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Software cracks 3D translation

CONSULTANT WHITBY Bird & Partners and steel fabricator Rowen claim to have launched the first commercially viable computer modelling system that can to talk to software from all parts of the construction team.

Developed by CIMsteel, the pan-European Computer Integrated Manufacturing for Steel Construction, the system enables a three dimensional model to be used with structural analysis, estimating, fabrication and even project planning software.

The new software was unveiled during last week's National Steel Construction Week. The system allows engineers to create 'virtual frames' that can be analysed and priced quickly. The designer can then simply compare the appearance, behaviour and price of different alternatives. The model can then be fed into construction management software to show an animated sequence of construction.

CIMsteel has been attempting to harmonise design codes and introduce computer integrated manufacturing techniques for almost a decade. But difficulties in the development of translation software has held up progress.

Feedback from Whitby Bird and Rowen, which used the early versions of the software on a factory development in Kent, has been central to the development of the first version of the CIMsteel program.

(See profile, page 11).

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