Originally from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Pedro started his journey as a civil engineer but soon discovered his passion for programming. He created a note-taking App in 2004, just after graduating, which was published on the hpcalc portal.
Since then, he has worked in software development across various industries, including civil engineering, industrial plants, agribusiness, and health. In 2015, Pedro joined Engetower, a company specialising in Transmission and Distribution (T&D) tower projects. These towers are integral parts of the electrical power grid, used to transmit and distribute electricity from power plants to homes and businesses - a visual part of the world's industrial landscape.
Here, he has played a pivotal role in implementing BIM concepts into the design process. When deciding to do so, Pedro’s team looked for T&D-specific software solutions, and found a few steel structure software namely Tekla, Bocad, Rhino3d, TecnoMETAL, SolidWorks, Revit, and Advance Steel, but none specific to T&D.
In 2015, the team decided to adopt Advance Steel, as its open API and large user base made it a strong candidate for Engetower. Over the years, Pedro and his team developed a complete and customised system to develop 3D projects for towers. The system developed comprises hundreds of automated insertion functions such as the integration and information importing from structural analysis software, routines that run thousands of code and project criteria checks, and tools for automatically generating 2D drawings and CNC files.
Using Speckle To Handle Metadata Effectively
Pedro and his team developed a web platform called Engeviewer to help the team and their clients visualise models and get useful information. The 3D modelling team comprises 20 designers using Advance Steel modelling software. The team mostly needed to convert the 3D model DWG file saved with Advance Steel to a new DWFx file. When the conversion is completed, designers must upload this as a new version to the respective project card in the web platform.
While developing this conversion tool, Pedro and his team discovered Speckle.
Developing The Advance Steel Connector
The Connector Pedro and his team developed is mainly used to upload 3D models to Engeviewer. While the latter has custom tools specific to transmission line towers, it lacks a direct way to handle the models' metadata for software like PowerBI, Google Sheets, and others. As T&D Towers have many parts, having bills of materials, dashboards, and tools is necessary to group and summarise the data.
Although the Advance Steel community is vast, its software developers are few. This disparity motivated Pedro and his team to build something that would serve a greater number of designers who want to incorporate Advance Steel into their daily workflows.
The Impact & Vision of The Advance Steel Connector
With Autodesk officially announcing the end of new feature development for Advance Steel and transitioning it into maintenance mode, Pedro and his team saw this as an opportunity. They envisioned bringing Advance Steel into the Speckle ecosystem. The goal is to create a space where designers and software developers can collaborate to overcome the limitations imposed by Autodesk.
“We want to support the community with Speckle for Advance Steel. We realised that having a Connector to send our Advance Steel 3D model to the cloud can make it possible for developers, designers, and engineers to develop their custom tools and be more integrated with any software like the tools we develop in Engeviewer,” says Pedro.
In other words, it is useful to improve the interoperability of Advance Steel because its conversion to IFC could be more accurate. Speckle stood out as an easy-to-use and more accessible tool for data accessibility and exchange.
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