Access Robot Structural Analysis Model Data and Results with Excel


By Tomasz Fudala

Knowing how to use Microsoft® Office Excel® is one of the essential skills and important tools for structural engineers when designing structures. At the end of the day, engineers rely on the calculation engines they use, so Excel is a great way to ‘gut check’ the output from their analysis and design solutions and to perform ad-hoc calculations more quickly.

Results Connect is an application that allows structural designers and engineers using Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis to seamlessly access data and results with Microsoft® Office Excel® spreadsheets using simple formulas.

Results Connect can be downloaded from Autodesk AppStore. It does not require programing skills or knowledge of the Robot Structural Analysis API to extract data for use in spreadsheets.

Using simple formulas available in Excel, this tool allows you to obtain key information about a structural model defined for your project.

With Results Connect, you can seamlessly access and centralize your spreadsheet calculations into your analysis models, such as:

  • values of forces for all bars or elements,
  • values ​​of nodal displacements,
  • information like section properties, material properties etc.

You can also use formulas and Microsoft Excel tools to create a data table for structural elements from the project, and display this data as line graphs, histograms, and charts.

Let’s take a look at how you can define formulas. There are four ways to do this.

1. Formula wizard

Insert a formula by using the Formula wizard dialog.

You can access it from the Ribbon by clicking:
Results Connect tab  -> Formula definition panel ->   Formula wizard.

Each formula takes as arguments a set of parameters that can be written directly inside the formula. These parameters can come from specific cells or from an active selection within Robot Structural Analysis.

2. Insert selected formula

You can specify the following settings by using the selection drop-down list available on the Ribbon:

  • provider – specify a provider (program) from which information or results will be downloaded from.
  • category – specify a category for formulas or select ALL to view an alphabetical list of formulas Note: Formulas are categorized by groups depending on type of information that can be obtained (for example Selection).
  • formula – specify a formula (for example List of selected objects).

3. Insert function

Insert a formula with the Insert Function dialog.

You can access it from:

  • Ribbon – by clicking Formulas > tab  Function library panel -> Insert Function
  • Formula Bar – by clicking Insert Function

4. Insert formula manually

Define a formula by typing a formula syntax manually into the address bar.

Once the link has been made with Results Connect, data is available for post-processing with Excel formulas, graphs, pivot tables, and other methods present in the application.

Excel is an essential engineering tool for most engineers. It allows structural engineers to create consistent and transparent calculations that are easily customized per user. It also empowers engineers to create compelling reports and presentation materials to better document and communicate their engineering thought process and decisions. Using Results Connect, structural engineers can leverage model data and structural analysis results to create their own code-checking calculations according to national regulations so they can automate their calculations and spend more time problem-solving and making engineering decisions.

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    Results Connect has, for a long time, been a well-hidden feature of Robot. When I discovered it for the first time a couple years ago, I was optimistic that it could be really beneficial. However, I have since struggled to find any productive use for it which I cannot already get from the tables and display outputs in Robot already. To put it another way, using the examples given in the blog post, I can already get analysis result diagrams for beams and columns through the Robot user interface; and I can review tables of results, and export those tables quickly to Excel, to do post-processing in PowerPivot if I wished. I'm really interested for some examples of productive uses of Results Connect. Whether that is an example of Results Connect adding unique value to an analysis / design process, or some application of Results Connect which is definitively better than the built-in feature in Robot (this may require a critical acknowledgement of an "underdeveloped" feature in Robot). Nonetheless, the blog posts for Robot are appreciated. Please keep them up! It makes it feel more like there is development ongoing.