Canadian Consulting Engineer
New Digital ToolsEngineering
WATER MODELLINGHaestad Methods announced the development of Darwin in October as a "revolutionary" new software program for modelling stormwater conveyance systems and water and sewer networks. Darwin...
Haestad Methods announced the development of Darwin in October as a “revolutionary” new software program for modelling stormwater conveyance systems and water and sewer networks. Darwin is based on an advanced hybrid form of genetic algorithms pioneered by Dr. Zheng Yi Wu and Dr. Tom Walski. It mimics the natural selection process by evolving new generations of “fitter” solutions as it proceeds. The fittest solution for the desired conditions is used as the starting point for the next generation of solutions, with changes and mutations entering the mix as better solutions evolve.
The program can evaluate billions of parameter combinations in a short time, enabling optimal designs, model calibrations and operational strategies to emerge in seconds. The company says the program “allows engineers to complete tasks with a level of accuracy previously not possible … even using the world’s fastest computers.”
Engineers can use the Darwin software for determining cost effective conveyance systems in StormCAD, scheduling pumps, model calibrations and design in WaterCAD, and the rehabilitation and design of sanitary collection systems in SewerCAD.
In October, Bentley Systems held a 90-minute simulcast with 19 cities around the world launching MicroStation V8, the first in its V8 Generation. The company announces this line as a “new era” in integrated engineering that crosses the boundaries of file formats, project teams and time zones.
With V8 Generation, MicroStation is no longer explicitly tied to the DGN file format. It will natively reference and edit AutoCAD DWG files and it fully accommodates AutoCAD DWG data including graphics, layers, viewports and layouts. The information in DWG files and DGN files can be interchanged even in the same session via references.
The software also has a design history feature, which tracks all changes made on a design, including date, time and comments about why changes were made.
The V8 product includes hundreds of other enhancements including automatic referencing and unit conversion, project standards libraries, AccuSnap, Auto-Locate, embedded XML and support for the standard Visual Basic for Applications.
MicroStation V8 is U.S. $4,450 to Bentley Select Certificate licencees.
Autodesk introduced several new products and updates this fall. One is the Autodesk Raster Design (previously called the CAD Overlay). This is a tool for integrating paper drawings and visual material such as photographs and satellite images into the digital design process, helping to do away with the need to digitally recreate drawings from scratch.
November also saw Autodesk release its Civil Series, a software bundle that consists of the company’s Autodesk Civil Design 3, Land Desktop 3, Survey 3 and Raster Design. The series is available only by enrolling in the Autodesk Subscription program — a recent development whereby users pay an annual fee in return for upgrades, add-on tools and training. Another new product is the Vertical Alignment Editor Extension, a modular enhancement for the Autodesk Civil Design application to simplify road engineering.
There is a new version of the Autodesk MapGuide intended for local governments, utilities etc. who distribute mapping, GIS and other design data over the web to non-technical users. New features of MapGuide 6 include support for Oracle 9 and XML.
Autodesk also announced new programs for building engineers in September — Autodesk Building Mechanical and Building Electrical. These are model-based programs built on Autodesk Architectural Desktop 3.3. and AutoCAD 2002 which allow engineers to design with objects like ducts, pipes or wires that “know” their form, fit and function and are “smart” enough to automatically update themselves and reflect changes as the design develops.
Integrated Engineering Software is issuing ShapeBuilder 3 early in 2002 as a tool for defining structural and geometric properties for built-up and custom sections. Priced at around U.S. $295, it has extensive shape libraries and provides easy ways to create shapes such as reinforced concrete or composite steel sections. It has a CAD-like interface, and can export shapes to any program, including VisualAnalyis, the flagship product of the same company. VisualAnalysis 4.0 is a finite element tool for everyday structural analysis. The designer simply has to sketch the model, define the properties, apply the loads graphically and gets full-colour reports. It includes advanced analysis features such as static and dynamic analysis, cracked moment of inertia, sectional modulus, etc.
STRAP V9.0 was issued by ATIR Engineering Software in 2001. The graphic 3D static/dynamic frame and finite element analysis and design program was developed for structural engineers. It has design modules for rolled and light gauge steel, reinforced concrete beams, columns and foundations and composite beams according to the latest Canadian (CSA), U.S., British and European standards. Other modules in the series include STRAPBridge for calculating load patterns and result types, SRAPSway for sway analysis and CROSEC for calculating section properites of solid and thin walls.
Softek Services expanded its Structural Office Suite with B-Line issued in September. It is a stand-alone program for the analysis, design and detailing of reinforced concrete beams. It has a visual editor for changing dimensions and reinforcing configurations, T-beams, L-beams, slab bands etc. and it automatically generates load combinations (patterned). It will plot torsion, shear and moment diagrams with or without moment redistribution.
Softek is also issuing new releases (Version 6) for all its products early in 2002, including a new version of the S-Frame program which is up to 1,000 times faster than predecessors and has dynamic pan and zoom, new paramatric grids and HTML help features.
TekCAD/Tekstar software by StarNet International of the U.S. was used to design the geometry of the globe on top of the recently completed Al-Faisaliah Tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. StarNet was called in when Prince Bander decided he wanted to add the globe on top of the 267-metre skyscraper designed by Buro Happold and Sir Norman Foster. The globe appears to float and has 340 hubs, 995 struts and 655 glass panels in a 6-frequency icosohedronal class projection. TekCAD is promoted as a robust, mathematically adept Java-based software for designing sophisticated three-dimensional structures including spaceframes, cones, polyhedra and torils.
Deltek Systems is to incorporate and license Meridian Project Systems’ Prolog Manager into its product line. The partnership (a letter of intent was signed in November) will produce a customized version of Meridien’s Prolog integrated into Deltek Costpoint, thus unifying project management with project accounting. Deltek Costpoint is for medium to large-sized businesses for accounting, people administration, billing, materials management and reporting. Meridien’s Prolog Manager tracks a project from beginning to end, including procurement, cost controls, document management, and field management. It is built on the Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 database platform.
E-Build.ca based in Markham Ontario, is due to launch the first commercial on-line project management service designed by and for all sectors of the Canadian construction industry — everybody from engineers to contractors, manufacturers, etc.. The suite of services — the Collaborative Business Platform — has been in the pilot stage until now and accommodates everything from initial concept, design and engineering, to bidding, construction and close-out. The platform is secure and has the capability for red-lining and allows parties to collaborate in real time. Service fees are subscription-based and vary depending on usage and hard-drive storage requi
rements. E-Build bought Sequion Networking Solutions in 1999, and acquired CompuBid in January 2000. It is partially funded by various local construction industry players.
Primavera Systems announced three products at the A/E/C Systems conference in November. One is a new hand-held module for the Primavera Enterprise project management software suite. The Mobile Manager is compatible with the Palm OS and is supported by Onsyss Mobile Computing. Using Mobile Manager, project managers can have on-the-spot access and input to project data. The company also introduced Primavera Enterprise 3.0; it provides cross-project views of all the work under way in a company and comes with a new version of Primavision, a web-based collaborative platform. Another release was an upgrade of the Progress Payments module to Primavera PrimeContract.
Visit www. primavera.com
Last November the Toronto Construction Association chose Timberline Software Corporation’s CAD Integrator for the 2001 Innovative Product/Technology Award. CAD Integrator is estimating software that incorporates a new standard called Industry Foundation Classes or IFCs. The standard allows the exchange of data between disparate programs such as CAD drawings and cost estimating. The IFC standard is designed, published and certified by the International Alliance for Interoperability, a non-profit industry organization.
The software allows estimaters to produce take-offs and cost estimates directly from a CAD drawing. Timberline says it drastically custs down on work time and is accurate as it virtually eliminates the need to re-key data from design drawings.
The new generation of powerful desktops from IBM this year include the IntelliStation M Pro with Intel Xeon processor. The station has an Intel Xeon processor at up to 2.0 GHz, which is dual capable. It has a 400 MHz front-side bus, up to 4GB of memory and fast ATA/100 or Ultra160 SCSI hard disc drives to boost productivity. Selling for between $2,700 and $5,000, it allows the operator to render in real time, run comprehensive simulations, manage larger data sets etc.
Pushing the edge is the IBM IntelliStation Z Pro with Intel Itanium processors — a 64-bit high-power workstation with deep scalability. Priced around $25,000, it is said to “cross the digital divide,” and is ready for the first wave of Itanium-optimized applications. The computer has dual Itanium processors at 800MHz with 2MB L3 cache, addressable memory expanding up to 16GB ECC SDRAM, 266MHz data bus and 2.1GBps bandwidth for system bus transactions. Still want more power? It can be expanded with 9 bays, 8 slots and a massive 800w power supply.
Visit www. ibm.com/intellistation
PRINTERS & DOCUMENTS
Xerox Engineering Systems introduced several new wide-format digital printers late last year. One, the X2-TECH, was recognized as one of the “Best of Show” products at A/E/C Systems 2001. The printer uses RACER technology which gives industry print speeds for colour prints by switching between fast colour and faster black and white print speeds during jobs. The printer produces up to 1.4 D-size prints a minute for colour and 3 D-size prints a minute for black and white prints. It is available in 36″ and 54″ models and gives edge-to-edge printing. In December the company also introduced the Synergix 8850 wide-format digital printer which gives high quality, 400 dpi, 256 greyscale images for mid-to-high volume printing, scanning and copying. It uses MicroDensity technology to produce denser solids, crisp lines and detailed images, and gives 10 D-size prints per minute. The company’s fastest wide-format printer, introduced in October, is the MAX 200 Network Printer, which gives 17 D-sized prints per minute, or 1,000 an hour, and has highlight red printing to mark changes.
Oc’s Engineering Exec 3.0 Software for managing and archiving wide-format documents won the 2001 Editors’ Choice Awards from Cadence magazine in July. The software supports the Oracle and Microsoft SQL databases and is compatible with Oc’s series of TDS (technical document systems) wide-format printers, plotters and scanners. Files can be hosted on the Oc Engineering Exec server.
Oc has also teamed up with Adobe Systems so that Adobe PostScript and Adobe portable document format (PDF) files can work with Oc’s TDS wide-format equipment. The compact Adobe PDF files provide a standardized and secure file format to scan, preview, print and archive documents of all sizes. The company also has ScanLogic software for scanning documents directly to a PDF file format.
FINANCIAL & ADMINISTRATION
The most recent products from Wind2 include the Wind2 Web Suite allowing financial administration of projects over the Internet. One of the Web Suite’s components is Web Time, which enables employees to submit their time records into a corporate Wind2 Financial Management System (FMS) while Web Reports gives managers internet access to financial reports. The only requirements are a 56K Internet connection, LAN internet connection, Microsoft Outlook 98 and Internet Explorer (Version 5.0). Further applications — Web Expense Entry, and Palm Pilot Time Entry — were due to be released at the end of 2001.
Another new offering, the Accounts Receivable Collections software, tracks billings and informs relevant staff of outstanding invoices. It automates the preparation of collection notices by e-mail and maintains a file of communications.
Cosential has a suite of software tools consisting of marketing, website, contact and project modules designed exclusively for the architecture/engineering/construction industry. The marketing module, for example, manages comprehensive project data, including project type, completion date and an image bank. It also allows access to a complete database of the firm’s knowledge for use in proposals.