for all those other occasions, too. It remains the only structural analysis tool you’ll ever need.

About the Author

With over 15 years of experience in training, construction management, vibration, and acoustical engineering and structural engineering, Geoff has real insight into customer pain points and how CADWorx & Analysis Solutions can improve workflow, design and analysis.

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