Polantis presents the BIM approach of the world leader in aluminum composite panels. Discover the Alucobond Case Study: behind the scenes of the creation of the CAD and BIM catalogue.
The BIM approach
Alucobond was introduced to Polantis in 2013, and its BIM (Building Information Modelling) approach was special because it was exceptional as it was developed in two phases.
A decision was made to create a model for the manufacturer’s panels, by first developing shaders or textures. The objective was to enable users to view the aesthetic qualities of the Alucobond products in the work that they were designing at the time.
In 2016, with many shaders produced and with Alucobond better understanding of designers’ interest, the teams opted for the creation of three facade panels.
What’s the advantage of downloading a complete Alucobond system? It lies in the ability to integrate a panel into a digital model and combine a texture with it in order to:
- Take advantage of the opportunity to integrate a digital model system: automated calculations, synthesized product information, etc.
- Take advantage of a perfect rendering to allow the designer to “sell” the final work
Throughout the modeling process, Polantis found in Alucobond’s German teams an attentive interlocutor that was careful to respond to the expectations of the user.
The composition table of the “Hooked on bolts Suspendend Tray Panels”: systems and shaders are included
Shader modeling for Revit
In 2013, the chief architect of the Alucobond project at Polantis visited the Alucobond factory in Singen to learn about the history of the manufacturer, its manfacturing processes, and the attention paid to the quality of the designs created for facades.
Once production began, back-and-forth communication between Alucobond and Polantis were necessary for adjusting the level of realism and specificity of the colors in order to achieve a perfect rendering. The shader modeling was created thanks to the catalog of refererences and the samples scanned which were provided to the architecture team by the manufacturer.
Modeling of shaders for Archicad
In 2016, Alucobond asked Polantis to develop a range of textures first created for Revit for the ArchiCAD software.
The team dedicated to the Archicad program then took on the project. It was necessary to go back practically to the starting point to recreate each of the 94 textures: it was possible to retrieve the elements since they were RAL, the scale of the textures, and the dimensions of the designs.
Modelling the most elaborate textures was done from the Archicad rendering engine: the CineRender. In the same way as Revit, the level of difficulty varied according to the complexity of the texture: metallic aspects, fresnel effects, reliefs, etc.
The advantage of ArchiCAD is that CineRender is a very high-performance rendering engine, so the user can stay within the software and observe the aesthetic qualities of the product, without having to open up a third-party software program, so it’s easier to view the textures.
Upon its involvment in the second phase, the team in charge of modeling in ArchiCad suggested to Alucobond to allow users a download by packs: several shades of the same line could be downloaded in one go.
This simpler operation was adopted by the modelling team for Revit.
Modeling of the panels
Three years later, with the textures modeled, Alucobond asked Polantis architects to work on the “background”, or rather, “backstage”. How many panels, how many slabs were behind a texture applied onto a given surface? What was going on behind the texture?
Modeled facades are a real time-saver for designers, who can try out several possibilities in the drafting phase, with the use of an automatic tile layout calculation and the chance to visualize the applied colors.
First, the team examined the level of desired details, and it was agreed that three would be developed:
- The 1st level is a simple representation of a facade panel: in terms of the file weight, replacing a generic wall with an Alucobond panel came out to the same thing. Smartly, the Alucobond wall automatically calculates the number of panels as well as the cut-outs for the doors and windows.
- The 2nd level is a more realistic representation than the first level, but it doesn’t go into exhaustive detail. The goal? Work on the interaction with other elements of the model. This level also allows for the combining of several Alucobond textures: each panel can be associated with a color or a different design for maximum creativity.
- The 3rd level is a very detailed representation of the system. The bearer system, screws, details regarding proofing, and component links are shown. This object should only be used to understand the construction system, and it should only be used for a close-up of the product.
Four layers can be distinguished by modelling the panel with the highest level of detail:
- The bearing wall: masonry, concrete, metal, etc.
- The proofing
- The aeration layer
- The Alucobond panel with the fastener to be used for the proofing
Modeling of panels for ArchiCAD
In order to offer its BIM solution to a maximum number of users, in 2016, Alucobond also chose to offer a range of its systems to ArchiCAD.
The architects in charge of the project therefore produced:
- A simple version of the panel on which the textures developed could be applied, with automatic compliance with the scale: the panel reacts in ArchiCAD as it would react on the construction site. This level of detail does not allow for alternating textures on a single panel, and it is not possible to select panel parts independently from one another.
- A curtain wall version which will allow application of different textures onto a single panel and prepare a gridding for the length and width of each panel. Parameters can be set for the entire wall.
It is interesting to note that in ArchiCad, the BIM’d product is considered a parametric object while in Revit, it is considered a system object.
The desire to serve a maximum number of specifiers
The two software programs do not at all have the same functions at all, therefore it was impossible for the Polantis teams to think about the modelling of Alucobond products in the same way. The two teams worked independently from one another. Far from harming the production, these reflexions allowed the teams to obtain a global view of the project, and to innovate in order to underpin the Alucobond BIM approach.
Over the past months, on Polantis, downloads in BIM formats are distributed between formats as follows:
Revit totaled 47.3% of the downloads, so it is common for manufacturers to start their BIM approach by having their product modeled on that software. However, modelling in ArchiCad is more and more commonly requested by manufacturers.