Tekla Structures for Offshore Rigs

Hitech iSolutions (Hitech) is an Integrated Engineering Consulting and Solutions company focused on end to end process management and optimization. For over 27 years, Hitech has partnered with clients globally to support, digitalize and automate their engineering processes, thereby achieving scalability, flexibility and operational efficiencies.  With an arsenal of over 1000 professionals, Hitech has enabled more than 5000 customers achieve targets satisfactorily across the USA, Europe & Australia. The trust that customers repose in Hitech has earned the company a well-deserved “highest rating for Financial Strength and Operating Performance” from Crisil for four consecutive years. 

The Texas offshore oil rig was extracting 80,000 barrels per day from deep waters of Gulf of Mexico. The massive platform of the rig needed structural steel detailing for pipe and tray support, access platform, stair and main tower, and the sub-sea distribution unit. The general contracting company working on this enormous project had partnered with Hitech for developing steel detailing and fabrication drawings besides implementing automation.

The structural engineering team at Hitech equipped with rich expertise and diversified experience of over 12 years embarked on developing steel detail drawings for the offshore oil rig in Texas, USA having 10,000 ton topsides. The project spanned over a year with a scope of developing 11,000+ pipes/tray supports, 20,000+ drawings and machine files for steel fabrication. 

The team was entrusted with enormous scope of work and required to deliver high end drawings. As a result, the team adopted Tekla Structures to address the delivery needs. The primary need was to implement automation at various stages using Tekla Open APIs and parametric custom components.

Saving up to 40 % time and 15 % cost made possible only with Tekla

While recalling the project experience, Director of BIM Solutions, Hitech iSolutions LLP, Mr. Bhushan Avsatthi, says, “Our engineering teams laid the foundation of the entire project setup on Tekla Structures and Tekla Open APIs to generate high-end deliverables while saving up to 40 % time and cutting costs down by 15 %”

    Managing heavy influx of design revisions

    The major challenge for the project team was to manage heavy influx of design revisions. The team had to constantly update Tekla Model Sharing using revision drawings to facilitate coordination between design, fabrication, and installation teams. Compounding the existing constraints, the input files lacked technical details which required constant approvals and coordination with client to assign appropriate structural coordinates in space with reference to the main platforms. Hitech had its responsibilities cut out again with Tekla Model Sharing to aid.

      Blocking (HSE) risks

      An offshore oil platform of such mammoth magnitude is always accompanied with higher Health Safety and Environment risks. Explicit to that, joint detailing welds, holes and the designs were critical and would require abiding by the standards and a 'first time right' approach. Hitech was aware that delays would result in revisions that would further lead to cascading issues. Corrections would involve additional time and effort, resulting in heavy avoidable cost burdens/ implications.

      Effective & efficient project completion with Tekla

      The Project Team resorted to Tekla Phase Manager for smart implementation. The team initiated by assigning smart numbers to all the elements using formula based excel files which ensured the elimination of manual data entry errors. Automation specialists developed custom DOS scripts to separate the drawing PDFs according to client’s priorities. They also assigned smart numbers to be able to import the details in Tekla Phase Manager and prepare 3D models. With smart number generator in Excel, project engineers achieved greater accuracy over the traditional manual input and reduced the time of implementation by 25 per cent. 

      Secondly, by using Tekla Phase Manager, engineers created phases using ‘Add Phase’ Command which played a major role in automatic assignment of names and numbers. And during the later stages of implementation these Phases were applied to each support. Simultaneously, by using U-Bolt Slot Tools of Tekla Phase Manager the team was able to embed the information relating to slot cutting and dimension between the slots.

      Avsatthi says, “Our biggest challenge was a very high number of pipe and tray support drawings and the time was too less. Leveraging Tekla Open APIs was the turning point and a big relief to our engineers when we moved towards automation.”

      Utilizing Tekla's 'Super Powers'

      Leveraging Tekla Open (APIs) & Parametric Custom Components

      Hitech's engineers developed Auto UDAs for 3D models of pipe and tray support. The holes for the supports using U-Bolt Slot Tools were created using Parametric Custom Components of Tekla Structures. 

      Once the models were ready, the project team used Tekla’s Auto Create GA tool in Visual Studio and embarked on automating the GA drawings with sheet setup, annotation, welds and notes. 

      Another notable instance of the project was the client’s requirement of drawings of varying quality levels on site. Tekla Attribute Setting came to the rescue of the team in creating part drawings corresponding to the quality needed which gained customer satisfaction.

      Tekla modelling and joint detailing for various parts of the platform

      The scope of work also included developing 3D models for 5 main towers of the rig, 17 different access platforms for easy traversing across the rig and chain guide to model the design details and to facilitate easy communication across the teams. Tekla delivered here, again rising to the need of the hour.

      Additionally, steel and concrete joint detailing, assembly and part drawings, NC code files and GA drawings were also prepared using Tekla modelling. Joint detailing for steel structure fabrication and installation were also created and shared with the client to their complete satisfaction.

      Delivering phased update with Tekla India Support team

      Hitech's client, the general contracting company, needed phased update and deliverables in the form of IFC part files and not the complete IFC model. This was a very specific requirement on the part of the client.  In absence of no direct command it appeared only possible through manual means. Resorting to manual means implied employing time in excess of allotted in an already crunched deadline. The project team streamlined the impasse by exploring automation tools and customizing Tekla add-ons.

      Experts at Tekla India Support generated customized tools and delivered shop floor needs of the client for final machining phase of steel fabrication. Final drawing logs, cut-lists, and barcode details along with transmittal and submittals were generated using Tekla Template Editor.

      Bhushan explains, "Had the team done manual IFC export for each part drawings, the time consumed would have been 90 per cent more. Our association with Tekla India Support Team was high-yielding in terms of time saving and accuracy."

      Tekla Structures: An inseparable part of Hitech’s steel detailing team

      Being the primary structural steel detailing partners, Team Tekla focussed on the criticality of correct steel detailing and developed the drawings with accuracy at the first go. Tekla’s team of 24 engineers collaborated with Hitech to develop steel fabrication drawings with an accuracy of 1/64th of an inch and clash checks for steel-concrete as well as steel-steel joints to eliminate pain points. Team Tekla provided Hitech with a complete 5GB Tekla model, technical drawings and documentation, and CNC machine files which were shared with the client for steel fabrication, erection and installation.

      In the Texas offshore oil rig project, Hitech surpassed its past milestones by continuously delivering satisfactory services to clients and garnered reliability. The achievement was made possible due to its association with Tekla Structures. Beyond the achievements apparent on the surface, the number of instances in which Tekla Structures stood by and supported Hitech were immense. This promises an enduring and lasting association between Tekla and Hitech.


      Bhushan Avsatthi

      “Using Tekla Structures and automation tools with Tekla Open APIs, our engineering team helped the general contracting company save 40% time and reduce costs by 15%. We strategized the correct usage of Tekla Open APIs, functions and parametric custom tools to eliminate errors and allow our client to track changes, logistics with barcodes. Since then, we have continuously uplifted the quality of our deliverables and Tekla Structures have become an inseparable part of our steel detailing teams.”
      - Bhushan Avsatthi
      Director of BIM Solutions
      Hitech iSolutions LLP