Need for an efficient structural framing system

In late 2000, inventor Robert J. Simmons conceived the ConXR200 connection to address the need for an efficient structural framing system for the then robust high-density residential and mixed-use markets. An entrepreneur, Mr. Simmons had established, owned and was operating successful businesses in the construction industry for three decades. His years of hands on field experience and management, executive insight and a keen desire to efficiently deliver the ultimate in quality and value lead him to invent and deploy the ConX System. The system was developed, peer reviewed, tested and refined over the following three years in Mr. Simmons’ barn.

In 2004, ConXtech was founded, incorporated as a Delaware Corporation, and moved into a 122,000 Sq Ft facility in Hayward, California, where the team began to build its manufacturing, fabrication and world-class structural testing capabilities. This facility is capable of producing 6M Sq Ft of structural steel frame annually.

To date, ConXtech has offered a complete turn-key structural solution for owners and developers who specify ConX as the structural “chassis” for their projects. ConXtech’s present capabilities include education on the ConX System, design assistance for designers and engineers, structural engineering services, connector manufacturing, fabrication and field installation.

Development phases I and II (2004-2011)

Through its developmental years ConXtech has delivered 50+ structures into various markets, totaling approximately 6M Sq Ft. The company has invested in two major development phases.

Phase I: From 2004 through 2007, the company successfully focused on innovating and delivering its products into the high-density residential market working for some of the largest multi-family housing developers in the nation. High density residential projects include: 235 Berry Street, 127,000 Sq Ft for Signature Properties, 550 Moreland, 388,000 Sq Ft for Prometheus Development Company, The Crossing, 525,000 Sq Ft for SNK Realty, and approximately 3M Sq Ft for an array of regional and national developers.

In this single market, ConXtech achieved 100% year-on-year growth during this period. During Phase I, ConXtech experienced consistent rapid growth until the collapse of the residential market in 2007.

Phase II: The second development phase ran from 2007 through 2011. In mid-2007, Simmons began development of a new connection to broaden ConXtech’s offering and position the company to sell into other market segments which required structures with a longer span between columns. This innovative new connection design, ConXL, was adjustable, accommodating not only longer spans but also different beam depths. By April of 2008 (one year from the inception of the design) the factory was reconfigured and operating a ConXL production line in addition to the ConXR line. A five-story office building totaling 156,000 SqFt was expedited through fabrication and erected in the field in 14 working days (12,000 Sq Ft/day).

During this phase the company innovated, integrated, documented and deployed its offerings into a wide range of market segments including Commercial Office, Industrial/Energy, Healthcare, Data Centers, Military and temporary structures. ConXtech expanded its market reach and proved the ConX System in expanded markets for leading owners and operators and began to enable a Certified Network of Fabricators and Erectors to also deliver the ConXtech’s innovative solution.

These projects include Medical Office Buildings (MOB’s) for Kaiser Permanente, a Law School for Stanford University, a Pipe Rack structure for AERA Energy (JV between ExxonMobil and Shell), an Armed Forces Readiness Facility at Moffett Field for the U.S. Army and a progressive collapse resistant lodge for the United States Navy.

Key milestones

ConXtech accomplished the following key milestones:

  • Invented, tested and deployed the ConXL system for long span structural applications.
  • Built a full-scale bi-axial test facility (the first of its kind in the world) to prove the structural robustness of its connections.
  • Proved the ConX System in seven additional market segments.
  • Expanded its Patent and IP Portfolio from nine to 67 patents (with 23 still pending).
  • Achieved International Building Code (IBC) adoption through American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) code committee approval.
  • Gained acceptance by Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) for use in California hospitals.
  • Engaged and enabled its first ConX Certified Fabricator/Erector, The Herrick Corporation – one of the largest steel fabricators in the United States with capabilities abroad as well.
  • Gained acceptance by Division of the State Architect (DSA) for use in California schools.

These development phases were essential to educate the owners and the building community, win initial bids, demonstrate the value of ConX at every phase of the project cycle and establish ConXtech as the clear leader in providing tangible value and systemic efficiency through disruptive technology. The resources invested to date advanced ConXtech through the research and development process, prototyping phase, testing protocols, code approval, productization and successful deployment of its products into multiple markets.

Additionally ConXtech developed a modular turn-key fabrication facility which could be replicated and deployed into existing fabrication operations. This was necessary to prove to a skeptical fabrication community that a) they could achieve the tolerances necessary to allow the ConX System to predictably assemble in the field and b) they could produce ConX at a rate of 2x the industry average by leveraging a highly automated, dimensionally-precise and process-driven production line.