To develop the BIM DNA Profiler Tata Steel worked with the German CAD specialist CADENAS
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The DNA Profiler is a web-based tool that enables the Tata Steel product information (data and objects) to be accessed flexibly, in multiple formats.
The DNA Profiler has many benefits, these include:
- Enables users to search for Tata Steel products based on performance characteristics, then select the product data they want from a structured product database (single source of the truth).
- 3D objects, if required, are generated there and then “On-the-fly” rather than downloaded from an unmanaged, static, database.
- Enables individual attributes, or combined data sets, to be downloaded (in COBie or csv) or embedded in a newly generated object.
- 3D objects can be generated in a range of Levels of Definition (LODs) and 2D/3D CAD formats with the user’s selected data embedded within it. Formats include Revit, ARCHICAD, Sketch-up, IFC, All-Plan etc.
This flexible approach to product information means that architects, contractors and engineers can be assured that the latest information is being used. The backbone for the DNA Profiler is an IBM cloud database with data structured to align with CEN TC442 requirements/guidelines.
Tata Steel worked with IBM and the German CAD specialist CADENAS to develop the tool. IBM developed the website and the database with CADENAS’ “eCATALOG” software providing the means to generate “on-the-fly” 3D objects in multiple CAD formats.
The really clever part of the tool is that it allows the user to select any of the 800+ attributes and have them embedded in the object. Also, CADENAS’ eCATALOG software means that the object is drawn natively so it remains fully parametric (editable) once downloaded rather than being a “dumb solid” that would not be suitable for Tata Steel products.
In addition to the front end that is visible through the website, Tata Steel has a web-based back end where each of their 12 “BIM Champions” (technical managers each responsible for their own products) can log in and edit, remove and manage the products and data. This ensures that Tata Steel has a control process to manage the quality of their data effectively.
"We were absolutely delighted to win the award for Best New BIM Product at the BIM Show LIVE BIM Awards 2019. The DNA Profiler has been a labour of love for more than 2 years and could not have been delivered without the support of IBM, CADENAS and coBuilder", says Alex Small, BIM & Digital Platforms Manager for Tata Steel.
Tata Steel is now working on developing API connections directly into some of the world leading BIM content platforms such as coBuilder, BRE, BIMobject and BIMstore to ensure that trusted data is at the heart of their available content at all times. They are also working with these companies to see how they can offer on-the-fly object generation as well.
Why was BIM DNA Profiler Developed
- To provide customers with the data they want, with or without an object, in the formats they require in any level of detail.
- To improve the Revit team’s efficiency and use of their resource by preventing the continuous generation of bespoke objects thus providing customers and clients quicker access to the objects and data they require.
- Another key driver for the production and development of Tata Steel product database was that it also provides considerable additional potential including plugins for key tools such as Revit and API links with other third party BIM object hosts and providers.
Alex Small, BIM & Digital Platforms Manager Tata Steel says:
"Our department has gone from having various requests a day for bespoke objects to having no requests at all, meaning that our customers are successfully downloading the content they need quickly and, we hope, painlessly. This is evidenced by having key architectural and engineering practices as well as direct clients downloading our content. Examples of companies registered are: Arcadis, ARUP, BAM, BDP, MAKE, Space group, Skanska, AECOM, WSP, Kier, Atkins, Wilmott Dixon, Bryden Wood and many others.
Further evidence of use is that we support the tool with a LIVE CHAT function which enables users to instantly engage with us and obtain help using the DNA Profiler.
Most interesting of all is that we are now linking the features of this tool in to coBuilder to enable the same functionality through their platform. We are also talking to BIMstore and others to achieve the same. We have started to work on design and configuration tool plug-ins that use this capability too with a view to future e-commerce integration.
This tool is the first step in a long journey towards structured, interoperable, linked data providing the “Golden Thread” for data journeys in digital construction. We know that our customers, contractors, specifiers and construction clients are looking to us manufacturers to take the lead in enabling and providing digital platforms based on product component data and we look forward to continuing to support them."