Digital engineering of virtual model
Digital engineering of virtual model

TCE is taking great strides towards adopting digital engineering tools for achieving speed, accuracy and predictability in engineering design for projects with an aim to adopt Industry 4.0 standards. Use of 3D design tools for complete engineering design has become the way of life for engineers at TCE. This article aims to present a case study where 3D engineering tools were used extensively for multidisciplinary engineering work for an industrial project in brownfield conditions covering the entire phase for collection of data for existing plant to completely integrating the existing data with the proposed plant extension and required enabling work for creation of the space for the expansion in the existing plant. The harmonized multi-disciplinary work approach resulted in an integrated project model incorporating all designed features required for the plant to produce highly accurate estimate of the work and predictable outcome.


As the engineering industry moves towards adopting the standards of Industry 4.0, the use of digital simulation tools are being used to create realistic, scaled and engineered design solutions to produce accurate virtual models. The engineers at TCE are using advanced digital tools in all sectors of engineering. Engineering projects are simulated and visualised digitally by creating a ‘digital double’ of the project before construction. Digital simulation brings a lot of predictability to engineering project management. Project delays are avoided and cost is managed well with the use of digital engineering systems. Modernisation and upgrades of old plants are also easily managed with digitisation so that there is minimum disruption.

One overseas steel manufacturer required to extend its product portfolio to more advanced products by increasing capabilities and improving quality. This required capability and quality requirements of its Hot Strip Mill (HSM) Reheating Furnaces to be enhanced by installing two new walking beam type furnaces (WBF). One furnace would be installed in area created by demolition of an existing older pusher type furnace (PTF) and the other would be installed by extension of the furnace building. TCE was entrusted with the engineering work for developing project design details to enable an accurate estimate (±10%) of the construction works to be prepared for the final detailed stage of engineering.

The existing plant building housing the furnaces comprises three bay structure termed PE Hall, PB Hall and PD Hall. To enable space for one of the new furnaces, the existing PB & PD hall requires an extension by 45.1 m towards west of existing frame structure at gable end grid 32A of PB Hall. The existing gable end near grid 32A will be dismantled and new gable end will be erected along grid 30. The existing column at grid 31 needs to be dismantled to accommodate new furnace. The existing roof system of PE hall would be supported by existing roof girder along grid DE due to removal of column 31. The project work components are listed as below:

1. Extension of existing PB Hall and PD Hall. 2. Removal of existing column along grid DE in line 31. 3. Modification of existing Semi-portal crane supporting structure. 4. Combined E room and Hydraulic room of WBF- 25. 5. Dismantling of Crane & Surge girder of PE Hall. 6. Dismantling of Semi-portal crane supporting structure. 7. Dismantling of South side wall of PE Hall. 8. Dismantling of existing Gable end of PB & PD Hall.

Scope of the 3D Engineering Work

The engineering for above modification involves the following steps: Preparation of scheme drawings based on approved OSR & discussion with client. Preparation of demolition drawings in 2-D platform & colouring the 3-D model of the existing structure Structural analysis & design Importing data from 3D Laser scan Preparation of 3D model for - Civil & Structural - Piping & Electrical - Mechanical Integration of civil & structural model with scan model Integration all the models

Development of the 3D Model of Structure

One of the main objectives for the project was to integrate the model for the new structure in extension part of building with the laser scan image of the existing part. This model of the existing structure was a non-intelligent model since no design related data could be extracted from the model. Only the existing geometry was available to be integrated with the model to be developed for the extension part of the structure. Many challenges were posed to the design team in collating the scan data and reconciling it with the “As-Built” information available from 2D drawings. The scan data in raw point-cloud form had to be processed and formatted through various software tools to make it ready for import into 3D model. Particular problem was encountered in fixing the baseline of the scan model with that of the design model since the coordinates (X-Y-Z) of the scan camera point had to be exactly matched to the plant grid coordinate system to ensure proper fitment between existing and new structure.

    • The information on substructure portion of the existing plant comprising foundations, cellars, basement, tunnels, flume channel was available only in the form of two dimensional (2D) drawings in “As-Built” status and from the details available in Option Study Report (OSR). These were converted to 3D model in Revit to correctly integrate and engineer with the facilities required for the new plant in extension portion.
    • Engineering work for the project
    • The engineering work for design of the various components of civil and structural elements for the project was carried out in stages. In the first stage, concept drawings for both substructure and superstructure were developed. These were primarily developed as 2D drawings using the specifications in the OSR as the baseline and existing drawings. The purpose of these drawings was to frame the basis for further detail engineering and 3D model development.
    • The scheme drawings were discussed in detail with the engineering team of the client to arrive at common understanding on the basis of engineering work to be carried out for the next stage. Some of the concepts outlined in the OSR were modified during the discussion stage to better suit the new plant requirements and the design basis for the next stage.
    • The demolition drawings were prepared in 2-D based on the above discussion & existing drawings. The same was shown in the integrated 3-D model in Naviswork platform in appropriate colour.
    • After confirmation of the concept and design basis, detail calculations for the various elements of the superstructure and substructure were carried out. Simultaneously, the development of the 3D model for superstructure and substructure also progressed in Revit.

    • Highlights of the 3D Model
    • The highlights of the 3D model for superstructure and substructure developed in Revit software are:
    • Items of existing structure identified for demolition are marked in RED in the 3D model. The demolition items identified are based on the OSR and existing drawings. Items of existing structure that will be reused in modified structure are marked in BLUE in the 3D model. 3D model was finalized based on member sizes obtained from detailed structural analysis and design. Connection details of members are not shown in the structure 3D model since these will be designed in subsequent detail engineering stage. Preliminary base details for the structural columns were designed and are shown in the model. Interface data for new equipment was not available hence the foundation interface elements of equipment like anchors and embedded parts are shown similar to existing furnace WBF 24. Earthwork for excavation including excavation protection requirements like sheet piping work was also built into the 3D model. Final 3D model is developed in 3 parts – existing, dismantling part and new structure. These models are then combined in Navisworks to generate model for total plant. All 2D design drawings including excavation drawings are extracted from the 3D Revit model. The BOQ of the new structure was extracted from the 3-D model.