Software: Assuring the Quality of Data Exchange during Structural Design

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Software 101111000010101000111001010100011010111110000011010101011110101000111001110101000111110001111010101000011111110001101010100 Assuring the Quality of 111001011100101110010110011000111001000010100011110001010100011111000001011110000101010001110010101000110101111100000110101 101111010100011100111010100011111000111101010100001111111000110101010001110010111001011100101100110001110010000101000111100 101010001111100000101111000010101000111001010100011010111110000011010101011110101000111001110101000111110001111010101000011 Data Exchange during 111100011010101000111001011100101110010110011000111001000010100011110001010100011111000001011110000101010001110010101000110 011111000001101010101111010100011100111010100011111000111101010100001111111000110101010001110010111001011100101100110001110 100001010001111000101010001111100000101111000010101000111001010100011010111110000011010101011110101000111001110101000111110 Structural Design 011110101010000111111100011010101000111001011100101110010110011000111001000010100011110001010100011111000001011110000101010 011100101010001101011111000001101010101111010100011100111010100011111000111101010100001111111000110101010001110010111001011 001011001100011100100001010001111000101010001111100000101111000010101000111001010100011010111110000011010101011110101000111 011101010001111100011110101010000111111100011010101000111001011100101110010110011000111001000010100011110001010100011111000 Common data exchange models are the ideal solution to software integration problems, but what to do when there are none available? The Steel Construction Institute reports on development of a practical solution. Design software plays a major role in almost every It is common for structure is initially construction supply chain, be it the delivery of modelled, they designers to make modern steel, concrete or composite structure. then improve these Therefore, quality assurance of the software is a educated guesses at ‘guesses’ through key issue within the packages themselves, and is sophisticated detail design sizes when a accentuated when software integration is involved. design and improve In the context of structural modelling, designers structure is initally the initial sizing. manually enter geometry and loading information Often software into structural design software, which enables them modelled, and then packages to model and view the structure. They will often improve these ‘guesses’ supporting the refine the optimal size for elements by transferring design process their initial information into specialist software. This through sophisticated are not integrated process implies that structural design is increasingly detail design… and different discharged through integration of software packages are able packages. to represent different levels of detail. Information “At its crudest, this involves a round trip of data required to enable the safe operation of a particular between different software, with little reconciliation structural element may be modelled in one design of information when changes occur,” says John package and not completely transferred through to Moran, Senior Manager in SCI’s ICT department. another. In consequence, the structural designer is In practice, it is common for designers to left with uncertainties. make educated guesses at design sizes when a “This part of the supply chain is unsatisfactory in terms of the quality of information transfer,” adds Mr Moran. “Ultimately software developers not only have the responsibility to raise the awareness around quality assurance, but also to provide the means to improve the situation”. So what is the solution? Clearly common data exchange models are the ideal solution; if these are not available to software developers then intermediate solutions are essential. For instance, SCI have developed a solution, which extends SCI’s quality scheme to permit the audit of changes in information as a model moves between software packages. This practical approach proved effective when SCI was requested to develop a software package enabling the integration of CSC Fastrak with Westok Cellbeam Automate. How does Westok/SCI new Cellbeam Automate software work? • In a CSC Fastrak model, a designer may wish to execute an optimised design in for a cellular form Figure 1: Modelling Cellbeams in CSC FAstrak beam. 32 NSC February 2006


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