MATERIAL HANDLING Engineering Newsletter

>MATERIAL HANDLING Engineering Newsletter

MATERIAL HANDLING Engineering Newsletter


A free email series for the material handling industry

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Engineering Newsletter

Hello, and welcome to Eclipse Engineering Inc’s (EEI) monthly newsletter for the material handling industry – brought to you by structural engineering professionals.

In a world where every subcontractor and advertiser is asking for your time, our goal is to provide you with valuable information that will assist in producing code compliant solutions for your material handling needs, no strings attached.

Each month we will cover topics related to different material handling systems such as: mezzanines, work platforms, storage racks, material lifts, etc. Along with the technical information, we will be spotlighting an employee or local event to give you a look into EEI’s culture. Not only is our staff the best in the industry, they might also be a professional musician, athlete, or an engaged community member. Eclipse engineers break the mold and each have an interesting story.

Monthly Topic: Seismic Design Categories

  • What does seismic design category mean?
  • How do different seismic design categories affect my design?
  • Where do I find the seismic design category for my project location?
Being able to answer these questions will help in every phase of your project: from accurately bidding the project to obtaining permits.

What does seismic design category mean?

Seismic Design Categories (SDC) categorizes structures according to the seismic risk they could pose based on its occupancy and on the level of expected soil modified seismic ground motion.

There are six SDCs ranging from a low “A” to a high “F”. As a structure’s potential seismic risk increases, the SDC category increases in conjuncture with strength, detailing requirements, and cost associated with seismic resistance.

This relationship can be expressed as follows:[Occupancy Category] + [Soil Modified Seismic Ground Motion] = SDC

Great, but what does Occupancy Category and Soil Modified Seismic Ground Motion mean?

The occupancy category breaks structures down into different acceptable risk levels. On the following chart, I represents low probability of earthquake-induced collapse, while IV represents low risk of earthquake induced collapse.

The soil modified seismic ground motion is a shaking parameter derived for sites conforming to a reference soil condition. We will cover this in the later section when finding a SDC based on a location.

How do differenct seismic design categories affect my design?

As an engineer, you want to design a safe structure. As an owner/project manager, not only do you want a safe structure, you want your estimate to be right on when it comes time to fabricate.

If the structure is bid to be designed/detailed for the inappropriate SDC, your profit is on the line when a building department requires a change.

SDC in ASCE 7 (recall code talk from last months email) determine the lateral force resisting system (LFRS) that can be used in the structure’s system.

In low SDC any form of lateral resistance is allowed along with none or minimal seismic detailing. As we increase in SDC intensity, lateral resisting system become limited. For example, in SDC A, B, C, ordinary cantilevered columns can be utilized. When the SDC jumps up to D and above, that system is no longer an option, which may change the design to (for example) moment frames.

If the SDC is not considered and a change from cantilevered columns to moment frames is required, this may significantly impact your project and differ from your clients expectations. If the proper SDC and LFRS is accounted for up front, the bid will be more accurate, the design will not see major revisions, and the application for a permit will be smoother.

Different LFRS will be covered in a following monthly newsletter, stay tuned.

Where do I find the SDC for my project?

Luckily in this day and age, there is an application for everything. The U.S. geological Survey (USGS) has created a calculation tool for users like us to obtain seismic design parameters based on our inputs.

If you know the governing code documents that the local building department follows, the site soil classification, and the project coordinates, you can get the SDC and the soil modified seismic ground motion (as mentioned above) parameters instantly!

Similar programs are available for areas outside of the U.S.

Check it out: USGS Design Parameter Tool

Jim Henjum, P.E., S.E.

Employee Spotlight

Originally from Eastern Washington, Jim moved his family to the Flathead Valley in 2001 after Graduating from Gonzaga University and working in Spokane, Washington for 4 years.
In 2010 Jim opened the Branch office for Eclipse Engineering, Inc. For the past 5 years he has managed the branch office which currently employees 4 staff. Jim specializing in a variety of project types from commercial building, high-end custom homes to innovative new building materials like Cross Laminated Timber (CLT).  Over the past few years, the branch office has been focusing on specializing in mezzanine, work platform and vertical lifts design for the material handling industry. The variety of work and meeting clients throughout the Country has been very rewarding.
When not at work, Jim enjoys spending time with his family and the outdoors in the beautiful Flathead Valley, nearby Wilderness, and famous Glacier National Park. Camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, biking or on the water…anything outside.

Jim taking the office hunting in the Bob Marshall Wilderness for a company fun day.

To reach a summit of a mountain, the first step is getting on the right approach. Changing course mid climb may be difficult or impossible.

Your projects are like mountains. The beginning phase (the approach) sets up your success and profit at the end (the summit).

Taking an experienced guide with you on your climb sets the team up for success. The guide will start you in the right direction and get the crew through the crux. 

We at Eclipse Engineering are “experienced guides” in structural design.

We obsess over saving you time and provide peace of mind. When we do that, we positively impact your bottom line. And that’s why we’re here. Your bottom line matters to us. 

Even with the perfect approach, unforeseen issues may arise along your journey. Hopefully it is not a grizzly bear, but it could be a major change from a client. At Eclipse Engineering, we are flexible, and will help you find the best route to your summit.

Eclipse Engineering, Inc

Eclipse Engineering is an international structural engineering firm working out of four office locations in the beautiful northwest corner of the U.S. The firm carries licensure and insurance in all 50 states and 7 Canadian Provinces.

Have a project that you would like Eclipse Engineering’s assistance on? Click the button below to get in touch with a material handling engineering specialist. Schedule a meeting in person, on the phone, or on the chairlift at Whitefish Mountain Resort!


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