Structural engineering of today works in an international environment. It is more important than ever to communicate frequently with many other AEC industry disciplines across the globe. Engineers are under pressure to cut costs and factors associated with their buildings while obtaining even more excellent performance, so researching a wide range of design options is essential. Automation is a desired option because engineering businesses must complete projects as quickly as possible to stay relevant.
One-way structural engineering firms can keep on top of the game is to embrace cloud technologies. They can automate their processes to construct better buildings more quickly, increase communication, and conduct complex research quickly and automatically.
Describe the cloud
In today’s society, it’s challenging to go a day without hearing about the cloud, but what exactly is it, and what does it represent for structural engineers? “The on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage (cloud storage) and computational power, without direct active supervision by the user,” according to Wikipedia, is what the cloud is.
The cloud is a method of using the internet to access data, software, and services. With the cloud, all you now need is a reliable internet connection and the appropriate cloud services provider, as opposed to the past when you had to have that or that software on your computer.
Specifically, structural engineering has a lot of excellent advantages. Let’s examine each of those and discuss some suggestions for making the most of these technologies.
1. Online meetings
Due to the global epidemic, remote meetings have been increasingly popular over the past two years. Structural engineering can interact with workers worldwide via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and other platforms. Sharing your screen during remote meetings is a handy feature. No matter where they are, engineers can now examine structural design calculations and BIM models together by concurrently viewing the same document or model.
TIP: When a group of engineers is present in person in one room, and some others join remotely, there may be a problem with online meetings. This may create two meeting spaces inside a single meeting—the physical and the subsequent virtual meeting spaces. It can be challenging for distant participants to fully engage on the same level as their in-person counterparts. Use this straightforward guideline for remote meetings to avoid this issue: if one person is online, everyone is too.
2. File exchange and teamwork
To develop and share modifications to the structural model in almost real-time, many providers of structural engineering software offer collaborative editing of models right in the browser. While viewing the same model concurrently on a screen during remote meetings is excellent, what about collaboratively working on such models? The days of sending structural models to coworkers or outside parties like architects, waiting for their changes, and then having the models delivered back to you are long gone, thanks to the cloud.
If your program doesn’t support editing in the cloud, uploading the model to a single site available to multiple users is simple. Changes can then be made through further uploads. The model’s history may thus be easily monitored, enabling reversal to earlier versions of the model if a design choice is reversed.
The ability to distribute these models as “view-only” makes it simple to explain the structural design to coworkers, partners, and project stakeholders.
3. Website APIs
Few structural engineers will be comfortable with standard desktop APIs, much fewer web APIs! The term “API” stands for “Application Programming Interface,” but in plain English, it is a way to instruct structural analysis and design software by writing some computer code.
The exciting potential for automating portions of your workflow for structural analysis and design is made possible through APIs. You can instruct your structural program to create a model, do an analysis, and then report the findings to you. This works particularly well when running repetitive designs or experimenting with various structural approaches.
You can perform structural analysis and design automatically, wherever you are when you combine an API with the cloud’s “access anywhere” mentality. Data from your PC can be transferred to the cloud using a simple program, which will then return the findings of structural analysis and design.
The Structural Analysis & Design API from SkyCiv is the first on the market, giving structural engineers access to automation. It is even simpler to start using your solutions immediately, thanks to dedicated help to get them up and running.
4: High-Performance Computerization
Because structural analysis is a computationally challenging task, a powerful PC is needed to complete it rapidly. When computers were initially created, entire rooms were occupied by them. This changed in the 1990s and 2000s as desktop computers and software gained enormous popularity. Structural engineers either purchased expensive PCs to speed up their analyses or paid a higher price in terms of time by waiting for large models to complete and provide them with solutions.
These big computer rooms and the computing power they provide have come into focus in the last 20 years as a result of the development and wide usage of the internet. We refer to these computer-filled spaces as “Servers.” The actual location of the cloud and its operating system are servers. This equipment makes high-speed computing more accessible to more people and provides a fantastic alternative to personal computers that are getting more and more powerful.
This helps structural engineers to perform structural analysis tasks using a lightweight (both literally and figuratively) personal computer and the cloud. Large structural models with numerous members, plates, and load cases/combinations can be run in the cloud without the structural engineer’s need for expensive hardware. Models that previously would have taken hours to run on a desktop computer can now produce results in seconds or minutes because of high-performance computing.
High-performance computing in the cloud allows engineers to create and analyze several models simultaneously. In the past, they might have needed to do so over several days or weeks. Additionally, numerous models may be run concurrently. Structural engineers can better understand their projects’ structural behavior, produce findings more quickly, and complete tasks more swiftly.
The cloud has many advantages for structural engineers, from automation and quick structural evaluations to communication and teamwork. Engineers can use these tools to develop more effectively, quickly, and in sync with their peers in other AEC disciplines.
Some software applications that tap into the power of the cloud are available from businesses like SkyCiv. These businesses’ software is entirely cloud-based and includes sharing and versioning. Their Structural Analysis and Design API allows you to automate structural workflows from any device, anywhere, and a team of professionals is frequently available to assist you. Finally, they always work to improve their technology and use the cloud.