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Eurocode verification of a
runway beam subject to
wheel loads – Part 1
Dorota Koschmidder-Hatch of the SCI describes the design of runway
beams carrying an underslung hoist or crane to BS EN 1993-6 – in particular
the verification of the bottom flange at ULS and SLS. Part 1 describes the
requirements of the Standard. Part 2 will include a worked example.
Before the Eurocodes were introduced, BS 2853 covered design
and testing of overhead runway beams. Following revision in
2011, BS 2853 now only provides guidance on testing overhead
runway beams. BS EN 1993-6:2007 (EC3-6) covers the design
of steel crane supporting structures, which includes overhead
runway beams, while guidance on determining actions induced
by cranes is given in BS EN 1991-3.
This article focuses on crane runway beams supporting either a
monorail hoist block travelling on the bottom flange (see Figure 1)
or an underslung crane, which is also supported on the bottom
flange of the beam. The guidance in this article covers beams with
parallel flanges, though EC3-6 also includes information for beams
with tapered flanges.
The bottom flange is subject to a complex state of stress,
experiencing direct stresses from the global bending, but also
local stresses around the wheel positions, which vary with the
proximity of the hoist to the end of the beam. Figure 2 shows a
typical situation, with a four wheeled hoist. The local resistance of
the flange is based on nominal yield lines, shown in the plan.
F z,Ed
Runway beam
Hoist block
Figure 1: Crane runway beam supporting a monorail hoist block
F z,Ed
F z,Ed
F z,Ed
m+ n
Wheel loads
Yield lines
Figure 2: Four-wheel hoist
February 2015
m+ n
At the ultimate limit state (ULS), runway beams must be verified
for bending due to vertical loads in combination with the effect
of lateral loads. Because the lateral loads are applied eccentrically
to the shear centre of the beam, they cause minor axis bending,
but also apply a torque to the section. EC3-6 clause
recommends that the combination of lateral torsional buckling,
minor axis bending and torque be verified using an interaction
expression given in Annex A. The UK National Annex to EC3-6
endorses this approach.
In a runway beam with an underslung hoist or crane, the
vertical loads are applied below the shear centre, at the bottom
flange. This is a stabilising load, as the vertical loads act in
opposition to the movement of the compression flange. Clause allows this benefit to be taken, but requires that the
loads should be assumed to be applied no lower than the top
surface of the bottom flange. This limit is because a swinging load
could reduce the beneficial effect of the stabilising load.
To calculate Mcr for a stabilising load, the free software LTBeam1
could be used, or the formula given in NCCI document SN0032. It
is conservative to ignore the beneficial stabilising effect.
In addition to the usual ULS checks, clause 2.7(2) requires that
the bottom flange of the beam be verified. The bottom flange
experiences a combination of direct stresses from overall bending,
combined with local stresses from the wheels. Clause 2.7(2)
directs designers to clause 6.7 to verify the bottom flange.
1.1 Verification of bottom flange at ULS
Clause 6.7 provides expression 6.2 to verify the bottom flange, as
shown below.
Ft,Rd =
lefftf2fy / γM0
[ ( )]
σ f,Ed
fy / γM0
The resistance is based on the length of a yield line, leff , which is
given in Table 6.2 of EC3-6 for various locations of a wheel. Wheels
close to a free end have a lower effective length; wheels adjacent
to a ‘welded closer plate’ (a full depth end plate) have a higher
effective length and consequently a greater resistance.
Designers should note that the resistance is based on the
l t2
plastic modulus, eff f , which means that a check of the flange at
SLS is also necessary. The influence of the direct stress is seen
[ ( )]
in the reduction factor 1 -
σ f,Ed
fy / γM0
Stresses are to be determined at:
Position 0, at the junction between the
flange and the root radius
Position1, under the wheels, and
Position 2, at the tip of the flange.
The local longitudinal and transverse
stresses are given by:
σox,Ed = cx Fz,Ed / t12 (for local longitudinal
bending stress)
σoy,Ed = cy Fz,Ed / t12 (for local transverse
bending stress)
In the formulae, coefficients cx and
cy are taken from tables, depending
on the lateral spacing of the wheels
with respect to the flange width. The
formulae are valid as long as the wheels
are more than 1.5b from the end of the
beam (b is the flange width). Expressions
are given to calculate cx and cy , (which
appear to be the result of curve fitting)
for both parallel and tapered flanges. In
the common case, when the wheels are
located close to the tips of the flanges
(the lateral spacing of the wheels is 90%
of the beam width) the expressions are
replaced with single values for cx and
cy – but these values are simply the
Figure 3: Flange locations for SLS stress
product of the rather more complicated
expressions. The results are valid if the
wheels are spaced no less than 1.5b longitudinally; if closer the
calculated stresses must be superposed.
The situation is more complicated close to the end of a beam
(within 1.5b), where there is no continuity of the flange. An
expression is offered, or the alternative of reinforcing the flange as
shown in Figure 4.
0 1
, where σf,ed is the
tensile stress at the midline of the flange. The reduction may be
considerable, but because runway beams are subject to relatively
onerous deflection limits (which may dominate the design),
the bending stress may be lower than usually found in ordinary
EC3-6 has a series of deflection limits, for the runway beams and
the supporting structure, vertically and horizontally to minimise
vibrations and to avoid an excessive slope for the hoist when
travelling along the runway beam.
In addition, clause 2.7 requires that the stresses in the bottom
flange be checked at SLS. Because the ULS check of the flange
uses the plastic modulus, a check at SLS is particularly important.
The SLS checks of the bottom flange are covered in clause 7.5,
which combines direct stresses, shear stresses and local stresses.
2.1 Local stresses due to wheel loads
Local stresses are to be determined from clause 5.8, which
provides a simple approach to calculate local longitudinal and
transverse stresses at three locations in the flange, as shown in
Figure 3
Figure 4: Reinforced beam end
2.2 Combined stresses
Clause 7.5 provides five expressions to verify combined stresses at
SLS. The local stresses must be included in the verifications. In the
following expressions (taken from EC3-6), the stresses σx,Ed,ser and
σy,Ed,ser are the sum of the global stress and local stress.
σ Ed,ser ≤ fy / γM,ser
τ Ed,ser ≤
+ 3 (τy,Ed,ser)2 ≤ fy /γM,ser
) + (σ
) - (σ
where σx,Ed,ser = σglobal,x,Ed,ser + σox,Ed,ser
and σy,Ed,ser = σglobal,y,Ed,ser + σoy,Ed,ser
) + 3 (τ
≤ fy /γM,ser
February 2015
Advisory Desk
AD 386
Clarification of notch dimensions
and shear resistances in SCI P358
(Green Book on Simple Joints)
On page T-4 of SCI P358[1], Table G.1 Note 4 states
that for double notched beams, the remaining
depth of web is taken as the end plate length.
This is misleading and provides no information
on single notched beams. This AD explains what
notch dimensions were assumed and how the
quoted shear resistances were calculated for
single and double notched beam.
Notch dimensions
For single notched beams, the notch depth was
taken as the larger of 50 mm or the clearance n as
given in SCI P363[2] (Blue Book). For most beams
therefore, the notch aligns with the top of the end
plate, set 50 mm below the top of the beam. For
large beams, where the thickness of the flange
plus root is greater than 50 mm, it is assumed that
the end plate is lowered to clear the root, and the
notch depth is correspondingly increased.
For doubly notched beams, the upper notch
follows the rules given above for single notches.
The lower notch similarly follows these rules for
large and medium sized beams. For 406 × 140 and
smaller, the lower notch depth is simply taken as
25 mm. The rules are given in the figure above.
Calculation of shear resistance
When compiling the resistance tables (Tables
G.4 & G.5), the first step was to determine
the maximum notch length which could
accommodate the shear resistance quoted for
the beam without a notch. In many cases, the
Greater of 50 mm
and clearance n
Greater of 50 mm
and clearance n
Greater of 50 mm
and clearance n
For 406 × 178 and larger
25 mm
For 406 × 140 and smaller
Notch dimensions in the Green Book
maximum notch length was zero, or some small
dimension which had no practical benefit. In
these cases, a reasonable notch length was set
as 100 mm and the resistance back-calculated
(using an iterative process) for this geometry.
In this process, the applied shear was increased
until the applied moment at the notch equalled
the moment resistance. An iterative process was
required as the moment resistance is reduced in
the presence of high shear; the reduction varies
with the applied shear.
In the resistance tables, if the maximum
length is quoted as 100 mm, it will be associated
with a reduced shear resistance, indicating
that the process above has been followed. For
lengths longer than 100 mm, the resistance will
be that for an un-notched beam. Occasionally
for double notched beams, where ‘N/A’ is shown
in the shear resistance column, it indicates that
after the notches have been removed (following
the guidance given above) the remaining depth
of web is less than the depth of the end plate.
In these cases the resistance of a non-standard
connection will have to be determined by
In many cases, the dimensions of the
supporting beam may dictate the size of the
notch. In these cases the resistance will have to
be determined by calculation.
[1]SCI P358 Joints in Steel Construction: Simple
Joints to Eurocode 3. (2014)
[2]SCI P363 Steel Building Design: Design Data.
(Updated 2013).
Contact: David Brown
Tel: 01344 636525
Email: [email protected]
Continued from p25
Eurocode verification of a runway beam
subject to wheel loads – Part 1
February 2015
γM,ser is to be taken as 1.1, according to the UK National Annex.
EC3-6 does not indicate where precisely stresses should be
checked at positions 0, 1 and 2. At the extreme fibres on the
underside of the flange, the global bending stress σx,Ed,ser is at a
maximum, as is the local transverse bending stress σoy,Ed,ser , but
the shear stress is zero. At other locations, the shear stress will be
combined with a reduced global bending stress. It is conservative
simply to combine maximum stresses, especially as the shear
stress based on clause 6.2.6 of BS EN 1993-1-1 is likely to be small.
2.3 Vibration of the bottom flange
A further serviceability requirement concerning runway beams
is the need to avoid noticeable lateral vibration of the bottom
flange. Clause 7.6 of EC3 6 recommends that the slenderness
ratio of the bottom flange L/iz should be limited to 250, where iz is
the radius of gyration of the bottom flange and L is the distance
between lateral restraints.
1.LTBeam software, available from
2.SN003 Elastic critical moment for lateral torsional buckling,
available from