Construsoft is a leading supplier and developer of BIM (Building Information Modeling) software and related services. They employ more than 250 people across Europe and Latin America. Their portfolio includes products and applications that provide an accurate, detailed, and data-rich 3D environment for the design and construction industry.
Recently, they were interested in creating a free online application that would allow them to showcase their knowledge for calculating and optimizing the design of metal structures. They knew Grasshopper was a powerful tool to build such an application, but they needed a way to host these files online and make them available to anyone via a web browser. They found out that ShapeDiver could give them these capabilities and even allow them to use third-party plugins such as Karamba3D and GeometryGym.
In this interview, we talk with Construsoft's team and discuss the topics surrounding this powerful online tool called Optinave.
1. Welcome and thank you for taking some time to talk to us! Please tell us a bit about Construsoft.
Thank you for having us here. Construsoft has been distributing market-leading BIM and structural analysis software for more than 25 years. We also offer consulting, implementation, training, and parameterization services for the construction engineering sector.
2. What is Optinave?
Optinave is a free web application for calculating and optimizing the design of "Industrial Warehouse" type metal structures in accordance with Eurocode provisions based on a Grasshopper algorithm that uses Karamba 3D as a structural analysis engine and ShapeDiver as a web visualization engine.
The user defines the geometry and location of the warehouse, and Optinave computes and optimizes the structure and provides a list of materials and sections with the option of downloading .ifc and .xml files to continue the design on your computer.
To perform the calculation, Optinave generates wind and snow loads according to Eurocode and allows wind loads to be displayed and applied automatically for any regular geometry according to the standard.
Finally, the user can visualize diagrams of the structure's forces, reactions, and deformations under the applied loads.
3. How did this concept come about?
The Optinave concept arises from the need for structural engineers to quickly pre-size industrial warehouse-type structures considering location-specific wind and snow loads.
4. What is the main advantage of this type of application? What problem does it solve?
Industrial building structures are slender structures where wind and snow have a great impact on the design. Manually pre-dimensioning the member sizes of a structure considering the geographical location, is a time-consuming task.
This application allows the user to quickly generate a first approximation of the total weight of the structure and the section profiles to be used for a given location.
5. What were the most important points when creating this application?
When creating Optinave, the aim was to develop an application that produced reliable structural results which combined ease of use and calculational rigor. This was accomplished by optimizing the wind load generator algorithm in combination with the Karamba3D plugin for structural analysis.
6. Are you considering further developing the Optinave project, perhaps implementing the introduction of different geographical areas other than Spain?
Yes. One of the advantages of developing web configurators based on Grasshopper algorithms is that implementing improvements and new developments does not require a significant investment of time. Optinave was designed for the geographical area of Spain, and implementation for other locations is very likely.
7. What benefits does Grasshopper provide for this application compared to other software?
Thanks to its flexibility, Grasshopper allows for the development of complex algorithms where it is possible to combine code requirements with structural calculations, obtaining models with good computational performance. This performance is a critical building block for building smooth web applications using ShapeDiver.
8. Currently, topology optimization and 3D printing are increasingly important. Do you think it is feasible to integrate these aspects in future web configurators?
Topology optimization is one of the most powerful features that Grasshopper offers, and it takes full advantage of parametric design. A web configurator that allows for this capability would be of great value, especially for companies using 3D printing. Implementing this would be a challenge that we would face with enthusiasm!
9. Regarding ShapeDiver’s plugin for Grasshopper, what aspects would you consider were the most important ones for this and other projects at Construsoft?
In our case, we frequently use the material creation components and the GLTF display component. In addition, the new attribute components allow for efficient information handling. The ShapeDiver plugin components are also beneficial when we are developing algorithms for our own internal workflow efficiency.
10. What is the importance of being able to download .ifc and/or .xml files from Optinave?
The main objective of Optinave is to improve the workflow in the design of industrial buildings. The design and optimization in Optinave allow a first approximation of the structure's final design. Then the engineer must continue to develop a final design.
The possibility of obtaining an .ifc and/or .xml file is essential to continue the calculation without starting from scratch. With these files, we will have all the geometric information generated in Optinave, which results in a significant reduction in modeling time.
11. Do you plan to develop configurators that go beyond these basic building forms and collaborate with other large leading companies in the design development of complex geometries?
In recent years we have formed a team to be able to interface with the development of large projects. Our Optinave web application is a tiny sample of what we can achieve. We believe that for companies dealing with complex geometries, a parametric web configurator can be of great value commercially and optimize internal workflows.
-Thank you very much for your time! It’s been a pleasure to learn more about your work at Construsoft.
The pleasure is ours! Thank you for this opportunity.
That's it for this new edition of Getting to know... Don't forget to visit Construsoft's website and check out their Optinave application. You can follow them on their Instagram account and LinkedIn profile.
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