Fabrication error Indexed eXamples and Solutions (FIXS)
Project Award Date: 05-16-2000
During the fabrication of steel bridges, errors occur. These errors need to be recognized and corrected properly and efficiently according to each situation. To arrive at the best possible solutions, engineers need not only knowledge of material and fabrication specifications, but also experience and good understanding of the practical limitations faced by fabricators. This expertise is currently scattered and varies among both individuals and departments of transportation (DOTs). A database of corrective actions can provide guidance to bridge engineers and improve engineers' confidence in non-textbook solutions to unusual, but not unique, problems. When a sharable and well-reasoned repair database is used by several state DOTs, the database can lead to standardized solution procedures. This would expedite bridge fabrication and should reduce fabrication costs, which could result in a reduction of costs passed back to the DOTs.
A research project at the University of Kansas has developed a fabrication repair database. The repair database software, Fabrication error Indexed eXamples and Solutions (FIXS), examines fabrication errors of steel bridge members when detected in the plant and recommends corrective action. FIXS provides solutions and examples to steel bridge fabrication errors with graphical and instructive explanations based on both rule-based and case-based reasoning. The completed research project was jointly funded by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) under the Kansas Transportation Research and New Developments Program (K-TRAN), the Federal Highway Administration under the Mid America Transportation Center (MATC), and the American Institute of Steel Construction under the National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA). Results of this project were presented at meetings of the AASHTO/NSBA Steel Bridge Collaboration.
The current pooled-funds study will expand the benefits of the successful FIXS project by making its results widely available and enhancing the repair database. This will be accomplished through various stages. First, a version of FIXS will be developed that is easily available to multiple DOTs via the World Wide Web and accommodates information sharing. Needed information will be gathered from DOTs and fabricators to enhance the repair database. A tutorial will be produced introducing bridge engineers to issues necessary for good resolution of fabrication error situations, including examples of options to avoid. National Steel Bridge Collaboration members will be contacted to review the knowledge base contents and later to evaluate performance of the revised FIXS. Materials will be compiled to teach use of the revised FIXS system, and with continued Web site maintenance. Results of evaluation of the revised FIXS will be used to make recommendations for ways DOTs and fabricators can make mutually beneficial changes to avoid or resolve common fabrication errors. Feasibility of application of the developed technology to other applications in bridge engineering will be investigated and reported.
This work should facilitate better and less costly fabrication of highway bridges to meet the needs of the driving public.
Faculty Investigator(s): Kim Roddis (PI)
Primary Sponsor(s): Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT)