Desktop steel detailing software has been around for 25 years now, so the concept of automating the production of steel engineering and structural steel drawings as well as other facets of steel engineering design and fabrication cannot really be considered breaking news. So why is it that there is still a large sector of steel fabricators and engineering companies that are still working with 30 year old technology if remaining on 2D Cad, or worse still what are commonly described as fag packet sketches?
Part of the lack of adoption is the perceived cost and the other is the lack of understanding about the sheer productivity, and increased profitability that can be made using specialist technology, not only in the design department but also across other aspects of the business. Simply winning more tenders or getting a project right first time with no re-work or associated cost penalties will give a positive return of investment on a single job.
When structural steel detailing software first hit the market like many of ground breaking CAD packages the cost was simply too high for many smaller and mid sized business and the chances of getting a return on investment in the short to medium term was too big a risk to take.
This meant that in most cases it was the larger steel fabrication companies that could afford to adopt the technology as well as astute steel detailers who cottoned on to the fact that they take on a lot more work in the same amount of time as they were able to churn out structural steel drawings in a fraction of the time that they could before.
Other businesses that could see the benefits of moving from the drawing boards chose auto cad software, as even this enabled them to speed up their steel drafting activities but simply not to the same extent.
Best Steel Detailing Software
Nowadays however the cost of steel design software is affordable to all companies if they have the vision of how this software can increase the profitability of their businesses. Also the functionality of the software packages has evolved as well to appeal to a broader potential client base, but a few questions often crop up and these are generally who else uses it, what can it be used for and of course what is the best steel detailing software?
The first two questions are fairly straight forward to answer and a quick visit to any of the leading steel detailing software companies reference pages will give you a fair idea, but in summary these are generally companies involved in any of the following activities; structural engineering, civil engineering and bridge design, steel fabricators, steel frame building construction and design, heavy engineering, process plant and utilities, bulk material handling and so on.
Even in the manufacturing sector any where that steel or other metals are used some of the steel design and detailing software solutions offer productivity gains far in excess of those offered by the leading generic 3D cad modellers such as Solidworks, Autodesk inventor and Pro-e to name but a few, as these types of software simply do not have the specialist tools that businesses need, but to be fair they are more productive than simply working in 2D.