Trus JoistTrus Joist PDF
 Boise, Idaho ­ Ada County
Project Area: New Product Development

Founded and built on a solid foundation of innovation, Trus Joist thrives by exploring and developing new ideas and products such as the TJ®-Shear Panel, a prefabricated wood solution for structures needing a high-aspect-ratio shear wall. One key feature of the TJ®-Shear Panel is that it is anchored to a building’s concrete foundation via two 7/8″ anchor bolts (shown at left). Finding a way to correctly position and hold the anchor bolts in place while they were set in concrete was a critical challenge. The TJ design team led by Corporate Engineer, Scott Soule, began designing a plastic anchor bolt holder that could be nailed to a concrete form. The main goal was that the holder be simple to use and foolproof to install.
Scott learned about the TechHelp New Product Development (NPD) Team during a tour of the Boise State University Engineering Facility. He hoped to be able develop the bolt holder more quickly using a TechHelp team that had experience working with plastics and the software and hardware tools needed to quickly design and test prototypes. TechHelp’s team of full time engineering professionals and part time student employees perfectly met Scott’s needs.

The design team led by TechHelp NPD Manager, Steve Hatten (pictured at left), met to determine product goals and attributes and to develop a scope of work. TechHelp used advanced software programs to conduct finite element analysis of various virtual models and materials to assess stress, strain and deformation characteristics and to develop a model that would best meet TJ’s needs. The team then used sophisticated prototyping machines to create and test a series of prototypes that led to the creation of a final product .

The TJ®-BoltCollar and anchor bolt spacer ensure that anchor bolts are accurately placed and require no measuring to set the proper depth and spacing. TJ indicated that TechHelp’s ability to quickly make and test prototypes was key to moving the anchor bolt holder project along quickly and reaching a satisfactory result.


  • The TJ®-BoltCollar and Shear Panel were conceived, designed, modeled, prototyped and tested in the US.
  • The TJ®-BoltCollar is made by a local manufacturer in the Boise area.
  • Test Panels were produced in a Boise pilot plant pictured at right.
  • TJ built a new 30,000 foot production plant in Chino, CA to accommodate full production.
  • Sales of TJ®-Shear Panels reached 18,000 in 2004 and are expected to hit 28,000 in 2005.
  • Trus Joist expects to sell 40,000 TJ®-BoltCollars by the end of 2005 and about 75,000 in 2006.


I was most impressed by TechHelp’s flexibility and willingness to work with us to meet our needs. By making use of TechHelp’s ability to rapidly produce and test prototypes, we were able to move quickly from about a 65% level of product satisfaction to about a 95% level.Scott Soule, Corporate Engineer, Trus Joist


At left, Scott holds an early hinged version of the TJ®-BoltCollar