„BIM“ – When data points the way to the future

08.10.2020

„BIM“ is the abbreviation for "Building Information Modeling". This is a method that can significantly reduce errors and misplanning in plant construction. How? By using data to visualize the future: Our colleagues at thyssenkrupp Plant Technology are already using BIM today for the forward-looking planning of industrial plants.

What is the status on the construction site? Which documents are available for a certain equipment? Can the machine production start? What work can start next month? Are all materials available? These are just a few examples of the questions that our colleagues at thyssenkrupp Plant Technology have to answer to ensure the project runs smoothly.

Benjamin Berndzen (left) knows that BIM can increase the performance of the company

“In recent years, the volume of data accrued in EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) projects has become increasingly extensive and complex. This means that, with major projects such as these, it is more and more of a challenge to keep track of things,” says Benjamin Berndzen. As head of the Digital Business Processes project, he has experienced at first hand how the business has changed and evolved in recent years. In many cases, the answers to open questions can be found hidden in various software systems belonging to different departments. This means that, when looking for answers, the team must take each individual system into account. An unwieldy task and, above all, a very time-consuming one.

BIM renders product information transparent – with 3-D visualizations

However, there is a more effective and efficient way to process the flow of data in plant engineering. Benjamin Berndzen and his team aim to implement Building Information Modeling – BIM for short – throughout the entire plant engineering division: “For one, BIM is a place where all data and pieces of information from the project come together. While this creates transparency, the greatest advantage is that the software also provides us with 3-D visualizations. For instance, by using color shading in the 3-D model, the program shows the current progress on the construction site – compared with how it should be. This allows us to identify at a glance where weak points exist and where corrective action is needed. In other words, BIM evaluates all data for us directly and shows us at a glance what the data tells us.”

The decision to opt for BIM was also taken with cost-effectiveness in mind – it allows us to significantly improve the way we work together with our customers and to focus even more closely on their needs. Benjamin Berndzen: “Both customers and authorized distributors have already become aware of the BIM method, meaning that it is gradually establishing itself in the plant engineering environment. By using BIM systematically in our projects, we aim to be pioneers and to safeguard our long-term positioning in the market. We will be faster and more efficient at implementing projects, which will also benefit our customers, who can expect an even higher level of project quality. And at the end, BIM forms the basis for providing our customers not only with a physical plant but also with a fully networked digital twin that can be used in the further phases of the plant’s life cycle.”

Better performance thanks to BIM

“BIM also has decisive advantages for us,” says Benjamin Berndzen: “BIM will help us minimize errors and complete projects faster. Initial successes in the application of the BIM method in customer projects already confirm these effects.

In modern plant engineering, we have to deal with a growing flood of data - BIM helps us to keep track

Since then, the method has already been applied to two other major projects and is gradually becoming the standard for project management. This also includes anchoring the application of the new method in the breadth of the order teams through training and application examples – which is not a matter of course. Well-known paths and habits in project handling must be abandoned, which is why understanding and acceptance among colleagues must be created.

An eye-opening model

With the coming contracts, the plan is for complete projects to be mapped in BIM from the outset. As feedback so far has shown, this makes our colleagues’ work much easier: “Anyone working on projects really appreciates the fact that transparent project data is available in one place. The model is a real eye-opener and provides a key overview of the entire course of the project.”