Skip to main content

Automated and Connected Construction, a Great Partnership

Kilsaran construction site photograph

Along with the rise of automated machinery comes the need for connected construction, with a streamlined follow of accurate and constructible data from the model to the factory. PUNCH Consulting Engineers and Kilsaran are a great example of this, with Tekla Structures tying the two together.

Automation and digital technology have an important role to play in the modern-day construction industry, with the precast sector, in particular, being an area that has been reaping the rewards of such an approach. A great example of this innovation in action is with PUNCH Consulting Engineers, who was appointed by Kilsaran – Ireland’s leading supplier of innovative concrete products - to help develop its new precast factory and carousel plant. Established in 1973, PUNCH has almost 50 years of experience in the construction industry across a range of sectors, from modular construction to multi-million-pound housing developments.



Speaking about the company’s relationship with digitization and technology, Aidan O’Connell, Director at PUNCH, said: Over the last 50 years, we’ve developed both our expertise in the engineering industry and an innovation culture. A key part of this is embracing new technologies and new software and work to bring it to the market, getting those greater efficiencies into the construction sector. Fundamentally, it’s all about getting the information from the desk to the site; increasing productivity, communication and collaboration; and making jobs go more smoothly and efficiently for everybody.

It was this same innovation culture that led Kilsaran Precast to choose us to help them develop their factory in County Kildare, one of the most advanced and automated carousel plants in Europe.

Kilsaran robotic machinery in factory

As part of this partnership, PUNCH was tasked with researching the market and finding the best software solution for getting the design and product information from the 3D model into the factory, for the robotic machinery. 

Aidan explained: It was important that we carried out market research into which software would allow us to communicate with this carousel system and also provide the relevant BIM level output required. It was through that research that we found Tekla Structures, with its interoperability, customization options and the ability to add on (or take off) as you needed to, at no extra cost penalty to the business. Through working with Tekla even more, we found additional products like Trimble Connect, which provided us with a great common data environment to work with.

Speaking further about the value of Tekla Structures, Colin Mackenzie, Digital Precast Manager at PUNCH, said: It offers us the ability to design and detail with great ease. It has a great automation system, enabling you to automate the modeling process through the use of custom components that either come from the Tekla Warehouse library or through your own APIs. The drawing system is fantastic, with automatic cloning, automatic view creation and dimensions – you couldn’t ask for better. Not to mention the streamlined output of data for construction and sophisticated automated plants, through PXML and UXML. It has that out of the box: one click of a button and the model data is gone, straight to the factory.

It is partly because of this automated workflow and the streamlined flow of manufacturing data that Kilsaran Precast are now producing 500 sqm of wall panel a day and we are constructing apartment blocks on site. For a factory to go from being built to developing this in a year and a half is unheard of. Tekla is a very useful package – we are developing it all the time, as are Tekla. There’s a truly great synergy between our in-house expertise and their expertise, in relation to what developments need to happen within Tekla Structures to meet the precast industry needs going forwards.

worker using Tekla Structures on a computer in a factory

Tekla Structures, the constructible 3D modeling software, offers accurate data for error-free and automated production, with its emphasis on open BIM and interoperability providing a streamlined flow of data from the model to machine. 

For more information about Tekla, please visit:

Or, to learn more about PUNCH Consulting Engineers, visit: