It is a quandary that every engineer will have encountered at some point. Just how do you ensure strong, safe and reliable anchoring to a variety of masonry base materials, such as hollow block or natural stone? Now, a leading specialist software package – which is free to download – has been enhanced to assist engineers in obtaining the best possible solution to this tough question.
‘PROFIS Anchor’, which has been specifically developed by Hilti to help engineers make the necessary calculations and select the anchors required for applications using base plates in all shapes and sizes, now covers masonry applications.
The technical data on which PROFIS Anchor is based on the latest design methods as well as national and international approvals, such as the European Technical Approval Guidelines (ETAG), the American Concrete Institute (ACI) or those developed by the International Code Council (ICC). Consequently, it exceeds the requirements that the most up-to-date anchor design software should fulfil.
Dennis Markey, marketing and operations manager at Hilti Ireland, said: “This is the first time that software like this has been available to engineers working with masonry – and this is what makes it so important. Engineers have been telling us for years just what a difficult issue it is to anchor into masonry base materials. They challenged us to find the best possible solutions and it was up to us to respond.
"In short, the PROFIS Anchor software enables engineers to overcome the problems linked to anchoring into masonry by using the most current data available presented to them in an easy-to-use format,” said Markey.
The free software comes with an interactive 3D interface feature that is intended to help engineers cut unnecessary steps and save valuable time by allowing them to input measurements directly. "A professional report highlights key calculation steps and records all input parameters and on-site anchor test results,” continued Paul Campbell, key project engineer at Hilti.
"For those engineers who are unsure of the brick material that they might encounter – or other factors that might influence the anchoring – the software comes with the facility to use a 'basic' module. But if it's suspected that the masonry fixings could be even more challenging, then PROFIS also comes with an 'advanced' option,” Campbell continued.
"This allows engineers to input detail about the actual site conditions, adjust information about brick type, dimensions, layout as well as fixing positions to ensure that the best possible anchoring solution is proposed.”
“The technical data incorporated into the software enables users to choose from the widest possible array of bricks and different scenarios, according to the key project engineer. “A clever but important design feature is that the software not only calculates the pullout of the anchor, but also of the actual brick itself depending on the mortar joint and building method used,” he continued.
Of course, the software cannot accommodate every single eventuality, and Hilti can provide additional services, such as jobsite testing, to obtain data that can then be used in the software to produce calculations and recommend a fixing solution into masonry.
Within the construction sector, ETAG 029 is regarded to be the definitive standard for post-installed anchors in masonry. In addition to resistance values, the standard guarantees that the anchor will remain stable through time when subjected to wet or dry conditions, creep and change in temperature – among other factors.
PROFIS Anchor's design functionalities are based on the latest masonry codes according to ETAG 029 and the software's test module calculates fixing resistance based on actual test results. Markey added: "PROFIS Anchor’s users also benefit from our comprehensive technical experience in the field of anchor fastening as the software provides access to Hilti's complete range of products and solutions. This makes selection of the appropriate anchor extremely quick and easy while also ensuring the greater reliability of the final result.”
Brian Coyle, consulting engineer at Coyle Kennedy Consulting Engineers, welcomed the development. “Specifying anchor fixings in masonry has always been difficult, so much so that most consultants steer clear of such work wherever possible, “ he said. “A software solution that considers various brick and block types and strengths is what consulting engineers need to provide certainty to specifications.”
Earlier this year, Hilti also launched the HIT-HY 270 injection mortar to ensure the strongest, safest and most reliable anchoring possible in masonry. Like the enhanced PROFIS Anchor software, Hilti's latest anchoring innovation was in response to engineers’ requests to provide easily-installed fastenings in the widest possible variety of masonry base materials.
The product comes with a European Technical Approval for use in hollow and solid masonry. Suitable for indoor and outdoor applications in dry or wet hole conditions, the product’s all-weather attributes enable it to be used in temperatures between -5°C and 40°C – or between +5°C to 40°C for solid brick.
"The HIT-HY 270 mortar has been designed to work across a number of applications that engineers encounter – particularly in refurbishment and renovation projects – and have previously found troublesome,” said Markey. “These include fastenings in hollow and solid masonry, facade tie-backs to masonry structural walls and structural strengthening of old masonry walls.
“It’s also suitable for the heavy bracing of items such as sun shades on insulated material or glass balustrade assemblies. The HIY-HY 270 mortar, as well as the PROFIS Anchor software, has been developed to provide engineers with peace of mind. Both have been created to ensure that the job done gets done in the most appropriate way possible.”
Hilti operates a direct sales model with more than 30 account managers and engineers in Ireland, as well as Hilti Centres in Dublin, Cork and Belfast.
To download the free PROFIS Anchor software, please click here.