Case Study

Advanced 3D invigorates leading AEC product

Nemetschek Vectorworks

With Parasolid as its geometry kernel, Vectorworks 2009 offers faster modeling operations and “no-limits” approach to 3D

AEC needs 3D

Since its inception more than 20 years ago, Nemetschek Vectorworks (formerly Nemetschek North America) has been a leader in incorporating advanced modeling functionality into its architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) software. The company’s Vectorworks product line, for example, has long been aimed at letting design professionals model anything they can imagine – which obviously isn’t restricted to 2D elements or items with straight lines. Buildings often include shapes that are difficult or impossible to represent in 2D, such as free-form roof shells or custom windows with unusually shaped borders cut into curved walls. There may also be compound-curved furniture elements, plumbing fixtures, accent lighting fixtures and door hardware. At times a designer might even want to integrate a commissioned sculpture in a building model.

With more than half of its user base incorporating 3D into its daily workflow, it was important to Nemetschek to provide fast and accurate 3D modeling functionality in the Vectorworks product line. The company’s strategy for doing this with the new upgrade (Vectorworks 2009) was to take advantage of the advanced software technology available to the manufacturing industry.

“We believe the best way to build a strong modeling platform is to leverage the investment the manufacturing industry has made in software development,” says Biplab Sarkar, Nemetschek Vectorworks’ chief technology officer. “That is why we decided to build Vectorworks 2009 on the mature modeling software engine, Parasolid®, from Siemens PLM Software. For years the mechanical CAD industry has been taking advantage of the robustness that the Parasolid modeling kernel provides. By adopting Parasolid as our modeling platform, we’ve laid the foundation for bringing that true modeling robustness to the AEC industry. Parasolid establishes Vectorworks as a best-in-class architectural 3D solution.”

Effective transition

The incorporation of Parasolid into Vectorworks went smoothly, according to Sean Flaherty, Nemetschek Vectorworks’ CEO. “We selected Parasolid because of Siemens PLM Software’s reputation for high-quality components and its proven record of supporting open solutions,” says Flaherty. “Integrating Parasolid into all modules of the Vectorworks 2009 suite was the key focus for this release. The transition was achieved smoothly, thanks to excellent technology and support from Siemens PLM Software.”

As Flaherty notes, Parasolid is the engine for the entire Vectorworks 2009 product line, including: Designer, Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, Machine Design, Fundamentals and Renderworks. With the Parasolid foundation, these programs have the ability to handle larger and more complex models and support higher levels of modeling automation. Parasolid also brings functionality for managing data accurately and consistently, and for providing the interoperability necessary to facilitate the seamless exchange of data through all phases of a project.

Faster and better

Design efficiencies inherent in the Parasolid kernel, as well as its sophisticated multiprocessor techniques, make Vectorworks 2009 the application of choice for any size project. Vectorworks 2009 is up to 12 times faster for Boolean operations (including surface addition, subtraction and intersection) than Vectorworks 2008. Viewport renderings are two to four times faster than in Vectorworks 2008. And, 3D modeling operations are four to five times faster in Vectorworks 2009.

Other Parasolid advantages include robust feature modeling (protrusions, filleting, chamfering and shellings are speedy and bullet-proof) and NURBS surfaces (projections, lofting, interpolated and draped surfaces as well as contouring are all improved by the robust Parasolid engine and provide resolutionindependent, smooth-curved surfaces). Parasolid also brings combined NURBS and solid modeling (solid geometry can be decomposed into its surfaces for NURBS deformations, and NURBS surfaces can be “stitched and trimmed” into free-form solid shapes). In addition, Vectorworks’ sophisticated wall technology is now based on Parasolid, allowing holes of any shape to be created to accommodate unusual window shapes. And Parasolid’s faceting technology results in much faster, improved rendering operations.

“With the industry’s leading 3D modeling kernel at its core, Vectorworks lets a designer spend less time working on tedious details, such as verifying accuracy and completeness, and more time actually designing,” says Sarkar. “Unlike other AEC applications, Vectorworks 2009 is at its heart a design application. Whether the focus is on simple, clean design, or incorporating the most technically challenging geometric shapes into a design work, Vectorworks 2009 lets a designer realize his most inspired visions.”

With the rise of Building Information Modeling (BIM), teams of architects are demanding a much higher level of accuracy and integrity from their models. They have become intolerant of poorly integrated systems and error-prone manual processes that limit their flexibility to explore changes quickly and confidently.

The incorporation of Parasolid into the Vectorworks 2009 product line doesn’t just create great software. It establishes Nemetschek as a leader in its industry. “The large majority of AEC systems are based on simpler and more obsolete solid modeling technologies,” says Franco Folini, president of Novedge, in an interview with Biplab Sarkar, CTO of Nemetschek. “This kind of decision requires clear vision, a brave approach and a leadership that few players in the AEC market possess.”

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