RAM International, Carlsbad, Calif., released RAM Connection June 13. It is designed for engineers working with the company's structural design product, RAM Advanse, who want to design their own connections or who want a tool for shop drawing review. The connection designer can work to AISC, ASD or LRFD standards. It covers complete design and optimization for sheer and moment connections, as well as column and beam splices.

"RAM Connection is a logical extension to allow the engineer to design connections or check shop drawings with very little additional input," says Gus Bergsma, vice president. "We're trying to encompass as much of the engineering process in one platform as possible."

Bergsma says current practice varies from relying on fabricators to design the connections and then check the shop drawings, to calculating forces in one program and then transferring them to another for connection design, to relying on standard designs and tables.

The software includes a customizable connections database through which dozens of design parameters, including weld sizes, materials and lengths, plate dimensions and bolt specifications can be controlled.

A free, self-running demo-CD is available from www.ramint.com. The two products, which include the equally new release of RAM Advanse V.5, are being sold together for $1995.

widely used 2D and 3D finite element analysis and structural design tool has a new add-on sidekick that integrates steel connection design capability from within the same solution.