Define Connector Controls

Use the Control Manager to create and edit the various types of controls that will be used later when realizing connectors.

  1. From the Connectors ribbon, click the Controls tool.

    Figure 1.
  2. Optional: At the top of the dialog, click to open an .hm binary file that contains saved connector controls, or click load in an FE_Config file.
  3. Use the tabs below to cycle between controls for each group (Point, Fastener, Line, Area, Attachments, Connect Attachments, and Elines).
  4. Right-click and select Create then edit the following.
    Describes the realization in terms of its real-life representation, such as a resistant spot weld or a self-piercing rivet.
    The Finite Element realization that is representing the engineering entity.
    Engineering Name
    A mechanism to organise by a defined set or categories outlined by the xMCF (χMCF) format.
    Tip: Right-click on a control to duplicate or delete it.
  5. Select a control then use the right side of the dialog to manage how the control will be realized.

    Multiple controls can be selected and edited simultaneously. The parameter list will be filtered, leaving only the common fields available to edit.

  6. Optional: At the top of the dialog, click to save the defined controls to your active folder, or click to save the controls to a folder of your choice.
  7. Click OK.

General Options

Overview of the general connector options.

The specific solver that the control is configured to.
The search distance the connector uses for a projection.
MCF (Master Connection File)
The MCF the connector was imported with.
System (Point/Fastener Only)
No system
Do not create a system during realization.
Single system
Create one system for the whole realization.
1 sys per layer
Create one system per layer during realization.
2 sys per layer
Create two systems per layer during realization.
A free field for Naming the connector so it is easier to identify.
Engineering Name
A pre-defined list of Engineering types from the xMCF schema.

Pitch Options

Overview of the general pitch options.

Pitch Option
Create a connector realization at regular intervals of a specified distance.
Create a specified number of realizations that are equally distributed between the significant points. If the value is lower than the significant points, realizations are created at each of the significant points.
Distribution Option
The distribution of the significant points are linear (the distance between each significant point is constant).
Exponential Bias
The distribution of the significant points is set according to an exponent.
NL Biasing Value
Specifies where the transitional area is biased. For example, 10 indicates bias in the intermediate area, whereas 0.1 indicates bias in the start/end area.
Run In Length
The length of the transitional area between the Start/End Pitch and the Internal Pitch.
Start Length/End Length
Start Length and End Length are the lengths that the Start Pitch and End Pitch affect, respectively.
Start Pitch/End Pitch
Start Pitch and End Pitch are the pitch values of the Start Length and End Length, respectively.
Internal Pitch
The pitch value of the intermediate area (between the start and end lengths).
Single End
The End Length and End Pitch options are removed, and the Internal Pitch affects the whole of the remaining length.

Figure 2.
Retain Nodes
Create realizations at the input node locations. For geometrically defined connectors, the connector tries to identify a node path.
End Offset Option
Half Spacing
Offset the start half the pitch distance (or calculated density distance).
Enter the start and end offset values.

Weld Shape Options

Weld shape options are specific to certain connector types. For more information see Realizations.

Realization Options

Overview of the general realization options.

This field is used for realizations where the size of the realized element is created based on the diameter value, or for realization types where the diameter is defined in the property cards.
The size of the hexa face is calculated from the diameter value:(1) α= d 2 · π 4 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+= feaagKart1ev2aaatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLn hiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr 4rNCHbGeaGqiVu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9 vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=x fr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaGaeqySdeMaey ypa0ZaaOaaaeaacaWGKbWaaWbaaSqabeaacaaIYaaaaOGaeS4JPF2a aSaaaeaacqaHapaCaeaacaaI0aaaaaWcbeaaaaa@3F8D@
When you have weld nuggets from hexa patterns (more than one hexa), the diameter is measured from two opposite nodes.

Figure 3. Hexa

Figure 4. Weld Nugget
Specify a single diameter value.
Diameter mapping file
Obtain diameter values that you assigned to a range of flange thicknesses in the Diameter Table.
Along with flange thickness ranges, you can also specify the main flange thicknesses to consider when assigning diameter values.

Figure 5.
Skip Welding (Line Connector Only)
Creates a line connector with alternating weld pieces and gaps. The option takes the Pitch and Density values, along with the weld length, and break length to break the connector into segments. If the Density is used, the density number needs to be greater than the number of segments in the weld or the connector will fail to realize. Significant points are ignored when using Skip Welding.
Note: The Retain Nodes option cannot be used with Skip Welding
When “Skip Welding” is enabled, you must define the following inputs:
  • Weld length/scale (elem)
  • The length of the weld
  • Break length/scale (elem)
  • The amount of space to place in between the welds
If the defined lengths do not fit exactly to the seam connector length, mathematical correct rounding is used. To guarantee that the rounded lengths are not too far away from the expected values, minimum and maximum deviations are defined in the seam options.

Connectivity Options

Overview of the general connectivity options.

Figure 6. Outline of the four-stage process used to select the best routine for point and line realizations

Figure 7. Outline of the four-stage process used to select the best routine for fastener realizations

Figure 8. Outline of the three-stage process used to select the best routine for area realizations
Mesh Independent
The connector realizes independently from the mesh. Use for realizations which do not need any mesh changes, and the connection is primarily defined via a solver-specific card or the nodes which need to be connected are defined by a cylinder, such as Bolt (cylinder spring) for Radioss.
Fasteners only
For all mesh independent fastener realization types, a cylinder is defined. Fastener hole detection is not performed because holes are not required. All the nodes inside the cylinder are considered part of the fastener realization unless they also belong to a link defined on the connector.
The cylinder dimension is primarily defined by its diameter, length L1 and L2.
  • L1 points in the same direction as the connector vector and describes the distance from the connector position to the first end of the cylinder.
  • L2 points in the opposite direction and measures the distance between the connector position and the second end of the cylinder.
Therefore, the connector vector is essential for these types of realizations.
If a vector is not predefined and is determined dynamically, the vector will always point from the connector position to the projection point on the farthest link.
In some automated processes, the cylinder diameter is automatically set to the fastener shaft diameter. This leads to failed cylinder fasteners when the holes are properly modelled because the defined cylinder does not contain nodes. In such cases, the cylinder diameter factor has been introduced; this factor is set to 1.0 by default and is a multiplier for the cylinder diameter to increase the final cylinder diameter when necessary.
Note: The cylinder diameter as well as the cylinder diameter factor can be reviewed and modified in the Connector Browser. Connectors can also be realized with modified cylinder diameters and cylinder diameter factors without updating L1 or L2 in the browser. This is not possible from the panel.
Position to Edge (Line Only)
Uses edge snapping and adjusts the realization to the edge of the link.
Offset from Edge (Line Only)
Allow a user-defined input to offset the realization from the edge.
Mesh Dependent (Point/Line/Area Options)
Adjust Realization
The realization is adjusted depending on the adjustment method defined below. The mesh is not modified, at the expense of non-normal or incomplete realizations. Many realization types are defined with head elements attached to body elements. In the case of these realization types, the head elements realize the connection without modifying the mesh, and the body elements are created in a normal direction.
Find nearest nodes
Searches for the nearest nodes within the given tolerance, making it possible to connect t-joints and similar areas. This option is especially useful in situations where the connectors are not positioned perfectly. These realizations are allowed to be non-normal.
Find nearest nodes does not do any projection.
Project and find nodes
Requires a valid projection onto the link entities in the first step. In the second step the nodes closest to the projection points are used for the connection. If a projection (connector tolerance) is not possible, the realization fails. Because a non-normal projection for lines is always allowed, the results are the same as the results for find nearest node.
Ensure projection
The minimum condition for the realization is a possible normal projection. The realization is performed in the direction from one projection point to the next. If the projection point is coincident with a shell node, they are equivalenced.
Note: Ensure projection can lead to incompletely defined connections from a solver perspective unless the connector positions are not aligned to the mesh. The advantage of this projection method is the exact determination of the projection points.
Adjust Mesh
The mesh is adjusted to the projections; there are a few different imprinting options. The realizations are identical between the mesh independent and mesh dependant adjust mesh options.
Perform a remesh operation on the imprint. The imprint location can contain quads and trias.
Smooth (Only for Hilock)
Adjust the nodes to accommodate the projection.
Quad Transition
Creates perfectly shaped quad elements around the projection line. The quad size is determined by the average mesh size. From one projection point to the next, exactly one pair of elements is created. You can also use this option to create lines from quad elements and realize the connections to the links through perfectly modelled t-edges.
For line quad transitions, the automatic snapping and feature detection option, Allow Snapping, is activated. This prevents the creation of elements that are too small and ensures that the geometry is not modified too much.
Free edges and features with an angle greater than 25° are always considered. If smaller feature angles should be considered, decrease the value in the Feature Angle field under the Behavior heading. Feature angles smaller than 5° are not considered at all.
By default, snapping is allowed by one third of the quad pattern element size. In the case of a predefined quad pattern element size of 10.0, the outer nodes can snap to features in 3.3. The algorithm also tries to snap all three nodes of a quad pattern or none.
When creating mesh-dependent realizations with quad transitions, the quad transition meshes can overlap and disturb each other if more than one set of connectors is created too close to each other. The imprint option reconciles such transitions with each other and modifies the underlying mesh to match the results to create a result that is seamless and properly meshed.
The option Resolve Conflicts is activated by default, enabling smaller imprint conflicts to be automatically resolved when connectors are realized. Overlapping elements are released, and a normal remesh of that area is performed if the overlapping area is smaller than half the regular quad transition element size.
The size of the imprint can be determined using the pitch size (use pitch size) or using the average size of the underlying mesh (use avg. mesh size). If you want to define a specific imprint size, select user input size.
Skip Imprint
Prevents the last step of quad transition from being performed. Instead, the component ^conn_imprint is created, which contains the element pattern. These elements can be modified and manually imprinted later using the Connector Imprint panel.
Skip imprint enables you to realize such mesh-dependent realizations in complex areas of the model where the automatic imprint fails because of issues such as conflicting lines.
The size of the imprint can be determined using the pitch size (use pitch size) or using the average size of the underlying mesh (use avg. mesh size). If you want to define a specific imprint size, select user input size.
Mesh Dependent (Fastener Options)
Consider existing hole only
A minimum of one hole per layer must be available in the origin mesh. If holes do not exist, the realization fails. This is the default method and must be used for any type of solid meshes.
Create hole if none
If there are not any holes on a certain layer, they are punched into that layer at the position of the projection point. The diameter of the new hole is defined under the Realization Details heading. This method is used if the model does not contain the appropriate number of holes per fastener, but holes are required for specific realization types.
Use hole, if available
Creates hybrids (hole on one side only), but other combinations are allowed. On the mesh side (no hole), the connection is realized via the head elements defined in the chosen realization type. The head element(s) is/are created between the appropriate body element node and the nodes inside the diameter (no hole connection diameter) defined under the Realization Details heading. This option is used for realization types which are not eager for holes.
Fill and remesh hole, if available
Use this option when you do not want the shape of holes to interfere with the mesh flow in the fastener region. The detected holes are closed and a remesh of the new elements and a few additional rows of adjacent elements is performed. The connection is realized via the head elements defined in the chosen realization type. The head elements are created between the appropriate body element nodes and the nodes inside the diameter (no hole connection diameter) defined under the Realization Details heading.
Note: The hole detection mechanism for the last three options considers a cylinder which is defined under the Realization Details heading. The hole consideration cylinder option can be defined as a factor of the no hole connection diameter option or as an exact diameter. Principally holes which are inside or touching the cylinder can be detected, but the hole consideration is reduced to one hole per link per connector. Additionally, holes need to fit to the requested dimensions, which are also defined under the Realization Details heading.
Adjust hole position (2D)
Moves the center of a hole into the position of the projection point.
Adjust realization
Hole positions are not modified, enabling the realized elements to compensate the nonaligned centers of holes.
Hole Detection Options
Detection and Feature Angle
The minimum and maximum dimensions define which holes should be considered during fastener realization. The minimum and maximum feature angle define the features to be considered as hole edges for solid elements.
Hole Consideration Cylinder
Not all the holes found in the given connector tolerance can be considered for the various fastener realizations.
  • The connector tolerance, especially when set to a large value, detects many holes. To prevent detecting holes which are far away from the connector position and are not aligned with the other hole(s), the consideration cylinder excludes outer holes from the detection.
  • Since the existence of a hole is not necessarily requested anymore, a space must be defined where the holes are expected to be. It is no longer sufficient to use just the connector tolerance, therefore the Hole Consideration Cylinder option performed along the projection path becomes necessary. All the holes the cylinder touches or contains can be considered for the various fastener realizations.
auto cylinder diameter (factor)
Factors given diameters, which include create hole diameter (2D), create/adjust hole diameter (2D), adjust hole diameter (2D), and no hole connection diameter. The first available diameter is used. The default factor is 1.5.
exact cylinder diameter
Specify an exact diameter. The default diameter is 15.0.
Note: The hole consideration cylinder option is not offered when using the consider existing holes only option.
create hole diameter (2D)
Create new holes with the specified diameter. Used if holes are required by the “create hole if none” option.
create and adjust hole diameter (2D)
Create new holes with the specified diameter and adjust existing holes with the specified diameter, which leads to fastener realizations with the exact same diameter on all links. Used if holes are required by the “create hole if none” option.
adjust hole diameter (2D)
Adjust existing holes to the specified diameter. The do not adjust hole diameter option switches off the adjustment and uses the holes with their origin size. Used if holes are not necessarily required when using the use hole, if available option, but the existing holes need to have a specific diameter.
no hole connection diameter
Connect a link without an available hole by joining the nodes found inside the circle with the specified diameter around the projection point via head elements. Used if holes are not required when using the use hole if available option or fill and remesh hole if available option.
Fill Holes (2D)
Fill detected holes during fastener realization. There are various quad patterns available, which cause a remeshing of the area around the hole.
Holes can also be filled with pie pieces. If the number of pie pieces is defined, the surrounding mesh is remeshed. The pie pieces preserve option also creates pie pieces but takes the existing hole nodes into account and prevents the remeshing.
Note: Activating the fill holes (2D) option deactivates the no. of nodes around hole option.
Nodes around Hole
Use the number of nodes of the appropriate origin hole. This is the default option which prevents the surrounding mesh from being remeshed. For new holes, the auto option is used.
Specify the exact number of nodes (default is 8). The surrounding mesh gets remeshed.
elem size
Specify an element size (default is 5.0). The number of elements around the hole is calculated based on this size. This is the preferred option for extremely different hole diameters. The surrounding mesh gets remeshed.
Perform a node distribution based on the underlying mesh size. The number of nodes is always rounded to an equal number.
Create washer layer options
For 2D holes, one or two washer layers can be created, after which the surrounding mesh gets remeshed.
The width of the washer can be defined by:
  • Factoring the hole radius
  • Directly specifying the exact width

Contact Options

Overview of the general contact options.

Single Contact
Create a single contact for all realizations of the same type.
One Contact Per Link
Create a contact per link.
One Contact Per Link Pairing
Create a contact for all links in the connector.
Card Image (LS-DYNA Only)
The type of card image to set to the contact definition.
  • NodeToSurface
  • SurfaceToSurface
  • EdgeToSurface
Single Contact
Create sets/groups.
User Control
Select the main and seondary set.

HAZ Options

HAZ options are specific to certain connector types. For more information see Realizations.

Property and Material Options

Overview of the general property and material options.

Property/Material Creation
Create a property/material for the whole realization of the same type.
Link pair
Create a property/material per link pairing.
Per connector
Create a property/material for the whole realization per connector.
Logical connection
Create a property/material by all the links on the connector.
Script only
Use a pre-defined script that creates properties, materials, contacts, and assigns attributes to the realization. The connector only creates the elements; everything else needs to be created and organised via the script. This can only be defined within the fe_configuration file as a *post.
Property (Only available for Single and Per Connector)
Choose a property. If left unspecified, a property is created.
Material (Only available for Single and Per Connector in Explicit solvers)
Choose a material. If left unspecified, a material is created.
Direct Property Assignment
Assign the property/material directly to the element definition.
Customization Script
Unless set to Script Only, the connector completes the realization with any of the property/material options above. The Customization Script option then places all connectors that refer to the same script onto a mark. The script then has to process those connectors in the mark to achieve the desired result.

Behavior Options

Overview of the general behavior options.

Link Option (Line/Area)
Uses the links closest to the connector by distance.
Uses the links adjacent to the connector.
Normal deviation
Deviation allowed for the projection.
Two links only
Selects only two links from the connector links.

Figure 9.
Project Control Methods
Normal to links
Connector calculates a normal projection to all links.
Along discrete direction
Input a direction for the projections for all links.
Normal to closest link
Find the closest link first, then do normal projection to it, then use this direction to project to the rest of links.
Normal to furthest link
Find the furthest link first, then do normal projection to it, then use this direction to project to the rest of links.
Normal to specified link
Specify a link, then do normal projection to it, then use this direction to project to the rest of links.
Force Nonnormal (Line)
Applies to hexa realization. It changes the order the connector projects to determine the number of projections. If forces the realization to attempt a Non normal protection (360°) rather than the Normal projection (88° – 92°).
Nonnormal (Point)
When selected, the connector searches within a 360° rather than within a normal (88° – 92°) projection.
Use 2nd Projection
Uses the solver projection logic function to position the nodes on the surface of the elements.
Solid Outer Face
When realizing with solids, determine if the realization is on the inner face of the solid or through the solid.
B/L classification angle
The angle to determine if the connector is a Butt weld or a Lap weld.
L/T classification angle
The angle to determine if the connector is a Lap weld or a T weld.
Snapping to Edge
Snapping to Edge L/Snapping to Edge T/Snapping to Edge B
Try to position the realization to the edge of the linked part depending on the weld type.
Do not position the realization to the edge.
Maximum 1 element row
Search within 1 average element size for an edge.
Maximum 2 element rows
Search within 2 average element sizes for an edge.
Input a specified search distance for an edge.
Collector Name Prefix
An optional field to push a defined name to.
Auto Trim (Line Only)
Automatically trim the connector line when realizing.
Partial Realization Percentage (Point Only)
Allow points along the connector to not realize and still mark the connector realized.
Partial Imprint Percentage (Line Only, Mesh Dependent Quad Transition options)
Allow the imprint to not fully succeed along the connector and still mark the connector realized.
Imprint Options (Mesh Dependent Quad Transition options)
Preserve Washer
Controls how washers are preserved during the seam imprint realization.
No washer preservation
Washer layers are adjusted during the imprint if required.
Preserve washer, no remesh
The washer layers are fully preserved.
Preserve washer, allow remesh
The washer layers are still intact, but the mesh seeding has been modified.
Do Not Share Zone Elements (Line Only)
Seam imprint allows heat affected zones (HAZ) to be merged in close areas. In this situation, one element might touch the weld elements from two different connectors. Do not share zone elements prevents zone elements from being shared.
Quad In Corner (Line Only)
Double Quad corner/Single Quad corner
Controls whether a single or double element is created in corners of quad seam connectors with a certain vertex.
Corner Angle
An angle must be defined for a single quad corner. If the corner angle is greater than the defined angle, a double quad corner is created.
Quad Size Reduction %/ Quad Skew Degrees (Line Only)
Controls the maximum deviation from the perfect quad element for the heat affected zone (HAZ). It can be controlled, if the element size or the element skew is more important to retain.
Sliver Elements: (Line Only)
Sliver elements are small elements that you may not want in your model. In the images below, a perfect perpendicular projection resulted in sliver elements. The Sliver Elements setting can be used to manage sliver elements in your model. In the images below, the red elements represent the HAZ elements.
Allow sliver elements.
Prevent by moving projection points
Move the realization to the edge.
Prevent by moving edge
Move the edge to the realization.
Delete sliver elements
Keep the projection but remove the sliver elements.
Feature Angle
Determines important features to retain during the imprint. Features that cross the HAZ, as well as nearby features cannot be retained.
After Imprint
Remesh or rebuild the surrounding mesh after imprint for better mesh flow and quality .
Seam Test Points Alignment (Line Only)
A global option. If the seam connectors are close, by activating “Seam Test Points Alignment” option in the connector Entity Editor, the test point alignment is based on the proximity of other connectors to get better mesh flow. It also ensures the cross-over connector should have a common test point so that unique nodes are created.
Seam Loose Ends
A local option set on individual connectors. Enabling “Seam Test Points Alignment” also enables this option, which allows for the alignment of start and end points of seam connectors along with alignment of other test points.
Seam Fixed
A local option set on individual connectors. Enabling the “Seam Fixed” option considers all the test points of seam connectors as fixed and are not disturbed.
Seam consider Features and Boundaries
A local option set on individual connectors. Enabling the "Seam Consider Feature and Boundaries" option adjusts test points so the projections fall on features/boundaries wherever possible. Overhanging test points are trimmed.
Unrealize Remesh or Rebuild
Remeshes or rebuilds HAZ elements and the elements surrounding it upon connector unrealization. Option is available only when unrealize remesh or rebuild is set to Remesh or Rebuild. Number of layers to be considered around HAZ elements for remesh or rebuild can be controlled with user input value for the layers.
No remesh or rebuild of HAZ's and surrounding elements on unrealizing connectors.
The mesh around the connector is remeshed by a specified number of layers on unrealizing connector.
The mesh around the connector is rebuilt by a specified number of layers on unrealizing connector.
Unrealize Remesh or Rebuild Layer
The number of elements considered to remesh or rebuild.
After Imprint (Fastener Only)
During realization, if the mesh is altered to realize the connector, this option allows you to select between "Remesh" and "Rebuild" meshing algorithms.
Rebuild Washer (Fastener Only)
Perform a rebuild operation on the created washer in cases where the washer is close to a feature edge. This will potentially change the shape of the washer to snap to feature edges to avoid poor mesh quality.
Unrealize Fill Hole Created (Fastener Only)
If the control is set to "create hole if none”, this fills the created hole when the connector is unrealized, returning the surface back to its original configuration before realization.