The Tyrell Gilb Research Lab is the hub of our research and development activities. The lab's highly specialized equipment allows us to test a structure's ability to resist earthquakes, high winds and other natural disasters. Full-scale structural components are tested using the lab's seismic shake table and cyclic/static test frame. The shake table re-creates ground motion, moving back and forth horizontally at the foundation level. The vertical and horizontal cyclic/static rigs apply force laterally to the top of a wall structure and can test wall sections up to five-stories high. Together, this type of testing provides an accurate measurement of a structure's resistance capabilities. The lab's three-dimensional testing of full-scale buildings is used to help clarify issues regarding allowable resistances of bracing methods under various load conditions. (Click here to see our test rigs in action.) The newest addition to the lab is a designated area to test our new line of Repair, Protection and Strengthening Systems for Concrete and Masonry. We now have the ability to submerge timber piles in water to recreate marine conditions for our products used underwater.
The lab is named in memory of Tyrell (Tye) Gilb, a former professor of architecture who led our research and development efforts for 35 years. "Tye's legacy of innovative product development lives on through the work done here," says Tom Fitzmyers, vice chairman of Simpson Strong-Tie. "The laboratory's testing capabilities allow us to advance our structural design technology, which improves building safety and ultimately helps save lives. That would have made Tye very proud."
Housed in our home office, the Connector Laboratory is accredited in more than 20 international construction standards. The lab routinely tests product prototypes and construction code criteria. Engineers in the lab use a variety of equipment to test not only individual connectors, but entire structural systems. In addition to testing products, the lab focuses its research on corrosion, wood assemblies, and concrete and masonry. The state-of-the-art computer system and 3D printer are used to build and test prototypes, allowing us to respond to customer testing and criteria requests.
The main function of the West Chicago Laboratory is to test the structural integrity of concrete structures. On-site equipment can simulate earthquakes and other forces that can cause concrete to crack. Research from the lab is used primarily to develop new anchor and adhesive products for infrastructure, commercial and industrial construction. It is one of only a few labs in the United States accredited for this type of testing.
We have research facilities at our branches across the globe. In Tamworth, UK, engineers test prototypes and code criteria for the European construction market. Our North American branch laboratories (Texas, Ohio, Northern and Southern California, and Canada) address regional construction issues to service local customers. For example, customers frequently ask us to perform tests to help resolve installation issues that arise on the jobsite. These labs also help our engineers identify regional trends and create geographic-specific solutions.