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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Tekla Structures version 20 offers greater level of detail

March 27th, 2014 by Susan Smith

Tekla Structures BIM software version 20 is now available, with changes in the configuration at the product packaging level. “We have basically changed the construction management configuration, now called Construction Modeling,” said Mark Allphin, business manager of the North American Steel Division. “The functionality is the same but the price has dropped significantly.”

“We also revamped our viewer configuration what we called the Project Viewer Configuration, and are now focused on model consumers. We’ve always created models for those people creating highly detailed models but we want to also bring solutions to folks who are consuming and using these models.”

The Project Viewer fits that bill, as a viewer that opens up functionality around adding information to the model. Users can’t create model objects but can add any information to model objects such as schedule information, finish information, part numbers, for scheduling or project management.

Tekla are big supporters of the Open BIM initiative and officially IFC is a big part of their business plan. Everything is designed to have high end IFC import and export, and facilitate that open exchange.

“Where sometimes standards haven’t been fully developed yet within the industry, we’ll extend that with proprietary connections to different things,” said Allphin. “We’ve enhanced integration between Revit and Tekla Structures by going beyond IFC into more proprietary information exchange, an example – we try to stick with neutral files that the industry can leverage, and pass back and forth. Where those fall short we extend that with a proprietary type of extension.”

Tekla Structures has largely focused on steel fabricators, detailers, concrete contractors, rebar detailers, and engineers wanting to do more detailed design.

“Within Trimble Buildings we have software for construction management and Prolog, estimating tools in Winest, the field solutions where we’re taking information from the model and putting into robots in the field for layout ,” said Allphin. “We are focusing on the complete workflow and taking information from the office and making it leverageable in the field.”

Just within Tekla Structures, engineers are using Tekla for conceptual design and turning that into more detailed design. They can put all connection information in there or they can pass it down to the steel detailer who works for the fabricator where they can add that information. From the detailed model they can produce fabrication information to be used in the shop. The same model can be used to put rebar or concrete in the model before getting to the field.

The model can be taken to the construction side where contractors can manage the schedule and tie it to model objects. The model information can be used to feed into total stations that will tell them where to hang the concrete or steel.

The level of detail is greater in version 20, with real welds in the models for steel customers. The product is intelligent and automatically cuts the material where the weld is to go. On the engineering side, interoperability is huge between architects and plant designers, so Smart 3D, PDMS and Revit integration has improved in version 20.

“On the concrete side, we’ve stepped up our level of importing complex geometry, whether coming from SketchUp or other design software,” said Allphin.  “You can bring in complex geometries and add associating objects that are connected to it. There are more tools to manipulate geometries and Tekla directly via the visual interface rather than a dialog, which we refer to as ‘direct manipulation of objects.’”

On the project management side, the tools available to organize models have been made available to anyone with a Tekla Structure license for all configurations.

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Categories: AEC, architecture, BIM, building information modeling, construction, engineering, field solutions, infrastructure, mobile, plant design, project management

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