Diving Into Dlubal Part1: Dlubal Overview

I work for ENA2 Innovative Consulting located in Calgary, Canada. I will use these posts as an opportunity to shed light on a great software. Is this better than the software you are currently using? Only you can answer that question, but I encourage you to keep an open mind while reading through to see what is possible with Dlubal.

I am starting this series to introduce another software option used in structural engineering, which is user friendly, powerful, and versatile. With the help of my colleagues, I put together this guide to show the capabilities of Dlubal. I encourage you to continue reading if you are open to learning new software or want to expand your knowledge. If you do happen to want more info following this series or even just this post you can visit our LinkedIn page or email us at info@ena2.com, or just message me on LinkedIn!

Dlubal was created in Germany back in 1987. With offices mainly located in Europe and one in USA, Dlubal has grown to become a worldwide company being used by over 7,800 customers and 45,000 users in 95 countries.

The main structure of this series will be the following:

  1. This post will describe the tools available in Dlubal and what applications they are used for.
  2. The second post will focus on Dlubal’s main advantages over its competitors.
  3. The third post will be a detailed walkthrough of how Dlubal is used to model an example structure.
  4. The final post will be related to analysis, post-processing, and reporting.

One important thing to note is that Dlubal always keeps their YouTube channel up to date with webinars, FAQ, and knowledge base videos. Usually every few hours a new video is added (they have over a thousand to date), so if you need help doing something, it will probably be up there! They also have multiple channels in different languages which is a testament to how diverse their user base is.

So the first thing you're probably going to notice is when you navigate to Dlubal's homepage and scroll down is that you have RFEM and RSTAB that instantly pop out.

Let’s start off with the basics. First, Dlubal isn’t the name of the software, it’s the company which offers the entire group of software and add-on modules that are compatible with one another. The primary software is RFEM for general modelling and contains the finite element (FE) solver; this is where users will create their models and run analyses. RSTAB, however, is used specifically for modelling frames and trusses, but otherwise contains all the FE capabilities as RFEM.

What’s nice about Dlubal’s products is that it is extremely modular, meaning you only pay for what you use. However, you need either RSTAB or RFEM for these modules to work as they are not standalone. There are specialized modules reinforced concrete structures, steel and aluminum structures, timber structures, glass structures, towers and masts, connections, dynamic analysis, piping systems, tensile membrane structures and many more. Chances are, if there is a specific problem you are trying to solve, there will be a module for it.

There are also standalone programs for highly niche applications. For example, Dlubal's SHAPE-THIN tool is an excellent resource for creating custom, thin-walled cross sections. Another example of a standalone program is the recently released RWIND Simulation program, a one-of-a-kind software that performs computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis on complex and irregular structures using wind tunnel procedures, which is quite rare for a structural program to have.

I will be walking through an example later on, so if you wish, you can navigate to the page found here to download a free trial of RFEM. Once the installation is complete, open the program and make sure you chose the trial version and not the demo version. Even before we go through the example, we encourage you to explore the program and get a general feel of it.

This post is the first in a series of four posts. I will save more details for next time; in this post I simply wanted to introduce to you a structural program you may not have head of before. Be sure to check in for the next post when I talk about some of the main advantages of using Dlubal.

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