3D model viewer and assembly planner

Engineering | Production | Logistics | Assembly

One of our latest additions to the functionality of ALTO 4.0 ERP is the 3D model viewing capability. We intend to use it for two purposes: 1) as a general viewer of the model that displays element progress statuses at a current state or any other state in the past by using the project timeline slider; 2) element assembly sequence planner.


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Automatic precast production planning algorithm

Engineering | Production | Logistics | Assembly

The two precast production plants are one of the busiest entities in major industrial group’s engineering-production-delivery-assembly value chain. The production is carried out in 3 shifts 7 days a week for most of the year. At any given moment there are around 5,000 elements in the system available for production.

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Computer simulation overview

Advances in technology invariably lead to construction of systems with additional layers of complexity being wrapped around more primitive but equally complex sub-systems. In the future, these systems may then, in turn, become sub-systems of larger, even more complex, super-systems. Simulators provide a means by which such abstract and real-world systems may be understood and evaluated by duplicating the behavior of these systems through hardware and software.

A computer simulation is a computer program that uses computation to construct a representation of the behavior of a particular system over time. In other words, computer model is a digital twin of certain object or process in the objective reality and computer simulation is putting this digital twin into an action.

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Tracking manufactured element status using barcodes

A pre-cast element factory in Liepaja manufactures approximately 100 elements (hollow-core slabs, precast walls and columns, staircases) in a single day. All the manufactured goods are stored in 10’000 m² warehouse next to the manufacturing plant. The warehouse is divided in multiple named zones to easily locate the final production when it is necessary.

When a pre-cast element is manufactured it is move to one of the zones in warehouse. The zone name is registered and entered in manufacturing planning information system (ALTO 4.0 ERP) manually. It is an error-prone and time consuming job – loaders have to make a hand written note for each element and then managers have to enter this information in system’s database.

Part of warehouse in pre-cast manufacturing plant

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Using simulation for problem solving

UPB Group has a lot of interesting business cases where simulation has helped to achieve better performance results. For the first simulation use-case, Alto 4.0 decided to begin with the prefabricated concrete production. Based on our experience, there are two main problems which we try to solve with the simulation.

Our main business is in Scandinavia, but the prefabricated concrete factory is located in Latvia. We use ships to get all the prefabricated concrete elements across the Baltic see. There is always a dilemma connected with this kind of delivery – a) should we book all the ship with our products, b) should we deliver our products with smaller batch deliveries. Case A puts huge pressure on our prefabricated concrete factory’s warehouse, case B, on other hand, is a huge challenge for our logistics team.

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Experiments with OpenSource IoT solution

This is the first impression on IoT open source solution.

Many solutions exist in IoT/Industry 4.0 ecosystem to implement IoT into your manufacturing process. At this point we are experimenting with open source solutions to understand how easy and reasonable is to use them at industrial scale. The main goal is to build a complete prototype with open source tools/platforms and cheap sensors for development purposes.

For the IoT gateway we chose to use Kura.

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DXF profile converter

Since one of the major challenges in using Tekla for glazed structure modelling is the lack of system catalogs, ALTO 4.0 is working on a tool that would significantly save the time required to get aluminum and rubber gasket profile catalogs in Tekla. The application converts dxf files into Tekla profile library. It is easy to use and takes a small effort to get glazed structure project profile library into Tekla software. Check it out on the video! By using the tool, we managed to add 70 profiles in just 2 minutes!

There are still couple of challenges to be solved, but in most cases it works great. We are planning to add some functionality for catalogue rules and user attributes. The idea is that you can add a rule name and it would appear in Tekla profile catalogue instead of default rule “Other”.


Glazed structure model. Update 2

Engineering | Production | Logistics | Assembly

Continuation of a series of articles about glazed structure modeling in Tekla. So far we have created two building model with element frames (view video). There was different approach to second model. But we have also third in mind.

Façade element frames were modeled with our own plugin- Glazed Structure Frame. Each building consist of 381 frames (333 assemblies). The first model (on the right) was made in usual way – relying on imported dwg and ifc references. This method there are usually problems with precision of the references and there tends to be too many snapping points, which makes it hard to model.

However the second model (in the middle) was made with different approach. We made 3D grid for the whole building elements. There was spent 3 days on this because all the imperfections were corrected. Frames were modeled in 1 day. Since the grid was exact, we did not spent much time on optimization and imperfection corrections.

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Glazed structure model. Update 1

Engineering | Production | Logistics | Assembly

In the March 2017 we posted an article about glazed structure modelling in Tekla. Below is the follow up on this.

We have launched a project where the assembly will start in end this year. Project is located in Gothenburg, Sweden. The building envelope is unitized façade with total area about 3500m². These elements have partially non-transparent zones with integrated blinds and dark anodized claddings.

The project will be designed by two teams simultaneously – one will be using the traditional CAD software, the other will be working in Tekla Structures and using our glazed structure plug-in set.  Since it is a real project with specific schedule, then we are limiting some risks using only the new designing process. At the same time it will ensure a healthy competition. If Tekla team will finish project on time, it could be used for production, logistics and assembly team. The whole value chain will benefit from building information model.

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