Steel Detailing is a process to prepare a detailed plan, drawings, and required documents for steel fabrication and erection. It is the responsibility of a steel detailer to create detailed shop drawings and layout drawings; these drawings and documents are further utilized by Steel Fabricators and Erectors for the construction of steel structures like columns, metal decks, stairs, beam, trusses, etc. Comprehensive steel detailing includes dimension, size, material and surface specification, manufacturing and welding specifications, welding and bolting, etc. These details bring out precision and accuracy while manufacturing the steel structure. The architects, engineers, fabricators, and contractors use this information for a smooth construction process and workflow.
Role and importance of structural steel detailing in construction and structural engineering
Structural Steel Detailing is an essential and crucial step for Structural Engineering, Construction, and manufacturing of steel components for various residential, commercial, and industrial projects. It is an essential requirement for Pre-Engineered Buildings, light metal framing for commercial or residential projects, construction of bridges, aluminum curtain walling, and large structures.
The shop drawing and erection drawing generated through steel detailing give all required minuscule details that help in precise and accurate fabrication and erection of steel components. Shop drawings include material specification, dimension, size, welding, bolting, and details significant for fabrication. Whereas, erection drawings specify the location of each component and installing details of bolts, wedging anchors, and welding spots.
The engineers, architects, and fabricators can estimate the complexity of steel structure, its cost, usage, production details, and the load structure can bear, using these drawings and details. They rely on these details for sound production, to reduce flaws, error, and construction accuracy. The team can avoid time spent on re-work, communicate and coordinate effectively, and optimize the process by fetching the details from steel detailing.
Modern techniques gradually replaced the conventional way of steel detailing
The steel detailing techniques initially started with the traditional approach, manual drafting methods used to be performed with the help of pencils, paper, and drafting tools like parallel bars and drafting machines. For steel detailing skills in mathematics, reasoning, spatial visualization and communication are required in addition to drafting. Therefore, Logarithmic tables, mathematical tables, and hand-held calculators used to perform calculations; and templates of circles, triangles, and other different shapes used to be the design tools.
With time, computer-aided drafting replaced manual drafting, CAD software was specifically used for 2D designing, the detailers used the computer to create the design and printed the final design on paper. 3D modeling applications got introduced to steel detailing with the advancement in technology, the detailer started developing the projects in 3D and created detailed shop drawings from the 3D model.
Innovation and advancement in technology have introduced modern techniques in the process of steel detailing and fabrication.
Here is a list of few modern trends that have eased the whole process of Steel detailing and fabrication.
3D BIM has emerged as the most popular and important tool for steel detailers and fabricators. The 3D BIM software such as Tekla is faster than 2D detailing; With 3D modeling, a detailed and information equipped model is developed, which offers better visualization and insight into the project, and has the potential to handle any problem that occurs in steel detailing process. The 3D BIM model can fetch data like raw materials, dispatch lists, shop floor drawings for fabrication, etc. The technology can integrate essential services that are required for large projects, can update and make the changes easily, and can handle complex design efficiently. It enhances collaboration and alignment, as a single model is used for detailing, fabrication, and erection.
The evolution of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning has automated the process of construction and saved time and effort by making manual activities redundant. Modern steel detailing software has automated several activities like shop drawing, fabrication and erection drawing, robotic welding, forging and casting, cutting and punching, and other data and reports creation. It is because of automation that time and effort invested in detailing, fabrication, and erection process has seen reduction. And it is the result of automation that labor cost is minimum and projects can meet their deadline.
Management Information System (MIS)
Steel detailing and fabrication requires a large amount of paperwork, communication, and lengthy manual information input and flow. MIS technology has eased the whole process by offering an effective way to store, manage, and share the project information. The real-time information sharing technique avoids costly mishaps, production errors, and brings in profitable projects. The seamless data flow between the stakeholders ensures everyone is in the loop and identify any pain points on time. MIS is user-friendly and easy, and fast to learn, the fabricators can work more effectively using the technology.
Steel cutting technique
The modern technology has made manual steel cutting a conventional method; plenty of steel cutting techniques introduced in steel fabrication. The steel cutting techniques like plasma cutting, laser cutting, and waterjet cutting brings precision, accuracy, increase speed, and eases the process. The software like Tekla structure displays the cut line with the help of dash and dot lines. Steel detailers and fabricators can recognize the steel structure design, the artworks, and miniature structures on it because of the efficiency and accuracy in steel cutting.
Tekla - As a strong and efficient steel detailing software
Tekla is dominating the construction industry for a long time; the efficiency in workability and quality output has made Tekla the highly-rated software in steel detailing. Tekla Structure is a structural BIM application similar to Revit; its expertise lies in steel detailing through a commercially effective 3D detailing item called ‘Xsteel’. Tekla was initially known as XSteel. Because of its flexibility, Tekla can create a detailed 3D model for any steel structure i.e., residential, commercial, industrial, shipbuilding, stadiums, or any other large projects. It can detail, fabricate, and erect all types of steel structure maintaining the quality and within time and budget. The Modeling scope with Tekla Structures consists of Structural Steel, Cast-in-Place (CIP), Concrete, Reinforcing Bar, Miscellaneous Steel, and Light Gauge Drywall Framing.
These are the features that make Tekla the most promising and suitable software for Steel detailing and fabrication.
Automates shop drawing, fabrication, and other details - The Shop drawing process is automated in Tekla Structures; it reduces human error and improves accuracy. There are five types of drawings that Tekla Structures can generate; Single part drawings, per part, assembly drawings, general arrangement drawings, multi drawings, and cast unit drawings. Fabrication drawings, erection drawings, reports, bill of materials, and schedules generate automatically using the model. These drawings get updated automatically if any change is made to the model.
Automatic clash checking - The automatic clash detection features of Tekla Structure detects the conflicts in the model before the project progresses to the shop floor or site. The model develops with an intelligent connection that adapts according to the situation.
Integrates BIM and fabrication MIS - The software integrates BIM and Fabrication Management Information System; it organizes the workflow to provide real-time management of fabrication, data for CNC processing, enable material handling, and robotic assembly. With Tekla PowerFab, the fabrication process can be managed thoroughly with right and precise information.
Supports large models with multiple and simultaneous users - Tekla supports large models and multiple users can work on a single project at the same time irrespective of their location, internet speed, and time zone. The model can be shared even on mobile to maintain the information flow between various teams.
Benefits of using Tekla
Avoid detailing errors - The detailing errors are reduced and avoided with Tekla accuracy is maintained. The automatic creation of drawings and reports avoids manual error and rework in fabrication is minimized.
Optimize communication and co-ordination - The intelligent and informative 3D model of Tekla provides a smooth workflow, model sharing updates the production and other stakeholders of the project, and the flow of information is fluid, which further improves the co-ordination.
Collaborate with other software - Tekla can import, export, and link your data with other software solutions. It can collaborate with other digital construction tools and fabrication machinery to smoothen the workflow. For example, through IFC, it links with architectural, MEP, and Plant design software.
Localized software - Tekla is available in 17 languages and 32 environments, supports more than 20 local languages and has 24/7 technical and learning support.
Partner with eLogicTech to make the best out of Tekla's structural steel detailing capabilities
In the progress and completion of a project, Steel Detailing has a crucial contribution. So it becomes critical to choose an efficient Steel detailing software - almost the entire construction industry is shifting to Tekla because of its enormous benefits and advanced features. eLogicTech being a specialist Tekla steel detailing service provider can help complete structural engineering projects within the stipulated time, budget, and coordination. Apart from a leading BIM, MEP, and architectural engineering service partner, eLogicTech Solutions has an in-house engineering team to handle complex AEC projects with ease. Looking for a reliable Tekla partner, contact the eLogicTech's engineering team today.