Adding More Tools to Your Toolbox
- by Jeff Emmett -

Since Online Plus joined the MiTek suite of software several years ago, we have worked diligently to give all MiTek customers more tools for their software toolbox.  We accomplish this by creating links between the various MiTek and Online Plus software modules.  This enables our customers to choose which pieces of software best suit their business needs.  At this point, both InfoStar and Online Plus Layout can be paired with MiTek Engineering.  Conversely, Online Plus may be paired with MBA (database), MVP (shop control – trusses), and Shopnet (shop control – panels).  Our upcoming version 27 adds another option:  the ability to use Online Plus engineering with TrussFramer.

TrussFramer (soon to be rebranded as SAPPHIRE Structure) is a state-of-the art 3-D modeling/layout program which has many features Robbins’ customers have wanted for years. 

·        CAD Tools:  In addition to a variety of drawing tools and the ability to draw and save CAD like blocks, layout sheets allows users to take a giant leap forward in creating detailed, professional looking layouts without the need for costly CAD programs.  With layout sheets, users can create custom title blocks, position live views of the layout (including blowups of critical areas), live 3-D views, text blocks, details, and will soon include live cross-sections.  Why is “Live” a big deal?  Because unlike exporting to a CAD program, these “Live” views automatically update to reflect changes to the layout, thereby saving valuable time and eliminating a potential area for error.

·        Reframe a Set:  Ever input a hip set and then later decide you want to change some aspect, such as the girder setback?  SAPPHIRE™ Structure retains information on how each set was input.  At anytime, users may select the set and adjust its properties.  Users may also tell the set to reframe itself, which comes in handy when the customer changes the span after the layout is done.
·        Estimating Tools:  Many of our customers provide material other than trusses, such as sheathing, fascia, even cabinets and flooring.  Far more are asked for information to aid their customers in bidding these types of materials.  Structure comes equipped with tools to automatically estimate a large variety of materials, and with Structure’s formula builder, users can provide accurate material counts and create pricing formulas to match their business needs.
·        Options:  Switching from a two-car garage to a three-car, adding the optional den/bonus room, etc. is a breeze with Structure’s options tool.  This tool allows users to input all the various options a plan contains and easily change between them with the flick of a switch. 

·        MultiFamily:  Structure provides the ability to create individual units, save them off and then import them into different layouts, easily arranging them as needed.  While Online Plus also has this capability, Structure takes it a step further in allowing the imported units to reference the original.  So when the customer calls and moves a wall, changes a door, etc., one change will cascade across all the copies. 

These are but a few of the many great features SAPPHIRE™ Structure has to offer.  By connecting SAPPHIRE™ Structure to Online Plus Engineering, customers take advantage of these great tools and retain the world class Online Plus engineering program, database, and output they are used to.  Contact your sales representative for more information and to arrange a demonstration of how the power of combining SAPPHIRE™ Structure with Online Plus Engineering can benefit your company.



- Employee Spotlight - Thomas A. Albani P.E., Vice President 

Tom grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and attended Ft. Lauderdale High. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Western Kentucky University in 1978 and in 1984, married his wife Rachel.  They have two sons: Michael, who attends the University of Florida, and Nicholas, who attends Florida State University.

Tom spent his first ten years in the Wood Truss Industry working for Alpine Engineered Products. He received his first Professional Engineer’s License from Florida in 1988, and has since become registered in forty four states. In 1989, Tom went to work for a small, regional company named Robbins Engineering Inc., which was looking to grow into a national company. Tom played a key role in the acquisitions of On-line Data (which brought about OLP ™software), Pressing Answer (which introduced the legendary Fatman™ floor truss machine) and Plate-A-Tie™ (which produced the railroad anti-split plate). Then in 2006, Tom worked to smoothly transition Robbins Engineering into the MiTek family, where we currently offer the best products and services that the Wood Truss Industry has ever experienced. When asked about the secret of his success, Tom states: “I have had the honor to be mentored by some of the best people our industry has ever experienced: Charlie Harden, William McAlpine, Charlie Hoover, Dorthy Lynch, Ronnie Wright, Camilla Hurwitz, Dionel Cotanda, and Gene Toombs.”   

6904 Parke East Blvd Tampa Florida 33610
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