Will Autodesk Have an Answer for Tekla?

Autodesk Acquire Graitec for Structural Steel  & Concrete Fabrication and Detailing

On October 2, 2013, Autodesk annouced they acquired Graitec who have AutoCAD add-ons for structural steel and concrete. A while back they acquired a polish company for an AutoCAD structural steel detailing package, re-branded it AutoCAD Structural Detailing (ASD) and eventually incorporated it into Plant Design Suite Premium and Building Design Suite Standard.

From the engineers and customers I worked with, ASD is under-developed and buggy and so is Graitec and neither can do etching for Beam Line Machines. Tekla can.

I don’t know clients using Tekla for Steel but know one for concrete, in their opinion, it still needs work and have been told it’s about “80% there”, that same client still uses AutoCAD for scheduling . Tekla outputs DSTV files for Beam Line Machines and can do etching for cleats & purlins, etc.

Now ASD is included in Plant & Building Design Suites, neither package is used by fabricators generally speaking, rather structural engineers who want to model the project rather than model with the accuracy and detail , which is what fabricators require and this lack of accuracy and detail is what they complain about when they get drawings from structural engineers.

What I’d like to see if perhaps two versions, one for representational purposes for structural engineers, keeping the system running lean and design fast and a second for fabricators, that require detailed modelling and DSTV file for Beam Line Machines. I’d like this fabrication package in Inventor or Product Design Suite, where fabrication sits. What’s the difference between a structural steel fabricator and a sheet metal fabricator or machinist who fabricates parts?

Inventor has DWG and Revit interoperability, now has integrated CAM & future CAM add-ons (HSM & Delcam) and has Frame Generator for steel modelling, so why can’t they enhance Frame Generator and add connections and export DSTV files? Wouldn’t that be a better fit? 

It would be a better fit than 3D modelling that sort of detail in AutoCAD & Revit because of their inefficient file size & structure. AutoCAD is based on a 2D engine, lacks the intelligence of 3D parametrises and is already pushing the boundaries. No one who has used Inventor for 3D wants to go back to AutoCAD and model in 3D. Revit is for designers of architectural and construction rather than for the companies that get their hands dirty making the product and making it fit in real life.

I’m sure if Autodesk invested in structural detailing for Inventor they would have an excellent offering for steel fabricators that had a workflow for structural engineers and it is my belief that until then, Tekla shouldn’t be too worried about Autodesk.

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