DELMIA Applications for Construction
About 10 months ago I was sitting in a design team meeting for the UBC Brock Commons Phase 1 Project (also known as Tall Wood) and the development manager was watching the DELMIA sequencing simulation we created to analyze the assembly process when he said to the team “This is great, in construction we never practice. Every project is different and we only get one chance to build the prototype. This is a game changer because now we can practice, we can try things and fail, learn and try something new, all prior to digging a hole in the ground.” I thought that was a genuine moment capturing the frustration of seasoned veterans in the construction industry. Practicing, as he referred to the simulation, in the manufacturing industry is called a Digital Mock Up. Due to the cost structures in the manufacturing world, digital mock ups are the most cost effective and timely way to test part designs, assemblies and assist with optimization for later design iterations. With some tweaks to fit our process, we can do the same in construction.
There are a few options on the market for looking at this type of modeling and simulation, I will talk in the article about DELMIA 3DEXPERIENCE on cloud, an extremely powerful software tool that is popular in the shipbuilding, aerospace and automotive industries. DELMIA is not just about simulation, it is a large player in robotics and CAD/CAM integration, among other applications. We are trying to capture that sequencing simulation capability and apply them to help solve problems in construction. There are a few levels of detail in the following ways:
- Detailed construction assembly sequencing evaluation with time motion study: We are using this to drill down into the assembly of live construction processes, either at a larger macro level, or at the minute details of a freestanding core form-work sequence (see below). At this level it’s not about the GANTT, we are at the component level we are trying to apply assumed times into construction processes or, working backwards from the full sequence and aggregate time and breaking down each step to see where processes can be automated to hit a target full construction timeline. This starts to get fun for an engineer and can provide invaluable feedback in a digital mock up environment to optimize the full construction process, regardless if the project is stick built, prefab, modular or a hybrid of any one of these.
2. Process planning with manufacturing item definition and Manufacturing Bill of Materials (MBOM): Now we are getting into true optimized construction workflows with this level of simulation. The process planner and manufacturing item definition level of detail really lends itself to prefab and/or modular processes but can be applied to stick build processes as well. At this level we are taking construction pre-planning to a new level by breaking down master assemblies down to sub assemblies and ultimately to the individual part levels. At each of these levels precedence links can be created to define the real life sequence of installation on site to analyze sequences, identify bottlenecks, enable just in time with lead time analysis from subcontractors/suppliers (objects can be linked to ERP and logistics tracking systems), export the final GANTT chart for construction (after optimizing in DELMIA), generate automatic BOM’s and even draft spool drawings directly from DELMIA. Shipbuilding, airplanes…we do this for construction projects and it’s a competitive advantage.
3. 4D modeling: The linking of 3D geometry and a 1D project schedule is not novel but a good start in terms of planning and scheduling. It also helps think through site logistics, crane locations, lay down areas, temporary hoarding, etc. and DELMIA has 4D clash detection capabilities which can help for crane swing analysis (see below for a mash up of 4D models we have done recently).
If you have more questions or comments about this email me at email@example.com, I love to talk shop.