Every successful project starts with a framework. A vision statement. A blueprint. The editors of Engineered Systems present The Blueprint — a monthly Q&A interview with HVACR engineering’s leading voices. These one-on-one discussions will examine the trade’s history, current industry trends, the factors shaping the sector’s future, and more.
Victaulic is a global manufacturer of mechanical pipe joining methods (fittings & couplings), flow control, and fire protection systems and is the inventor of the grooved pipe coupling. The company builds innovative technologies and provides engineering services that address complex piping challenges faced by engineers, contractors, distributors, site owners, and property managers.
This month, Herb Woerpel, editor-in-chief of Engineered Systems discusses the advantages of model-based estimating, examines a few of the company’s AutoCAD tools, and more with Ralph Schoch, software, technology, and internal support manager in the virtual design and construction (VDC) department at Victaulic.
Engineered Systems: Ralph, thanks for your time today. Could you please introduce yourself to our audience?
Ralph Schoch: I am the software, technology, and internal support manager in the virtual design and construction (VDC) department at Victaulic, one of the world's leading producers of mechanical pipe joining solutions. I have worked with 3D piping system layouts and designs for global projects for 25 years. I am a board member for the Lehigh Valley BIM Professionals Group as well as a member of the Autodesk Developers Network and a professional member of AUGI.
Engineered Systems: In 2015, Victaulic launched Victaulic Tools for Revit® (VTFR). Tell us about the evolution of this product.
Schoch: Faced with an internal need to get a reliable bill of material from Revit, the Victaulic team created the “Procurement Tool.” Once VTFR was launched, we then had a host of productivity tools for routing and managing content. Now, VTFR is used throughout the world to create engineering to fabrication-ready models that can be easily procured, spooled, and modularized for construction.
Engineered Systems: List a few of the advantages that model-based estimating and BIM capabilities affords consulting and specifying engineers.
Schoch: Properly leveraging the building information modeling (BIM) process to gain better control of material as well as having the ability to control risk during the construction phases of a project are key advantages. Using accurate material quantities provides a better understanding of labor and schedule per each area and each floor of a project.
Engineered Systems: The company just finished up Autodesk University 2020. Tell us about this event and its role within the built environment.
Schoch: Victaulic looks forward to Autodesk University every year. We use it as a platform for major releases of our software solutions and as an opportunity to see what other industry leaders are doing. This year’s virtual platform enabled Victaulic entire 115-person VDC team to attend classes and keynote presentations. The opportunity for continued education is a key factor to bringing in new ideas and forecasting the direction of the industry in the months and years ahead.
Engineered Systems: Victaulic made some pretty exciting announcements at the event, including the release of Victaulic Tools for AutoCAD® (VTFA). Introduce us to this new tool.
Schoch: VTFA is a simple-to-use pipe routing toolset. It provides all the Victaulic content you need in addition to productivity tools to improve fitting placement, rotation, tagging, and bills of material. The Victaulic products are made readily available within the content center so piping systems can be efficiently designed and constructed.
Engineered Systems: This really streamlines the BIM process, regardless what platform (Revit or AutoCAD) engineers prefer, correct?
Schoch: Victaulic has content libraries for more than 25 different software solutions that our customers use to design piping systems worldwide, all using different regional piping standards. By having software tools for Revit and AutoCAD, we have strengthened our commitment to support our customers in whatever software makes sense for their business. We expanded the success of VTFR into AutoCad, which supercharged engineering designs in either software with a host of productivity tools and Active Smart Content.
Engineered Systems: The company also released a so-called “spell checker” in its VTFR platform. Please share some more information on this.
Schoch: That’s a tool called Project Mentor, which allows for the configuration of custom rules specific to project or organization requirements and helps users ensure their designs are as accurate as possible. Victaulic provides a host of rules to check for common design errors. Each “Mentor Rule” also contains “Connected Rule Items” to check for connected items within a system. This makes it possible to check the placement of valves and accessories in how they are connected within the piping system to verify proper design criteria is being met.
Templates can be managed and shared using the Project Mentor Configurator. Use the “Check Model” button to check your model against a particular template. Model checking options can be run on an entire project or just a selection.
Engineered Systems: And, finally, to simplify these offerings and the Victaulic package as a whole, the company launched its Victaulic Software website. What can engineers find here?
Schoch: The new website, www.victaulicsoftware.com, was built specifically to empower our software users by offering a more comprehensive view of Victaulic’s software solutions. Dedicated pages for both VTFR and VTFA feature resources and support for each platform. The site enables its users to be faster from the start.