Last week, ALLPLAN held a digital conference focused on showing the wide range infrastructure projects in different parts of the world implemented with its solutions including Allplan Bridge and Allplan Engineering. This article provides an overview of some of the projects that were presented.
This is a project by Ardanuy Ingeniería, S.A., a multinational engineering consulting company that specializes in infrastructure projects (Figure 1). Headquartered in Spain with additional offices in several countries including Columbia, India, Brazil, and Lithuania, it has developed over 1600 projects to date, and it has been implementing BIM methodologies for several years. At the ALLPLAN event, it presented three case studies of how it was implementing ALLPLAN solutions, one of which was the Albarregas Viaduct project. This is a new railway bridge across the Albarregas river in Merida, Spain, 169 meters long and with six spans, that is being designed to replace the existing bridge in order to meet new speed requirements.
To generate the design proposal for the bridge, Ardanuy Ingeniería used Allplan Bridge, employing a range of its tools and features including smart symbols for bridge support placement, link girders for trough beam modeling, parametric variables in tables for automatically generating different beam lengths, and boolean operations for modeling the haunch of the bridge deck. Also key was the use of the design collaboration and interoperability platform, Allplan Bimplus, through which the precise axis definitions for the bridge layout that were created in LandXML were brought into Allplan Bridge (Figure 2). In addition to the full BIM capabilities of the application and the ability to create detailed 2D cross-sections to model it accurately (Figure 3), Allplan Bridge also allowed the design to be exported in the DWG format — which was a requirement of the client — as well in the IFC format for interoperability with other AEC applications.
This presentation by the Xingtai Transportation Construction Group, which specializes in construction infrastructure, described the implementation of Allplan for the intelligent construction planning of the East Lake Bridge project in Handan City, located in China’s Hebei Province. The company is known for its innovation in corrugated steel web composite bridges, which was a technology that was also used in the East Lake Bridge project. The main span of the bridge is 150 m, and in addition to the corrugated steel webs and concrete deck, it has a double-layer, double-tower, cable-stayed structure with a cantilevered pedestrian walkway (Figure 4).
Allplan was used to create the BIM model of the bridge at the LOD 4.0 level of detail, which allowed the model to be used for construction planning and management (Figure 5). This included the detailed modeling and construction simulation of each of the individual components of the bridge including reinforcements/rebar in the pylons, composite girders of the deck, steel anchor boxes, shear nails for bridge deck, connection keys at the edge of the web, disc type scaffolding, tendon holes, and others (Figure 6). The precise modeling allowed design optimization as well as construction feasibility analysis and accurate calculation of quantities. Allplan’s interoperability capabilities allowed the model to be exported to CAE applications for various types of analyses such as finite element analysis, crack analysis for complex shell structures, and hydration heat analysis for mass concrete. The model was also exported to CNC equipment for processing, and thereafter, for manufacturing and assembling components for prefabrication or onsite installation.
Last month, we learnt about how Quadrante, an international consulting engineering firm, used Allplan’s BIM applications to successfully deliver a complex new metro line in Porto, Portugal. (See the article, BIM at the New Porto Metro Project.) At the ALLPLAN Infrastructure event, Quadrante shared how it had used Allplan’s optimized BIM workflow for its work on the Nigerian Kano-Maradi / Kano-Dutse railway project (Figure 7), its biggest infrastructure project to date. The project involves the construction of a 284-km single track standard gauge rail line from Kano, in Nigeria, to Maradi, the second largest city across the border in the Republic of Niger, as well as a 94-km branch line from Kano to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa State. It also includes 20 railway stations, 5 maintenance yards and workshops, 52 railway bridges, 75 road overpasses, and 6 road underpasses. The project is headed by the global civil engineering company, Mota-Engil, and Quadrante is part of the team responsible for the detailed design, coordination of all specialties, and project execution.
Quadrante implemented BIM for the bridges, overpasses, and underpasses of the project, using both Allplan Engineering and Allplan Bridge (Figure 8). The focus of the project was to maximize construction efficiency, keeping it economical, shortening the construction duration as much as possible, and minimizing the future operation and maintenance costs and effort. One of the main strategies for achieving this was to use templates for many of the individual designs so they have many repeating elements and can be designed and constructed efficiently. For example, the 1 km bridge shown in Figure 9 was designed using a template with a small number of spans and adding more spans parametrically. It allowed the bridge to be designed in under 2 hours, which would have been impossible using any other software or any other workflow.
In this session presented by Michael Baker International, a leading provider of engineering and consulting services for infrastructure projects in the US, we learnt how the firm uses Allplan Bridge for design automation. Over the course of its 80-year history, the firm has worked on a wide range of iconic projects around the world (Figure 10). Its work on bridge projects, in particular, covers the full spectrum of bridge types — from conventional-grade separations to major, complex river crossings including trusses, arches, box girders and cable-stayed bridges (Figure 11).
In support of its national bridge practice, the firm has a “BIM for Bridges” technology group which not only uses applications like Allplan Engineering and Allplan Bridge for designing and documenting bridges but is also exploring the use of technology like Allplan PythonParts to automate bridge design within Allplan Bridge. This was demonstrated by an example of a truss model for a preliminary bridge design over a river crossing (Figure 12). The goals of the automation were improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of the design process by eliminating repeatable and tedious tasks and taking full advantage of available data.
Once the conceptual model has been developed using the automation capabilities of PythonParts as shown in Figure 13, it can be exported in popular AEC formats such as DWG, DGN, and IFC for structural analysis, detailed design and development, documentation, as well as photorealistic visualization (Figure 14).
As always, it was fascinating to learn about the application of advanced technologies for infrastructure projects around the world. The four projects highlighted in this article are from four different continents — Europe, Asia, Africa, and America — which I found quite remarkable. It’s fortunate that solutions like Allplan have a global reach that enable them to be used to develop needed infrastructure even in far-flung regions of the world.
Lachmi Khemlani is founder and editor of AECbytes. She has a Ph.D. in Architecture from UC Berkeley, specializing in intelligent building modeling, and consults and writes on AEC technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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