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When it comes to structural steel design, VLE Draughting has been the go-to company for manufacturing and construction in South Africa since 2014. With the introduction of Autodesk Advanced Steel, VLE Draughting has transformed its service offering while saving on design time all while delivering exceptional accurate drawings. Case in point is the project it did in collaboration with Delta Bloc South Africa and Prokon Software Solutions. VLE Draughting designed and recreated various concrete moulds with the help of steel plate work. With the help of Advance Steel’s intelligent plate tools, the company was able to overcome project obstacles relating to design, in record time.
VLE Draughting is a company that specialises in structural steel detailing. The company was formed in 2014 to meet the engineering needs of both manufacturing and construction industries. With boundless avidity for structural design and detailing, and extensive technical abilities, VLE delivers high quality, effective and informative steel detailed drawings.
The introduction of Autodesk Advance Steel transformed the service VLE Draughting offers by saving design time and delivering exceptional accuracy and quality. Prokon Software Consultants, VLE’s software partner, assisted with the implementation, support and software training.
Client: DeltaBloc South Africa
Software Used: Autodesk Advance Steel
Software Partner: Prokon Software Consultants
VLE worked with its client, Delta Bloc SA, in the design and re-creation of various concrete moulds. The design of which mostly consisted of plate work. Delta Bloc SA’s requirements were to use an existing 3D solid, representing the concrete shape, and to design the outer steel work in order to form the mould. Importantly, the mould needed to be able to disassemble in a certain way to release the concrete.
“These projects were a new challenge for us.” Wayne Page, VLE Owner & Senior Detailer. “But with Advance Steel’s intelligent plate tools, we were able to overcome obstacles relating to design innovation and efficiencies, which has ultimately, transformed the service we offer our clients.”
The Prokon brand and products are known and used worldwide and have been improving the lives of structural engineers everywhere for more than three decades.
Prokon is the preferred Autodesk Gold Partner for Civil and Structural Engineering in South Africa. Prokon is an Accredited Training & Certification Centre as well as an Autodesk Authorised Developer.
Prokon is passionate about helping customers to overcome their challenges and grow their organisations. With the aim to do this in a professional, yet fun-loving way.
Prokon continuously strives to provide service excellence by understanding business through consultative partnerships and sustainable solutions.
VLE received 3D Solids from the client in DWG export.
VLE wrapped the 3D Solid with basic plates in Advance Steel to get the shape of the mould.
Once all the plates were in place, VLE started to specify the bend and weld lines.
After the plate work was finalised VLE started to design the steel frame that supports the whole mould. The steel frame consists of channels that hold the mould in place.
The final step in the modelling process was to create the details to ensure easy disassembly of the moulds.
The final step in the workflow was for VLE to create accurate General Arrangement drawings and accurate fabrication documentation.
Until the use of Advance Steel, companies similar to VLE regularly tackled challenges in steel design and detailing, especially plate work:
Bending the plates according to the 3D solid’s slopes and curves, was highly complex.
Moulds had to be designed in the most practical way to ensure quick and easy disassembly.
Traditionally, moulds had to be designed from very basic specifications and information.
Delivering to tight project deadlines meant the team was continuously looking for ways to improve productivity.
As every project is unique, the team repeatedly generated intensely complex drawings and CNC data for each fabrication and lacked a software tool that could support this.
Following Delta Bloc SA’s decision to keep all mould production in South Africa and engage VLE Draughting, it experienced numerous benefits to business profitability and productivity:
Autodesk Advance Steel has powerful and easy to use plate modelling and modification tools that enables the creation of nonlinear work planes for easy modelling.
Design changes are more easily manageable in Advance Steel than in conventional design software, resulting in less rework and higher productivity. Notably, mould design has been reduced from 100 hours to 15 hours.
Autodesk Advance Steel’s seamless integration with 3rd party software used in fabrication makes collaborative work and partnerships far easier than before.
Thanks to Advance Steel, the NC files for laser cutting were already in place, meaning Delta Bloc SA spent less time in consultation, thereby improving productivity.
“VLE's service allowed us to improve our business all the way along the value chain. From easily sourcing various supplier quotes based on consistent and accurate drawings and information, through to presentation of construction information.
—Craig Strong, General Manager, Delta Bloc SA
This strategic partnership, combining software provider, software consultants, engineers and construction companies presents a unique team of experts. The result of which is an improvement along the value chain for best practice, production and cost efficiencies.
The success of the design - enabling disassembly of the moulds - has transformed both product and service delivery for all partners involved.
Thanks to Autodesk Advance Steel’s automated drawing creation process and less time spent on detailing, the VLE team is winning more business.
“Based on our experience, we strongly recommend using an independent drafting contractor such as VLE to ensure best practice solutions. In this case, Delta Bloc now owns the drawings, and we save time and effort in the manufacturing process as we can control the output.”
—Craig Strong, General Manager, Delta Bloc SA