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Passion for digital engineering.

From computer-aided to computer-controlled

For years, the engineers at Infranea have been using advanced software to digitise design details. This creates tremendous potential in terms of 3D design, BIM services and VR simulation. However, ‘digital engineering’ is so much more than that…

What is digital engineering according to Infranea?

Digital engineering is the art of modelling, integrating and optimising design data thanks to digital competencies. It is the evolution from computer-aided to computer-controlled design of infrastructure. A digital engineer is therefore a programmer as well as an engineer. The design logic is explicitly coded in workflows and algorithms. The advantage is that the design process is traceable and repeatable, significantly improving both quality and productivity.

What method does Infranea use to convert digital engineering into practical reality?

Infranea methodes - digital engineering

 

 

Parametric Design – Generative Design

‘Parametric Design’ and ‘Generative Design’ are two examples of Computational Design. In the first method, all the principles, design rules, variables and decisions are translated into a script or algorithm. In the second, an auto-adaptive mathematical algorithm imitates nature to investigate all possible design solutions, suiting the goals, prerequisites and selection criteria.

Concurrent Engineering

‘Concurrent Engineering’ is a method whereby the various sub-processes work as much as possible in parallel, rather than in series. Thanks to this constant interaction and alignment, optimised solutions are reached much more quickly and efficiently.

Integrated BIM

‘Integrated BIM’ provides a connection between non-geometric meta-information, such as requirements and characteristics, and objects in the BIM model. This is an essential prerequisite for gaining an integrated information model.

Digital Twins

‘Digital Twins’ are digital replicas of the designed or constructed project, whereby the BIM model is translated into a VR model. These virtual models are perfect for carrying out all kinds of simulations, validations and trainings. By connecting sensor data (IoT), a living model is achieved for management and maintenance.

Machine learning

‘Machine learning’ is an AI method for discovering patterns in Big Data, by means of a self-learning and predictive mathematical model. These algorithms show trends and correlations that a human would not have noticed.

Model based engineering

‘Model based engineering’ focuses on creating and using data-based models as the primary means of exchanging information between engineers, in place of document-based data exchange.

What are the benefits of digital engineering for customers?

1. Greater quality

Thanks to digital engineering, many more design variants and optimisations can be tested, whereby the design is bound to better suit the requirements of the customer and the end user.

2. Better productivity

Thanks to digital engineering and the principles of Systems Engineering, we can create many more designs much faster. One digital engineer can do the work of two or three traditional engineers. This is not only a cost saving, at a time when engineers are scarce, but also a boost to efficiency. Indeed, the need for alignment reduces dramatically with less designers involved. This efficiency benefit also frees up more time during, or ideally before the start of the project, to do our homework really well on matters of strategy, prerequisites, criteria, collaboration, etc. So, if we first put forward certain costs during the preparation phase, then the benefits for the client are many times greater afterwards. A thorough plan of action during the preparation phase is a powerful lever when executing the design. However, the costs then come before the benefits and the customer must accept this.

3. More comprehensiveness

Thanks to digital engineering we can transcend all design disciplines. We are no longer dependent on an inadequate exchange of information between the different software packages. Digital engineers are now able to programme these exchanges themselves on a project-specific basis in order to teach software to communicate. Therefore, you are not dependent on standard exchange formats and software suppliers. Take a tunnel project, for example. Thanks to parametric design and integration scripts, designs from all technical disciplines – civil, infrastructure and technical – can all be integrated within a single model. This means there is far less need for clash controls, because the dependencies and interface requirements are immediately integrated into the design script. Prevention is always better than cure!

Our expert

Algorithms unleash the raw processing power of computers. This revolution from computer-aided to computer-controlled designs will have a fundamental impact on design practices.

Johan Kuppens, CEO of Infranea

What’s in the DNA of digital engineers at Infranea and how do they transform the world of infrastructure?

Read the interview with Johan Kuppens, CEO of Infranea

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