Technology Tools Enabling Seismic Qualification of Equipment for Essential Building Applications

This presentation was made at CAASE18, The Conference on Advancing Analysis & Simulation in Engineering. CAASE18 brought together the leading visionaries, developers, and practitioners of CAE-related technologies in an open forum, to share experiences, discuss relevant trends, discover common themes, and explore future issues.

Resource Abstract

Seismic conformance for essential building applications is a mandatory requirement to sell electrical and mechanical equipment into North American markets. The building codes used in the United States and Canada specify earthquake demands in terms of ground motion hazard maps. Seismic testing of electrical and mechanical equipment is required to satisfy building code compliance expectations. Thus, seismic conformance is a matter of validating equipment seismic capacity exceeds the ground motion demand at the location of equipment installation. This seemingly straightforward concept is fraught with technical complexities. Building code earthquake requirements have matured and today are highly sophisticated. Earthquake demands are defined as a function of latitude/longitude coordinates, geotechnical site classifications, response spectrum parameters and floor spectrum transformations. This requires geocode database lookups, interpolations, spectrum manipulations and validation checks. Equipment seismic capacity involves product line rationalization to identify the right test candidates that can be tested to qualify highly variable product platforms. Addressing the technical challenges involved in modern day seismic qualification requires specialized subject matter expert (SME) knowledge that is not readily available within most equipment manufacturers. The goal of this paper is to describe earthquake engineering technology enablers that can capture and democratize SME knowledge and disseminate it to the non-specialist.

There are three seismic qualification process elements that can greatly benefit from employing technology tools. On the front end is test data management and product line capacity management and on the back end is product order compliance validation. Each process step requires SME expertise to ensure seismic conformance is being met. By leveraging web technology, each step can be streamlined and automated to support widespread usage by the non-specialist, thus permanently capturing SME knowledge while driving down engineering overhead cost.

The development of custom software is the traditional approach for creating targeted web technology. This approach can be used to address specific earthquake engineering process algorithms. However, custom software development is expensive and requires continued maintenance by software professionals. This implementation model is not conducive when product design teams need to “own the technology.” A better solution is to use a commercial software approach to web tool development, such that design engineers can develop and maintain the applications without the overhead of IT and software coders. The approach described in this paper utilizes the later method by leveraging the capabilities of EASA Software in conjunction with embedding earthquake engineering SME knowledge. The result is a set of highly specialized engineering web tools that are maintained by product engineers and not software or IT professionals. The net result is increased efficiency, decreased overhead cost, SME knowledge capture and 100% assurance of attaining compliance with building code earthquake requirements for equipment orders in the United States and Canada.

EASA is a codeless application development platform that enables authoring and deployment of web applications which can drive underlying process algorithms. Three EASA applications are described herein that support execution of the three seismic qualification process steps defined above: test data management, product line capacity management and equipment order validation.

Document Details

AuthorGatscher. J
Date 5th June 2018
OrganisationSchneider Electric North America


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