HISTORY The original 1994 patented design for the SidePlate™ connection was mostly fillet welds but did still require a full penetration field weld, albeit an easier weld than the typical beam to column weld. Although most of the welding was done in the shop, it was still quite labor intensive in the field and required continuous special inspection for the full penetration weld. In the late-2000's, however, the connection was revamped and in 2009 a fully fillet welded version debuted that further reduced time and labor cost and made the connection really appealing for the fabricators.
The design for this new welded version targeted both the high seismic (R>3) and low seismic (R=3) applications. Much like its other patented seismic connection cousins, the high seismic version had extensive requirements for detailing and protected zones, albeit not quite as particular as most others.
However, the low seismic (R=3) version had national appeal. There are plenty of buildings and owners that would like to have the planning freedom moment frame construction offers and now they had an affordable solution. The low seismic SidePlate provides a very cost effective alternative to a traditional full penetration welded connection in the field.
HIGH SEISMIC WELDED VERSION R=8 Here's an image of the high seismic, R=8, version from our models. You can also download a 3D PDF version here.
You can see we added some red (transparent) zones to the connection for our models. Those are the protected zones for the connection - nothing is allowed to be attached to the members in those locations (they are not real plates). This gives us great visual context for the plate elements and gives us opportunities to find conflicts before they get in the field. The orange elements are the shop and field fillet welds.
LOW SEISMIC WELDED VERSION R=3
This is the low seismic R=3 welded version. It is basically the same connection however it does not have the strict requirements for the protected zones and has fewer detailing requirements. You can download a 3D PDF version here.
It's obvious there isn't much in either of these connections that would cause an interference. However, there are other benefits we get by including these connections in our models. We'll discuss that in a later email.
If you missed our previous email about the SidePlate connection, you can find it on our News and Links page in the Structural 101 section.