Adopting Autodesk Technology to Drive Automation in Workflows
- on January 05, 2021
- Categories: Civil Infrastructure Articles and Discussions
Part 1 of 3: Adopting Autodesk Technology to Drive Automation in Workflows
What’s Your Commitment to Automation?
As I sit here in my home office, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind... pants. Don’t worry, I’ve got my zebra print Zubaz® on. However, I would have bet big money that you’d say automation.
And what comes to mind when you think of automation? Autodesk of course (sorry I couldn’t resist the plug).
But what is automation?
According to Webster, it is “the technique of making an apparatus, a process, or a system operate automatically.” We can also add that automation requires little user input. When you hear someone mention automation in the CAD world, what do you envision? Likely you think of car manufacturing plants or something similar.
Some industries, such as manufacturing, adopted automation many years ago. I asked a friend of mine on the manufacturing side when was the last time he looked at a paper set of plans, and, after a bit of thinking, he indicated that it had been over 20 years. On the other side of the coin, we have industries where 2D is still the norm and paper is still king.
In my opinion, one industry that is behind and could truly benefit from more automation is the civil/infrastructure industry, though there are signs that it is starting to see the light and come around to the automation dark side (perhaps kicking and screaming a little), but moving in the right direction, nonetheless.
In today’s atmosphere where we want things last week, automation has proven to help us streamline our design process so that repetitive and mundane processes are completed by the application automatically.
Take roundabouts as an example, you’re not part of the cool crowd unless you have one. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could quickly and in an automated way generate a roundabout design so that you too could be part of the cool crowd? There are tools that can do this (think Autodesk InfraWorks and Vehicle Tracking).
The good news is if you are using Autodesk applications such as Civil 3D, Revit, Navisworks, and others, you are currently utilizing some automation in your workflow—but there’s so much more that could be done.
What if the design engineer and CAD technician had more time to spend on the actual design and/or design alternatives? What if you had more time to spend traversing Permit Mountain (and can someone please tell me when filling out permits became the latest craze)? Tlk about a need for automation!
Still craving more? Would you consider automation to be a benefit if you could somehow run, an optimization on your finished ground profile versus using the tried and true trial-and-error method? How about analyzing traffic flow on a conceptual design before generating a detailed design? Would that not be considered a benefit?
Automation is something you should be embracing to the fullest extent. What if you could design in less time, make fewer mistakes, and potentially take on more projects? How much time do you think that would save? Perhaps I should ask it another way: How much value would you put on that time? Would that time and cost savings encourage you to invest more in automation?
When it comes to automation and the adoption by the infrastructure/civil industry, I always thought that the contractor side of the coin with automated machine guidance and requests for accurate surface models would be the proverbial boot to the infrastructure/civil backside.
Alas, there a still a few stragglers that supply data to the field that puts contractors in the awkward position of having to re-work it to use it. Reaching these stragglers to help them adopt the latest technology is our primary goal.
Perhaps it needs to start with the stakeholder, or perhaps a bigger boot is in order.
Change is inevitable and automation is here to stay which is why Autodesk has put so much effort and resources into products that take us to the finish line along a more automated route.
So, where does all this leave us? Since I was monologuing a little, I’ll break it down into the following words of advice.
First, take advantage of the Autodesk software you currently have—it will help you automate processes, decrease design time and potentially increase profits.
Second, invest in your firm by investing in your people. One way to do this is by empowering them with modern technology to help them work smarter and sharpen their skills which will help your firm complete more successful projects.
To sum it up, one price of doing business — the adoption of automation, a fact that is especially true in today’s world. Take time to evaluate technology that drives improved workflows, automates tedious tasks and improves efficiency. Don’t know where to start? Ask us…we’re happy to share ideas, experience, guidance and education through free webinars and our Online University program.
Finally, I am going to leave you with a special visual... I don’t own a pair of Zubaz.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Sustainability and Part 3: Design Collaboration