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Why Steel Fabricators Prefer Tekla Structures

Ease of collaboration, detailed shop drawings and parametric modeling are enticing more steel fabricators to choose detailers who use Tekla Structures.

As part of the construction process, it’s up to the steel detailer to provide steel fabricators with detailed and accurate fabrication information, often in the form of shop and layout drawings. Fabricators need these details to reduce flaws and increase construction accuracy, but when a project relies solely on physical shop drawings, there are typically multiple inefficiencies and setbacks throughout the workflow. Recently, more steel fabricators have started to realize the models they receive that have been created in Tekla Structures contain data with more precision and consistency, requiring less rework on their end. 

Rather than being forced to depend on physical drawings for information, a 3D model-based projection with fabrication drawings linked to it reduces the amount of issues fabricators often experience in regards to scheduling or redrawing, because all project parties can inspect the steel model from any angle and monitor it on-site. Using the model throughout a fabrication workflow improves project management and ensures a seamless flow of information between all departments.

Additionally, 3D modeling software allows the ability to develop a detailed and information-rich model, offering better visualization and insight throughout the project. Shop and layout drawings are also fully integrated into the model, so any changes to the model are automatically applied to the drawings as well. This ensures drawings and other output always match the model, so everyone involved can communicate model changes and coordinate effectively with the 3D model as their single source of truth. 

"We require our detailers to supply drawings created in Tekla Structures because of accuracy and consistency.  In addition our production systems rely on the reports and data we receive with our drawing packages."

- Ben Finnoe, President, Finnoe Design

Right now, Tekla Structures leads the industry when it comes to 3D BIM modeling, because users can quickly automate the shop drawing process, reducing human error and improving accuracy. As of right now, Tekla Structures can generate six types of custom drawings for the user: single part drawings, per part, assembly drawings, general arrangement drawings, multi drawings and cast unit drawings. In addition, they can also easily produce fabrication drawings, erection drawings, reports, bill of materials and schedules from the model. 

Because of its flexibility, Tekla Structures can create a detailed 3D model for any steel structure and coordinate the design, fabrication and site operations for an enhanced, more automated workflow. The information-rich models provide a powerful source of intelligent and well-organized information for steel fabricators, including data for CNC processing, material handling and even robotic welding.

"We are using 3D laser scanning technology at our jobsites and the ease of bringing pointclouds into Tekla Structures and being able to model on top of actual field conditions is very important for us to fabricate our steel based on ever changing field conditions."

- Dave Litwin, Technology Manager, Bapko Metal

Today’s leading steel detailers are using Tekla Structures to:

  • Provide fabricators with real-time access to a parametric, digital model
  • Generate detailed fabrication drawings with 3D visualizations from the model
  • Interface with technologies like CNC, MIS, PLM, ERP, detailing software and nesting solutions
  • Generate CNC data directly for the fabricator
  • Avoid detailing errors in fabrication, minimizing the need for rework 
  • Take advantage of intelligent interfaces that optimize the fabrication process

"Having the Trimble Connect model that is easily exported from Tekla Structures and connected to PowerFab is crucial for planning and reviewing erectability issues in our Project Management, Production and Erection departments."

- Dave Litwin, Technology Manager, Bapko Metal

Tekla Structures is known in the construction industry as a powerful and flexible software, because working with Tekla software has shown to consistently be the most accurate, integrated way to manage detailing, fabrication and erection. That’s why we’re seeing more and more steel fabricators choosing to work with detailers who use Tekla Structures for their projects.