A distributed design environment that allows the exchange of high-level design information between different sites and companies, is yielding cost-savings in the construction industry
The design process in the construction industry often involves input from different companies. COMBI has developed a number of systems to integrate and support engineering design, and to exchange high-level design information on the Internet between heterogeneous design tools. The communication management tool includes a hierarchical object-oriented product model and a mapping and matching language for model transformations, without requiring a common standardised product database.
Intelligent design tools have been developed for soil classification, soil profile analysis, preliminary structural design, foundation design and the design of structural reinforcements. Final structural analysis was integrated with computer-aided design (CAD) technology and automatic mechanical to numerical model transformation, i.e. automatic mesh generation and refinement.
The design process depends heavily on the co-ordination of information between designers; delays can incur penalties, particularly in large-scale engineering projects, as well as raising construction costs. Such projects will benefit substantially from the COMBI tools and frameworks which allow the electronic exchange of design data and models, for example on the Internet, enabling better and faster co-ordination and reduced design time. The decision-support design tools in geotechnical engineering and in structural engineering enable faster development and improved quality early in the design process. The artificial intelligence (AI) methodology applied allows the designer to quickly generate and evaluate optimal design solutions. In addition, the integration tool speeds up the design process, especially in the early phases of design. An interactive graphical user interface supports the designer by adapting to and anticipating his actions, avoiding boring repetition and an overloaded interface.
A range of tools has been developed. PROMINENT is a product-model based management tool: a kind of server to manage the distributed data bases of the virtual design enterprise. CVM is a data interface between the product model and the present state of the CAD data model. PRED is a knowledge-based decision-support system for conceptual and preliminary structural design. GCFD-XPS is a knowledge-based system for classification of soil, analysis of the geo-structure and preliminary design of the foundation system. ISA is an integrated CAD environment for structural analysis, dimensioning and detailing, and RC-XPS is an expert system for reinforcement design. These tools also support non-numerical analysis, synthesis and decision tasks.
The tools are at different stages of development. ISA and RC-XPS are marketed by SOFiSTiK in several European countries. GCFD-XPS is available on special request at D'Appolonia, Genova, where the tool has been permanently applied since early 1995 in their daily work. PRED and PROMINENT, which are at the prototype stage, are being demonstrated through various public and in-house events.
tel +49- 711-250-60 -- fax +49-711-250-6200R. J. Scherer Technische Universität Dresden Inst. f. Baumechanik u. Bauinformatik Lehrstuhl für Computeranwendung im Bauwesen (CIB) D-01062 Dresden Germany
tel +49-351-463-2966 -- fax +49-351-463-3975
Research Area Integration in Manufacturing
Keywords construction industry; co-operative design; distributed systems; knowledge-based systems;
|CIB TU Dresden DE|
|Computeranwendung in der Bauplanung (CAB) DE|
|D'Apollonia S.p.A. IT|
|General Construction Company S.A.|
|Leonhardt Andrä & Partner GmbH DE|
|SOFISTIK Hellas S.A|
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