Building specialist optimizes project planning and manufacturing using NX and Teamcenter
Max Bögl Group
Bögl models and manages largescale construction projects more efficiently using PLM
Advanced structural engineering
Since the company’s founding as a bricklaying business in 1929, the Max Bögl Group (Bögl) has evolved into an international construction and specialist service provider. Core competencies include building and transporting infrastructure construction, bridge building, structural engineering, steel and plant construction as well as concrete component prefabrication.
As an expert in advanced structural engineering, Bögl provides technical and logistical solutions around the world, including building massive bridge structures. Bögl also specializes in precast concrete parts, producing these components at several manufacturing plants and on-site via a mobile unit.
Bögl’s substantial experience in design and manufacturing has resulted in such innovations as the slab track system for high-speed railway tracks. This supporting plate system provides longevity, a high degree of safety, protection from vibration, and low maintenance costs. In the future, Bögl expects to utilize its knowledge to help increase the efficient use of renewable energy. The first step in this direction has been made with the successful launch of the hybrid tower system for wind energy plants.
PLM in the building industry
Alexander Kropp, who directs building information management (BIM) development at Bögl, notes that unlike the manufacturing industry, today’s building industry tends to use task-specific 2D computer-aided design (CAD) solutions, although 3D design and planning promise more benefits. Product lifecycle management (PLM) tools, including CAD, computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and numerical control (NC) technology are now mainstays at Bögl. He explains, “We manufacture the boardings for prefabricated concrete components with complex freeform surfaces on 5-axis milling machines. We implemented NX CAM seven years ago because only 3D CAD/CAM systems allowed us to create the NC programs we needed to efficiently and accurately machine the parts required for bridge and structural engineering. We also wanted to promote the use of 3D in design and planning, so we decided to use NX CAD for design purposes in our structural engineering department.”
Bögl selected NX™ software from Siemens PLM Software because of its high-value experiences using NX CAM software. The company also noted the successful use of NX in the shipbuilding industry. Welded bridge structures with curved surfaces used in construction are similar to those used in ship design.
Kropp points out that the use of NX enables a user to design any shape and transfer shapes along curved roads or railway lines. Using NX, even the topographical surroundings and the material to be moved can be taken into consideration, which is not possible with a number of other 3D CAD systems. Such systems are used in the construction industry mainly to design buildings without complex surfaces and they are not integrated with other tasks such as manufacturing.
“NX offers very capable and flexible tools, particularly for the design of complex surfaces,” says Kropp. “NX impresses through its model associativity from design through manufacturing. NX is a precise fit for our requirements; it helps us solve tasks that we could not do at all, or not efficiently enough with other systems.”
Using Teamcenter for building information management
To transform and increase the efficiency and transparency of its processes, Bögl has started a project to store and manage all product and project-related information and documents in a single, centralized source, and to make the data available to all authorized persons at any time. To help accomplish this, the company selected Teamcenter® software, also from Siemens PLM Software. While BIM software is available to handle similar tasks, Bögl preferred the complete PLM capabilities of Teamcenter, and especially its integration with tools such as NX.
Teamcenter has been in use since May 2013 on a pilot project in the wind energy division to support the planning of 120 to 160 meter-high hybrid towers. These towers are manufactured in batches, with Bögl producing up to 200 towers per year. Each tower has from 17 to 22 concrete rings in the lower section, and two or three steel segments (the combined segments about 20 feet high), in the upper section.
Concrete rings, precision-ground using computer numerical control (CNC) machines, are placed on top of each other in dry joints without mortar and then pre-stressed with internal tendons. The upper concrete ring has a flush-cast steel flange and is screwed together with the lower steel segment. A crane, specially-designed by Max Bögl for the assembly process, provides a self-climbing unit that operates in difficult building sites, such as forests.
“The complete design of the towers, including the creation of the bill of materials and form boards, is accomplished using NX,” says Kropp. “The steel design data are used to control the CNC flame cutting machines. In addition, the design of internal elements, such as routing elevators, cables and hydraulics, is done using NX. Bringing it all together, all relevant data is managed using Teamcenter.”
With wind energy plants requiring a great deal of documentation, Teamcenter is also used to manage quality data for each part. Teamcenter manages this data across project development, project planning and resource planning, delivering a closed documentation loop. In addition, Bögl plans to digitally record quality data from manufacturing machines and concrete mixers, and make this data available via Teamcenter integrated with enterprise resource planning (ERP) technology.
“NX clearly has simplified our planning and manufacturing processes,” says Kropp, “NX also helps in civil engineering tasks in which the 3D approach enables significantly higher transparency and more safety than the time-consuming and costlier 2D planning.”
Kropp notes, “3D modeling makes it possible to get detailed information in the early planning phase about the quantity and mass of the material to be used and to be moved in building projects. Plus, it enables easy coordination and communication among the different internal departments and with third parties. The linkage of 3D model data with other process-related data enables a realistic simulation of the building process, which helps customers to visualize the final structure before anything is built.”
Not only are the software solutions from Siemens PLM Software highly effective for Bögl BIM needs, the cooperation with the technology provider is also satisfying. Siemens PLM Software already has implemented building-specific adjustments for the creation of drawings. Siemens PLM Software’s development partners offer interfaces for the numerous software solutions and data formats used in this industry. One example is an interface between NX and LandXML, developed by the Neoapps company. Bögl plans to use LandXML to exchange digital terrain model data and the routing information data for infrastructure buildings such as railway lines and roads.
“The purpose of our BIM approach is to get the many different data sets together and to share them internally and with third parties,” says Kropp. “We are using PLM not only for our company’s primary project needs, but also for research projects and in our work with professional organizations. Moreover, we expect to expand our 3D-based planning, which means we will make more extensive use of NX.”