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 »
March 20th, 2015 by Susan Smith
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.
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 exchange between 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.
March 12th, 2015 by Susan Smith
Dave Taylor, product design manager at IMSI/Design, spoke with AECCafe Voice about the recent release of TurboCAD Pro 2015 and TurboCAD Pro Platinum 2015.
March 4th, 2015 by Susan Smith
Rand Worldwide announced in December at AU 2014 that its IMAGINiT Technologies division released key features provide more power, flexibility and enhance BIM coordinators’ abilities to monitor projects with IMAGINiT Clarity, IMAGINiT Clarity Connect and IMAGINiT Clarity Connect LT.
February 25th, 2015 by Susan Smith
PipelineFX CEO Richard Lewis spoke with AECCafe Voice back in December about their render farm manager Qube! and the company perspective.
February 20th, 2015 by Susan Smith
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!”
February 17th, 2015 by Susan Smith
First published in GISCafe Voice:
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.
February 10th, 2015 by Susan Smith
Andrew Anagnost, Autodesk senior vice president of Industry Strategy & Marketing, spoke recently about the new initiative from Autodesk in which new commercial seats of most standalone desktop software products will be available only by Desktop Subscription beginning February 1, 2016.
February 3rd, 2015 by Susan Smith
David Burczyk, Segment Manager Field Solutions at Trimble, spoke with AECCafe Voice about the the company’s Rapid Positioning System, that includes Trimble RPT600 Layout Station, for layout of points and to capture them as-built measurements, and Trimble Field Link 2D software that runs on a performance tablet to control the layout station.
January 27th, 2015 by Susan Smith
I’ve been reviewing what people have been discussing at conferences this year, and what their thoughts are for 2015. While so many topics such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) have been around for awhile, they are still very relevant moving forward. Customers are still grappling with challenging problems surrounding project delivery and collaboration. Others want to ensure that the model they build will not only last through the life of the project, but will extend beyond it into the future, for operations and maintenance. Reality capture, UAVs, scanning, data management, data acquisition as a service, cloud computing, are all technologies we have today, yet will be front and center in the AEC community going forward into the new year.
January 21st, 2015 by Susan Smith
By Gordon Beckman, AIA – Principal and Design Director, John Portman & Associates
Looking ahead, advances in technology may have the biggest influence on the work that we will do in 2015 and the way that we do it. The dynamic, collaborative and performance-driven nature of our profession causes us to continue our quest for ever more efficient, meaningful and expedient ways of working.