Producing Structural Steel Towers with Tekla
For Sisttemex, technology is a tool that can offer efficacy, quality and better communication, thus adding value. They use Tekla from design to fabrication and site mounting plans.
Choosing BIM for steel tower production
Sisttemex is a Mexico-based company that offers specialized products and services in steel structures, telecommunications towers, electrical transmission, galvanizing and construction. Sisttemex operates in Latin America and the USA and the company’s goal is to always provide their customers the best service, quality and price. Sisttemex has an in-house engineering department and they have specialists for every step of the project, from planning to erection crews.
Sisttemex has worked with Tekla for three years and they have used Tekla Structures for tower production for five months now. Luis Guillermo Ramírez, the Chief of Telecommunications Engineering says that he became acquainted with the use of Tekla in 2005. “I was amazed by it!” he says.
Now, with the use of Tekla, Sisttemex can follow the whole process. “We also see other benefits in other departments in the company,” Guillermo Ramírez says.
Role of technology in reducing delivery time
For Sisttemex, technology is a tool which, when good, can offer efficacy, quality, new added value and better communication. Retaining customer’s trust is very important for Sisttemex. Good technology is a great help. “We always aim to operate with our newest technology. We aim for the best performance,” explains Guillermo Ramírez.
Luis Guillermo Ramírez is satisfied with how they can utilize Tekla to shorten delivery times. “By having better PLM and CNC information immediately after finishing the models we hope to reduce modeling time up to 20 % and our detailing time up to 80 %. We continue to aim for a better workflow and reliability.”
Sisttemex uses Tekla throughout the whole design phase from manufacturing and using the PLM and CNC information to printed lay-outs and afterwards on site when mounting plans. Serial production also helps in achieving short response time.
“Tekla Structures helps us a lot because it automatically produces the numeric and control information for our lay-outs,” he says.
“We’re aiming to having a workflow in which the PLM information flows through all the departments.”
“Normally, we use Tekla to process the CNC files and we send it directly to the machine. We get the benefit by having more control over all the plants and not having to create the CNC data manually. In other words, we make the whole model and send it to the machine,” says Sisttemex’s Structural Engineer Hugo Velasco.
And how does Tekla comply with modeling transmission towers?
“Without manual work which can result to mistakes, I think we can talk about maybe 10 % of time savings in manufacturing time alone. We model the whole tower from the angular elements to plates and connections.”
Modeling transmission towers
Sisttemex has the added benefit that many elements of the tower are standard. “We can use the existing files without having to recreate them and without having to do the work for them twice, says Velasco.”
Hugo Velasco has ideas for further time savings and smoother project management. “I would like to use the model I created so that it can be seen in the field, perhaps with a tablet. This way, the erection crew would have access to all the information that we have here in the office.” Unnecessary calls and meetings that take time could be avoided if the model could be seen directly on the tablet. Moreover, up-to-date information on site can help avoid turmoil. Velasco shows a model of one of the transmission towers they design at Sisttemex. “Normally, we use these models to make the numeric control files. We model the whole tower with the connections, which are quite simple.” All that is needed are the angles of the holes.
But the tower has many elements which are sometimes difficult to control. This is where Tekla comes in, for controlling each of these elements so nothing is missing. It is extremely important, as Velasco summarizes: “When one element goes missing it is a real nightmare.”
Velasco has further ideas. “I would like to implement Tekla in the CNC production processes to be able to use it more globally in the company.”
The mounting engineers could then have an access to models in the field, for example with tablets. “That way, they would have more reliable information about the project they’re working on,” Velasco says.
Tekla could help with logistics too. “I would like that in terms of logistics I would be able to use Tekla to handle packages and to know their exact weight and measurements. Also, to be able to take them to the truck and keep control over those packages both in the design and in the field,” Velasco visualizes.
According to Luis Guillermo Ramírez, Sisttemex is looking forward to very good results with Tekla collaboration with possibilities beyond telecommunications where the collaboration has now focused on. At the design level there is the advantage of 3D design. At the departmental level, communications and multi-user mode is taking the company to a very good direction. “With Tekla, at the company level we hope to achieve better communication and workflow between the departments,” Guillermo Ramírez says.
- Founded in 1992.
- Mexican company.
- Approximately 800 employees, including 26 engineers and designers in the engineering department.
- Manufacturing plant located in Querétaro, Mexico and HQ in Mexico City. Works in the USA, Central America and Brazil.
- Operates in steel structures, telecommunications, electrical transmission, galvanizing and construction.
- Offers clients manufacturing of all kinds of structures, including public works, telecommunications, infrastructure, transmission towers and construction.
- Sisttemex has the largest galvanizer in Latin America
- Structure: 60,000 tons/year
- Shelters: 2,500 units/year
- Lightning Systems: 5,500 units/year
- Galvanizing: 80,000 tons / year