Recently, Trimble introduced Tekla® Structures 21, the latest version of its building information modeling (BIM) software for the engineering and construction markets.
According to company materials, with advancements in interoperability, drawing control, usability and performance, Tekla Structures 21 improves industrial and commercial construction project workflows across construction disciplines. The new version delivers benefits to structural steel and precast concrete designers, detailers and fabricators, concrete contractors and general contractors, and enhanced collaboration with Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) design engineers, architects and others.
AECCafe Voice spoke with Mark Allphin, P.E., business manager for Steel at Tekla, Inc., a Trimble Company, about the new version and what it means for engineering and construction professionals.
AECCafe Voice: Would you say Tekla Structures 21 is a more complex BIM like Revit or one that more stakeholders, other than those actually creating and adding to the model, can take advantage of? It looks like it allows more freeflow of information with stakeholders.
Mark Allphin: Tekla Structures is both of these. It is a fully functional BIM software platform with a construction level detail capacity unmatched anywhere in the AEC software industry. Tekla Structures also offers various configurations that fit varying levels of user requirements. For instance, there are configurations for adding/modeling the full level of detail required for fabrication and construction. And, there are configurations for simply viewing and adding additional information to model objects already created. This allows project stakeholders to use the detailed model to track and manage project status and tasks, and communicate those with the rest of the project team.
AECCafe Voice:What are the most profound additions in this release?
MA: There are two new online services released with Tekla Structures 21: Tekla Model Sharing and Tekla Warehouse.
Tekla Model Sharing is a fast, secure way to share information and collaborate.A new service from Tekla, it allows project team members to work on the same Tekla Structures model from any location or time zone for faster and more flexible project delivery. Tekla Model Sharing works for all sizes of projects, both online and offline. The model data is stored safely and transferred encrypted, according to the highest security protocols.
Tekla Warehouse is a new free online BIM library of Tekla Structures add-ons, libraries and templates to help users achieve more efficient workflows and higher quality projects. The warehouse includes applications, custom components, parts, profiles and materials such as steel and concrete grades, rebar, mesh, shapes and templates for Tekla Structures. Manufacturers can upload their products and tools to the Tekla Warehouse, allowing Tekla Structures users to build models with the highest accuracy and exact material information for planning and procurement. All content is easy to find, import, install and share internally and globally.
Also, there are numerous modeling and drawing enhancements, a few of which are as follows…
Simpler, More Efficient Modeling — Tekla Structures 21’s new “what you see is what you get” direct modification makes modeling more intuitive and user friendly. Drawing construction lines, circles and points and placing custom parts is straightforward, and editing the position is easy and immediate. The Tekla Structures Organizer tool allows users to use the accurate, object-based material data in the model for quantity take-offs, while automation eliminates tedious manual counting or post processing. Improvements in the precast concrete floor layout make it easier to create and detail precast slabs. With mesh bars, reinforcement modeling is also easier, more efficient and reliable.
Drawing Control and Automation – Tekla Structures 21 provides greater control over drawings by simplifying the processes of navigating, printing
And viewing drawing properties. Tekla users also can now give customized company-specific dimensions to their own standard parts, such
as bolts and embeds. Tekla’s view level control of dimensioning automates working with assemblies like handrails, cast units and
sandwich walls. Welds and weld marks in drawings support customization and weld paths can be shown in single-part drawings.
Better Concrete Pours — Tekla Structures 21 makes modeling cast-in-place concrete and modifying pour breaks easier and more reliable. Because concrete pour information is now automatically inherited after a pour break, no vital information will be lost.
AECCafe Voice: How has integration improved between this release and Revit?
MA: Our integration with Revit has been augmented in two ways with this release. Our link with Revit has been updated to provide deeper data transfer, enabling more information to be referenced and even accessed on drawings. Also, we have enhanced our IFC Change Management functionality allowing more control in the detection, management and accommodation of changes between subsequent IFC files exchanged with other project participants. This works very well in a Revit-to-Tekla and vice versa workflow where model coordination is the focus.
AECCafe Voice: Does the product integrate with the BIM software of other companies such as Bentley BIM?
MA: Absolutely. Tekla is a primary supporter of the Open BIM initiative and Building Smart, which means we are dedicated to comprehensive IFC model exchangebetween software platforms. However, we also offer integration with software such as Bentley’s ISM technology, Autodesk’s Revit platform, and Trimble SketchUp Pro via direct integration links. In addition, Tekla is a Trimble Connected product enabling data flow within the complete suite of Trimble Buildings software applications.
AECCafe Voice: Can you describe a common workflow for the use of this product?
MA: In all seriousness, this could be a near endless answer because of all the various workflows that are in use today. However, the most common workflow would be similar to the following: A Structural Engineer first uses Tekla Structures to create a conceptual design model, either from scratch or from a ‘seed’ model provided by an architect using Revit or Archicad. The Engineer can also link with various structural analysis & design software, including the recently released Tekla Structural Designer, to refine the model for the design loads. The model can then be passed to various trade detailers and sub-contractors, such as steel and rebar detailers, so that they can add the appropriate level of detail necessary for fabrication. This includes the production of shop drawings and CNC data that will drive automated machinery in the shop. This detailed, construction-level model can then be passed to the general contractor, sub-contractors and other project participants for use in further coordination, execution and tracking of the project including reporting and model colorization for project status of individual assemblies/pours. And, now with the release of Model Sharing for Tekla Structures 21, this can all be hosted in a cloud environment for access by all parties. Tekla Structures provides a complete model solution for cradle-to-grave design, fabrication and construction of the building structure.
AECCafe Voice: Is there a way for users to focus on one specific area of interest of the building model without having to access the entire building model? Please describe.
MA: Yes, there are tools within Tekla Structures for categorizing and ‘partitioning’ the project based on area, level, material, etc. so that a user may quickly isolate only the portions of the model that they need at that time. This is achieved with the Organizer tool which is automated and has also been enhanced in v21.
Bentley Systems announced that it has acquired the French company Acute3D, provider of Smart3DCapture software for reality modeling.
Acute3D Smart3DCapture has five different editions, two of which are what the company refers to as “prosumer” editions; consumer customers and professionals working on small non-georeferenced projects can use these two editions to simply generate 3D models from photos.
Through reality modeling, photos from a variety of sources, including those from smartphones as well as high-resolution aerial imaging, can capture existing conditions that are then identified, processed and assigned points and texturized automatically into accurate representations of reality. The resulting high resolution, 3D mesh can be exported into GIS or CAD software. This is a standalone application for the desktop.
Bentley’s broad view of products dedicated to infrastructure is a good fit for Acute3D and helps both organizations extend their reach, as they are focused on the infrastructure lifecycle, from design through construction and into operations.
Acute3D is designing reality capture software for UAV operators who consume photos from various sources. “UAVs are capturing data with cameras for specific purposes,” said Dr. Jean-Philippe Pons of Acute3D. “They are used largely for land surveying for volume calculations features and reporting changes to the owners. The rest of the technology is the same whether you’re using it for UAVs or for mobile mapping.”
Acute3D already has amassed a number of customers and UAV manufacturers who are using their reality modeling Smart3DCapture.
Other areas in which Acute3D products are being used are on the site-to-city scale, for transportation, roads, mining, oil and gas. The beauty of the Smart3DCapture is that, with very little effort, customers can automatically generate from photos a 3D ‘reality mesh’ that is very accurate and detailed. These 3D ‘reality meshes’ can be exported into different software and can be used in the final data representations for contextual alignment for design modelingand construction modeling environments.
By beginning with existing conditions garnered from photos of the site, data capture can be achieved more simply and more affordably than from laser scanning.
Acute3D was co-founded in 2011 by researchers Dr. Jean-Philippe Pons and Dr. Renaud Keriven, who have led an accomplished team of researchers and developers, headquartered in Sophia Antipolis. In the beginning, Acute3D worked with an OEM in a cloud-based capacity that acquired over 6 million users of this solution; they focused on geospatial and became more involved in mobile mapping.
They decided to develop their own desktop application rather than remain with OEMs, because they wanted contact with the end users and wanted to be ready to react to the market. Smart3DCapture is the result of that decision.
Since the company was founded, Acute3D has attracted an impressive, expanding user base that includes Nokia, PASCO, and Saint-Gobain, and OEM licensees like Autodesk. Large-scale 3D city modeling is an area being explored by Acute3D with Internet giant Tencent where they are teaming up to design and build several mega-cities in China, from both aerial and street view photography. Acute3D applications also extend to gathering existing conditions capture for construction sites, manufacturing facilities, mining operations, pipelines, and oil and gas exploration.
Bentley Systems Founder and CTO Keith Bentley said, “The world-class Acute3D developers have already achieved two breakthroughs, which remove the barriers to the adoption of reality modeling. First, Acute3D has made it possible for anyone to sufficiently capture existing conditions with just a camera. Of equal importance is the value of the Acute3D result. Rather than a voluminous cloud of discrete points, Acute3D produces a 3D ‘reality mesh’ – intrinsically in the same geometric idiom as engineering models, readily aligning the real-world context.
“Just as Acute3D’s innovations have now brought reality modeling within reach of every infrastructure professional, we and our new colleagues are excited to be working together to incorporate Acute3D functionality throughout our platform and application portfolio, enhancing information mobility throughout infrastructure asset lifecycles.”
Acute3D Dr. Jean-Philippe Pons said, “When Renaud and I founded Acute3D, our vision was to make widely available, at industrial precision, what we now describe as reality modeling. With our team, we are very pleased to be joining Bentley to complete our reach. Together, we have already shared and embarked upon many new initiatives to incorporate reality modeling within design and construction modeling. Voila!”
Cities worldwide are charged with the same challenge: that of creating or retrofitting sustainable, intelligent infrastructure. Cities need the best in design, geospatial, visualization and analytical tools to realize a viable and intelligent city design. 3D City design is architectural design times thousands, plus it must have the ability to be interwoven with other surrounding infrastructure and foster an urban conversation.
In an interview with AECCafe Voice, John Bacus, director of SketchUp product management at Trimble, discussed the new features of Trimble Connect, that offers a new way for designers, builders, owners and operators to collaborate, share and view project information. It is based on GTeam, the collaboration platform developed by Gehry Technologies.
Bentley’s newly announced CONNECT Edition provides a very complex and deep common environment to extend across work groups and enterprises, without changing the basic file format of the products that users have an investment in already.
Bhupinder Singh, senior vice president at Bentley Systems, gave a keynote Thursday, November 7th at the Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2014 event in which CONNECT Edition was explained to the audience.
Singh began by saying that Bentley’s platform approach is to extend it to include your desktops, servers and handheld devices.
“When you have suites, there is still a disconnect,” said Singh. “A goal was to improve information mobility with CONNECT Edition. When you begin you connect to a project, everyone connects to a project profile, then there is a project playbook, and personal playlist – an individual set of apps for the user.” This is similar to the playlist you get with your Apple iTunes music list.
The benefits are: reducing time it takes to get project started, to get supply chains on board, and the data you have becomes increasingly more valuable. (more…)
Mike Detwiler, Bentley vice president and Rachel Rogers, Bentley director Civil, Geospatial, and Hydraulics & Hydrology, spoke with AECCafe Voice this week about the Bentley acquisition of North Carolina-based BLUERIDGE Analytics, provider of SITEOPS civil engineering cloud software, in August 2014.
The ability to integrate video surveillance into building information modeling adds a new very important dimension to the design of buildings.Vince Lupe, director of Business Development, Hikvision USA (pronounced “HikeVision”), discussed the way Hikvision’s cameras and video surveillance systems are made an integral part of all architectural design, by being considered in the Building Information Model from the early design phase.
AECCafe Voice: How are Hikvision’s cameras considered CAD elements?
Vince Lupe: System layout and camera field of view are accurately viewed at the earliest stages of the design process, improving device placement, decreasing incompatibility issues, and boosting efficiency overall. In this way, video surveillance is transformed from an afterthought to an architectural cornerstone – a trend that is especially suited for Hikvision’s user-friendly and highly scalable products.
Hikvision’s award-winning array of video surveillance solutions, including bullet, dome, box, turret, PTZ, and fisheye cameras, as well as rackmount and standalone DVRs and NVRs, are all available options. With functionality and usability as Hikvision trademarks, the BIM counterparts to the real-life technology follow suit.
AECCafe Voice: Who are your customers?
Security consultants, architects and engineering firms, security specifiers
End-user customers, building owners, property managers
Security distribution channels
AECCafe Voice: Do users utilize Hikvision content in Autodesk Seek or can it go directly into Autodesk Revit?
Vince Lupe: They can access the content in Seek for use in Revit.
AECCafe Voice: Is the content in the cloud?
Vince Lupe: Not yet. It will be part of our AE portal for easy download and accessibility for our customers.
AECCafe Voice:Can you suggest a sample workflow including Hikvision?
Vince Lupe: An architect, engineer, or security system designer can download Hikvision camera models directly into their BIM model to see exactly where a camera will be placed, what the scene will look like through the camera lens, and what its blind spots might be, allowing for adjustments to be made in terms of the physical construction of the structure, or in terms of the types of cameras and where they will be placed. The BIM model can even be dropped into a three dimensional area of the neighborhood where the building will be located, in order to get a glimpse of what the fields of view of any exterior cameras would be. Important details such as product features, model numbers, and physical characteristics are included in the models for a quick reference to designers and can be changed with a click of the mouse. One of the most important elements of such a streamlined workflow is that it allows for a true collaborative process from the very earliest stages. Electrical wiring, lighting, location of building entrances, and other design elements can be taken into consideration to create the most efficient and effective video surveillance system.
AECCafe Voice:Is the federal government interested in this product or using it currently?
Vince Lupe: We’re thrilled at the prospect that the federal government will be able to incorporate Hikvision into their BIM models, and we’re eager to hear of the success stories from that market.
Hewlett-Packard Co said it would split into two listed companies, separating its computer and printer businesses from its corporate hardware and services operations, thereby eliminating another 5,000 jobs that would be part of its “turnaround plan.” The company currently has over 300,000 employees.
The 75-year-old company has been trying to keep pace with the new era of mobile and online computing. HP has no plans to try to go into the consumer mobile devices market. Shares were up 4.4 percent at $36.78 in Monday’s late morning trading.
Chief Executive Meg Whitman told Reuters the newly created HP Inc would mostly stick to its mainstay products– PCs and printers, while exploring related markets such as 3D printing.
Shareholders will own a stake in both businesses through a tax-free transaction next year, said HP. The two businesses each contributes about half of HP’s revenue and profit.
HP’s revenues have increased over the past few years so that they are splitting the company at a time when they have a position of strength. The idea behind the sale is that HP will be able to focus on the more profitable side of its business.
“Shareholders will now be able to invest in the respective asset groups without the fear of cross-subsidies and inefficiencies that invariably plague large business conglomerates,” Ralph Whitworth, former HP chairman and founder of Relational Investors LLC, said in a statement.