Your Source for Efficient Modular Building Technology
Think of VECTORMINIMA as the R&D team you've always wanted.
Leveraging decades of experience in structural design and end-to-end MCAD integration for offsite and modular construction, VECTORMINIMA develops and delivers the practical, competitive solutions our partners need to stand out in today's modular construction landscape.
Better yet, our pipeline of products includes some of the modular construction industry's most progressive solutions, including technology for semi-autonomous building assembly and MEP connection.
With VECTORMINIMA as your innovation partner, your enterprise is sure to be in the spotlight for years to come.
Q1 2020 release of products includes the METALOQ Kit Frame with its many cost-saving features, including light weight, an outer wall moment frame, a versatile flush module connector and the revolutionary joist clamp.
Q4 2020 will see release of the multiple load path, tall stacking version and module frames designed for cast concrete floors, together with other practical enhancements
2021 releases and beyond to include core following and core-leading systems, panelized, self-sealing facades, and systems to support semi-autonomous building assembly.
VECTORMINIMA is looking for select partners interested in joining the growing team of manufacturers and builders who are deploying the METALOQ system and gaining access to the other innovative products in our development pipeline.
If you are interested in becoming a VECTORMINIMA manufacturing or construction partner, contact email@example.com 416 575 1630
Download a detailed METALOQ Presentation / Click on the links below
An Industry-Leading Hybrid Structural Frame System for Pre-Engineered Volumetric Modular Construction to 10+ Stories
The revolutionary METALOQ Kit Frame is easy to fabricate and assembles in a few hours with nothing more than a small crew, a flat floor and hand tools!
Ideal for enterprises of any scale, from startups and pop-ups to large established modular builders.
Three VECTORMINIMA innovations enable the efficiency of the METALOQ frame:
1) A high-fixity joist clamp joins economical Light Steel Floor Framing with heavier Cold Formed Steel Outline Members creating a hybrid structure that meets the requirements for tall stacking and damage-free module handling.
The clamped connection provides both moment and tension capacity without welding to the LSF, protecting the galvanized coating.
2) A versatile horizontal module interconnector is set flush into the top face of the module array, bringing rim beams in to edge-to-edge contact. This feature provides the option of load-bearing walls or point loaded structures (if used in combination with spacers), delivering unparalleled architectural and engineering freedom
3) The vertical module locator / connector is normally deployed in down-facing mode, providing a completely flat top to assembled module layers while simplifying temporary and permanent roofing.
Versatile, efficient frames built with Light Steel Framing and Cold-Formed Steel
Stackable to 10+ stories in a wide range of configurations
Combination load bearing / moment frame provides multiple facade options
Industry-standard stacking procedure
High strength vertical locating features guarantee precise module positioning while leaving the top face of installed modules clear of obstructions
Vertical locating features work together with bolting to deliver tension capacity for multi-story applications
Flush-topped horizontal connector transfers lateral forces between module frames
Horizontal connector spaces modules accurately and provides diaphragm action
Frames ship as easy-to-assemble kits that can be assembled in hours with no welding and nothing more than a flat floor and hand tools
Bolted connection and precision components throughout means fast assembly with no fixtures required
Edge-to-edge contact over the full length of rim beams provides exceptional force transfer for vertical load-bearing and seismic applications
Author: Julian Bowron, CTO, VECTORMINIMA
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, February 21, 2020
Modular building industry leaders have been telling us they need the competitive advantages of leading-edge structural design and simplified fabrication, but the CAPEX has to be proportionate to the benefits.
VECTORMINIMA has answered this challenge with a highly-optimized volumetric structural solution that minimizes material, labour and setup spend, both in the fabrication plant and on the jobsite. Better yet, our business model puts this industry-leading innovation on your shop floor at a fraction of the cost of assembling and managing in-house resources.
At the heart of the new company is the METALOQ Cold Formed Steel (CFS) module framing system.
METALOQ leverages the many advantages of Light Steel Framing by combining this established structural technology with Cold Formed Steel sections. This Hybrid frame meets the needs of the volumetric modular industry while streamlining the entire modular supply chain, from raw materials to hoisting and MEP connections on site.
Every member of a METALOQ “Kit Frame” has been carefully selected for its structural role and expertly detailed for ease of production and assembly. As a result of extensive structural optimization, the frame for a typical 350 sq ft hotel room weighs as little as 4,200 lbs, while achieving the high levels of stiffness required for damage-free handling.
The most disruptive feature of the new system is not its efficiency, but the fact that METALOQ “Kit Frames” arrive in your plant as a skid of precision-fabricated linear components that can be assembled in a couple of hours. All you need to make frames in house is a crew of 4 semi-skilled workers, impact drivers and a flat floor.
This unparalleled accessibility means that any modular construction enterprise, including those that are wood-based, can enter the non-combustible, multi-story market with no expenses for metal fabricating, jigs, fixtures, robots, inventory, R&D, engineering, welding certification, etc.
Imagine start-ups or pop-ups that go into production in weeks, even on or near a project site, with little more than a roof overhead and ordinary builders’ tools. You can even assemble and stack bare METALOQ frames, creating a structure in days that you finish conventionally on site!
Production of the METALOQ system components at the steel fabricator’s plant is also streamlined, dramatically reducing the CAPEX required for frame production and ensuring a dependable and profitable supply chain.
If you are a developer, builder or metal processor interested in the modular industry, VECTORMINIMA would love to hear from you!
416 575 1630
NB: VECTORMINIMA is accepting resumes for qualified, experienced modular designers, detailers and production managers currently living in the GTHA
The METALOQ joist clamp is an example of the simple but effective proprietary technology developed by VECTORMINIMA that is provided to frame fabricators and modular builders under license
Robust proprietary joist connection delivers the fixity needed for volumetric applications
The addition of a simple detail to a standard LSF joist eliminates movement at the critical joist / rim joist connection
Joist clamping avoids damage to galvanizing and provides moment action and tension capacity to the rim joist connection without welding to the joists. The fixed clamp is welded to the rim joist in a repetetive operation ideally suited to robotic process
A proprietary dimple feature enages the full web of every joist and accurately spaces the outer faces of the module frame
METALOQ frames are built with a family of components designed for high-volume production from steel coil using industry standard equipment with no need for the development of new technologies
Roll-formed joists provide ease of MEP circulation
No detail has been overlooked in the detailing of the METALOQ system
The METALOQ Kit Frame has many desirable features, with bolt-on additions coming soon
For Architects and Modular Builders:
- Capable of 10+ floors of non-combustible construction over a podium
- Load bearing walls or point loaded columns, providing industry-leading strength that will extend feasible height even further, combined with architectural and structural flexibility and seismic capacity
- Cementitious board floors and wall board easily fastened to LSF joists and studs
- Top-picked modules with precision alignment features for ease in shipping, hoisting and placement
- Flush-topped horizontal module connectors deliver diaphragm action while eliminating tripping hazards and simplifying construction rain-proofing
- Bi-directional shear capacity
- Modules vertically inter-connected from inside the module, supporting factory-installed facades
- Outward facing “C” sections throughout the structure facilitates insulation and minimizes thermal and acoustic bridging
- LSF members are fastened without welding or screws, eliminating damage to galvanizing and coatings.
For Steel Fabricators:
- No new or innovative technology required!
- All joists are made from galvanized material and all other components are open, facilitating coating and / or galvanizing
- No expensive long product is used. Manufacturing source material is 95% coil and 5% plate, delivering ultra-low scrap rates.
- Welding automation is facilitated with linear components requiring small work envelopes
Roadmap technologies under development include the following:
- Cast concrete floors
- Semi-autonomous building assembly with remote-controlled module orientation and locking technology. This globe-leading innovation eliminates the cost of large rigging and erection crews and greatly reduces the safety issues related to working at heights
- High-rise capability with lateral capacity delivered by integral core-leading and core-following systems
- Self-sealing panelized façades
- Autonomous MEP connections
In its lightest version with no column or beam thicker than 1/4" (6mm), a slender, 10 story METALOQ frame easily handles Florida wind speeds.
Standard frame version is designed for a cementitious board floor. Soon to be available with concrete floors.
Florida wind, 10 stories
Structural analysis in SAP 2000
Florida wind, 10 stories
Structural analysis in SAP 2000
Multiple continuous vertical loadpaths for tall stacking around a brace core
The METALOQ UltraFrame features multiple load-bearing vertical members that leverage the flush-top module-to-module connection to transfers loads through the entire length of partition walls, supporting tall stacking applications (in combination with brace cores). Coupled with the transverse capacity of the METALOQ joist clamp, the result is a thoroughly-braced and robust wall assembly.
1) Are more details on the METALOQ system publicly available?
a. There is a high resolution presentation on the site which can be downloaded https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ruA46PLqHoDYanVpC27HekMxQp1cbbFR/view
b. Over the next few months as we continue the design process we will add additional product details, load tables, application guides etc.
2) Do VECTORMINIMA or METALOQ build buildings or supply frame kits?
a. Our business model is to perform R&D, create IP, then license and assist builders who want to use the METALOQ system, and steel fabricators that want to make and sell the frame kits. So no, we do not build buildings or supply kits.
3) What do I get through a license agreement?
a. We are an R&D and IP engine. Our funding comes entirely from customers who want to avoid the costs of R&D but need the results. In exchange our licensees get exclusive rights to manufacture and / or deploy the METALOQ system in a defined territory and defined verticals. So far the Metro Atlanta area is taken.
4) What are the floor system options?
a. Any of the popular cementitious floor board will work and it is easy to screw board to the edges of the light steel framing floor joists. We like MgO board, it is lighter than cement board, doesn’t swell with water or crack in the cold and it has 10 x the pullout strength of fiber cement due to the layers of oriented glass fibres. Field experience is king so we are interested in opinions on the available brands; so far #MEGABOARD is a popular choice.
b. We can also “do” poured concrete floors. To check the performance we ran the SAP 2000 model to 8 floors with a slab on deck and it was fine without resorting to additional reinforcement.
5) What is the lateral system?
a. We have modeled both tension-compression bracing and tension-only bracing, in both cases internal to the partitions of the modules. Both modes work. There is a code issue here, some jurisdictions want compression, some are OK with tension only.
b. The floors and horizontal interconnections deliver diaphragm action and the rim beams of the modules are capable of transferring loads to a core, so we can isolate the lateral system to shear walls and brace cores as feasible and needed and as affected by the architectural issues.
c. The outer ends of the modules can be made with wide columns having one or more internal ribs, these confer significant moment action. The columns and beams can also be joined edge-to-edge, increasing the effective depth of both vertical and horizontal members and enhancing the moment capacity even more.
d. The cast concrete floors mentioned above further reduce the floor buckling, improving the diaphragm action and reducing the required frequency of braced bays.
6) What about seismic performance?
a. The flush module interconnection means that the top face of assembled layers of modules is flat. As a result, the upper and lower rim beams of stacked modules are in contact at all points around the modules, creating a load-bearing wall system. This means that shear loads along the plane of contact that occur when a building is subjected to horizontal acceleration can be transferred by edge bolting of the rim beams.
b. Our current plan is to include seismic behaviour and solutions in an upcoming tranche of IP. If a customer is interested in accelerating the process, we would be happy to talk.
7) The SAP2000 simulation results in a lot of blue, doesn’t that mean the METALOQ system is overbuilt?
a. The same version of the frame is used on all levels of the SAP2000 model shown on the website, so the answer is yes, for that configuration. The model was created to highlight the robustness of the METALOQ system and represents adequate performance in a worst-case scenario; slender with Florida wind values.
b. Based on our calculations, a 4-story building, or the top 4 floors of a 10-story building, can be built with 4” x 4” columns. The intermediate floors of a 10-story building require some 4” x 6” columns. The lowest floor requires 4” x 12” at corners with some 4” x 6” intermediates”. Similarly, the material of the rim joists has to be thickened, or the bracing enhanced in the lower floors of tall buildings.
c. It’s important to balance optimization with the number of SKU’s that must be produced, so while we can technically make a unique column and beam combination for every load case, it is impractical until production volumes reach the 1000+ per component range. In other words, the material savings have to be greater than the design and admin cost of a larger number of unique components and the fixtures to produce them.
8) How high can METALOQ go?
a. Due to the flush top face of METALOQ modules and the resulting full contact along the top and bottom edges of the walls, vertical loads can be transferred over the whole of the length of the wall. To achieve this in tall structures, modules must be designed with multiple vertical load paths and appropriate reinforcement of the rim beams (as shown in the presentation).
b. Load-bearing walls opens the possibility of taller stacking, with the horizontal loads transferred by the rim beams and floors in to a brace core, resulting in a proportional reduction in the tension and compression loads on the vertical structures. and on the outer load paths at the foundation level.
c. This is the approach taken by a number of the companies delivering buildings in the 30+ story range.