For as long as structural design and drafting software has existed, there has been a need to transfer information between various systems. More recently, the need for collaboration and information sharing amongst design professionals has advanced to a higher level — Building Information Modelling (BIM).
Prokon's Prodesk package makes BIM possible — it seamlessly transfers information between Autodesk® Revit® (world-leading modelling software) and PROKON® Structural Analysis and Design.
Structural modelling in Revit®
The power of BIM lies in the fact that one is no longer drawing lines in CAD, but rather modelling objects like beams, slabs and columns. Detailed information about these objects is stored in a model database. In the Revit® context, any change made to an object, automatically reflects in all plans, sections, elevations and schedules. In a broader context, BIM-enabled structural design and fabrication software can use the same information and respond to changes made to the model. The benefits of using BIM soon become obvious: early error detection in the preliminary design phase, fewer errors during detail design, and increased all round productivity.
Autodesk® Revit® enables one to create an incredibly detailed building model, and apply point, line and area loads. It also has the ability to model complex support conditions such as releases and springs. All of this information can be transferred to a Sumo Structural Modeller or Frame Analysis model using Prodesk, an add-on for Revit®.
Transferring a model to PROKON® Structural Analysis and Design
In spite of the complex translation process that goes on in the background, transferring the model a model from Revit® to Sumo Structural Modeller and Frame Analysis is a simple procedure with Prodesk:
- Open the model in Revit®.
- Click the Prodesk (transfer to PROKON) button on the toolbar, or select it from the Prokon menu.
- Follow the prompts to convert the information into a sound structural model in Sumo or Frame Analysis. Depending on the objects present in the model, this may include setting parameters for finite element mesh generation.
Beams and columns are transferred directly with their correct section profiles and orientations. Pad and wall footings are transferred as point or line supports. Slabs and walls are meshed using quadrilateral shell finite elements.
The transfer procedure offers you a great degree of control and flexibility. When transferring a concrete slab, for example, Sumo and and Frame Analysis' advanced mesh generator will guide you through the process to ensure that a suitable finite element mesh is created.
You have the option to transfer an entire model from Revit® to Sumo or Frame Analysis or, if you wish, selected portions only. If you transfer a single floor level only, columns passing through that level are modelled as supports in Sumo and Frame Analysis.
Transferring a model from PROKON to Revit®
In some cases, it may be more convenient to build your model in Sumo or Frame Analysis. Prodesk allows you to be flexible, and has the ability to transfer models from Sumo and Frame Analysis models to Revit®. To facilitate this interaction, ProDESK has a function for creating "family files" for sections in the PROKON Section Database (which is directly available from within Revit®) allowing you to add new sections on the fly. All of this interoperability guarantees time savings and a standardised model transfer.
Linking with the PROKON® concrete design modules
The design and detailing workflow would typically be is as follows:
- Build the model in Revit®.
- Use ProDESK to transfer the model to Sumo or Frame Analysis.
- Make any needed modifications to the structural model, e.g. enter loads if you have not done so in the Revit® model.
- Perform the frame analysis to determine the design forces.
- Use the Design Links function to generate design input for concrete bases and columns.
- Perform the necessary design checks and generate reinforcement.
- Use ProDESK to transfer the 3D reinforcement layout back to Revit® model.
This procedure can be used to reinforce groups of bases or columns (that are similar in function and dimension) at the same time.
Note: You can open bending schedules generated with the concrete design modules in AutoCAD® using the AutoPadds extension. AutoPadds extends AutoCAD® and turns it into a full-featured 2D reinforcement detailing package.
Looking ahead — The future of BIM
In years to come, further improvements to Autodesk® Revit® will add to the success of BIM. Support for integration formats such as Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) and improved reinforcement modelling in Revit® would undoubtedly provide for even smoother sharing of information between Revit®, PROKON® Structural Analysis and Design and other engineering software.
BIM is not yet a magic formula for all design projects, but amazing things are on the horizon with a technology that is still maturing. While others are waiting for that to happen, ProDESK is providing PROKON® Structural Analysis and Design and Revit® users the much needed BIM link today.
Installing or upgrading ProDESK is simple:
- Click the relevant link below to download the installer package to your computer's hard drive.
- Run the downloaded Setup package and follow the prompts to complete the installation.
Prodesk Suite for
Prodesk Suite for
Prodesk Suite for
Minimum: Revit® 2016
Recommended: Revit® 2018
Minimum: Windows 7 64-bit on a PC with 3GB RAM and 1,280 x 1,024 SXGA display
Recommended: Windows 10 Professional edition 64-bit on a PC with dual CPU cores, 8GB RAM and Nvidia Quaddro FX or quivalent graphics adaptor
Note: ProDESK is NOT compatible with Windows 10 S.