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Artificial Intelligence Design Precursors Hit The Dancefloor

By Marshall Williams 18 May 2021

When 1600 people gathered to dance the night away in the Hyatt Regency’s ballroom in Kansas City on July 17th, 1981, nobody expected the “shimmy” of two 29000 kg walkways as well! Flaws in the design of steel hanger rods caused a collapse of two walkways, killing 114 people, and injuring another 216. CAE simulation developers and AI pioneers have something to say about this. 

Though, you may wonder, “Why should innovators bother thinking about past failures when propelling design forward? Why should we care?”

It turns out that analyzing this engineering failure, and others like it in the past, can teach us many fruitful lessons applicable for future designs. 

That’s exactly what we did. Working with our talented team of engineers worldwide, we’ve shone light on the engineering failure at the Hyatt Regency in 1981. 


On The Road to Artificial Intelligence Aided Design

OnScale Solve is the best tool for such retrospective analysis and future design. We allow you to get to the heart of your designs’ problems ASAP. That is, until we get to the age of creative AI analyzing and designing for us. 

We are of course working toward J.A.R.V.I.S.-like functionalities, just give us a while. Use OnScale Solve in the meantime. 

Let’s get into why the Hyatt had trouble!


Hiccups From Basement to Ceiling

Due to the decentralized nature of the design process in this case, problems appeared in the hotel from top to bottom. Whether an atrium roof, walkways, manufacturer concerns, poor communication, incoherent design change tracking, or no calculation of safety tolerances, oversight pervaded many steps. The Hyatt design process showed a classic case of everyone’s job getting harder when nobody takes responsibility. Setbacks hindered construction day after day.

The failure that led to the collapse of the walkways came down to tie rod designs discovered by a structural engineer, Wayne G. Lischka, after a thorough post-disaster investigation. Initially, the manufacturer of these rods had concerns about designs: worried that threading along the length of the rod made them effectively useless. After revision, the situation worsened. So, either way, the manufacturers were right! The fourth-floor beams carried the weight of both the fourth and second floor walkways.

This might not sound like a big deal, but imagine a LEGO crane lifting a Saturn V rocket: it just is bound to fail. 

This led to the deadliest non-deliberate collapse in U.S. history to date and the deadliest structural collapse until 9/11. Deep into the tea dance, stresses became too great and the box beams split along their welds, sending a mass of metal and glass diving down to crash the dance party.

Luckily, Engineers now have something new they didn’t have in the 80s: OnScale Solve. We cover the calculations and organizations for all your design changes so that negligence never creeps up on your final product. 

AI Coming To CAEAI Aided Design Precursors Hitting The Dancefloor

There’s simply no comparison to working in Web-Based CAE platforms. OnScale Solve offers a robust and ever growing list of problems it can fix. Most importantly the web ecosystem offers infinite possibilities and faster adaptation to host AI Aided Design features. Though you’ll never have to do a retrospective study like this, you’ll have thousands at your fingertips. 

I hope you try it for yourself! Make an account, import a CAD file, and embrace the future, with OnScale Solve

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Marshall Williams
Marshall Williams

Marshall Williams is a Digital Marketing Intern for OnScale. He's a student of AeroSpace Engineering and Economics at Georgia Tech, with experience in growth focused copywriting, specializing in marketing for startups and nonprofits.

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