Instrumentation to Aid in Steel Bridge Fabrication: Bridge Virtual Assembly System

Report No: 18-R23

Published in 2018

About the report:

This pool funded project developed a Bridge Virtual Assembly System (BRIDGE VAS) that improves manufacturing processes and enhances quality control for steel bridge fabrication. The system replaces conventional match-drilling with virtual assembly methods, creating custom-designed splice plates. Vastly improved measurement and documentation of fabricated girders are possible with the system.

This report describes these improved measurements in detail and compares them to conventional measurement methods, including a detailed analysis of the accuracy limitations of current methods. An assessment of current fabrication processes was conducted and is presented. Based on this assessment, the measurement system was designed and tested; the design features and a system description are provided in this report. The system was deployed on a production bridge job, representing the first-time entire lines of girders have been measured with such precision and accuracy and the first-time virtual assembly has ever been demonstrated. The report describes measurements for this bridge job and provides recommendations for use of the system.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

  • Paul A. Fuchs, Ph.D., Steven B. Chase, Ph.D.

Last updated: November 11, 2023

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