The Precast Show

Concrete Fabrication

I just had the opportunity to attend The Precast Show 2018 in Denver this March. This year’s event showcased a lot of new types of technologies that definitely warrant sharing in a blog post. I also must confess, I cannot pass up any opportunity to talk about precast concrete.

There was a lot more buzz at the conference this year around technology, especially in the areas of precast factory automation. With labor shortages plaguing the construction market at large, the precast industry is also impacted by the difficulty in finding qualified workers. The most common way that manufacturers are adapting to the labor shortage is by investing more in robotics and other automation technologies. Technologies provided by companies like Progress have been automating fabrication processes in Europe and Asia for several years now. This level of adoption of fabrication has taken awhile to grab hold in the US and Canada, but I am confident those markets are on the cusp of moving to these solutions.

Partner solutions moving to the cloud

One exciting technology that I saw was from PTAC our industry partner. They showcased the latest precast detailing capabilities for Revit using their EDGE for Revit. They also revealed some new AR/VR technology with DAQRI while touring a precast factory in Denver, CO. They started investing in the cloud a few years ago as more of their customers needed a better way to connect the design office to the factory and field. Their customers were using Revit to produce the shop deliverables digitally. But they weren’t truly leveraging the digital data in the factory to improve quality and productivity.  Therefore, PTAC began investing in the cloud and connecting their cloud technology to . They did this to better connect Revit precast assembly information in 3D to the factory to the office and field.

What is fascinating about this technology is that is gives a glimpse into the future of digitizing factory work. PTAC and DAQRI’s vision is that precast workers will be able to use digital information to improve the quality of their inspections, coordination and communication. The cloud is here and Augmented Reality investments are sky rocketing across many industries. As that continues I expect the cost of AR/VR hardware to drop, making applications like this very practical to implement.

I think it is great to see PTAC leading the industry here with what they showed. To learn more about their technology here:

At the show, technology vendors IDAT and  AGACAD who also presented their Revit-based precast detailing solutions.  IDAT provides ERP solutions for precast producers as well as services to customize Revit to drive the detailing process.  AGACAD provides precast and timber design solutions for both MEP and Structure professionals worldwide and have a nice precast solution using their novel Smart Assembly technology to automate precast production in Revit.

The Autodesk Structural Precast Extension for Revit 2019 is now available,  delivering even more automation of structural precast modelling-to-fabrication workflows. Learn more here.

To learn more about the latest Autodesk BIM technologies available for precast concrete, check out Tomasz Fudala’s posts here. You will learn about the use of Revit, Dynamo and the new precast extension called Structural Precast for Revit.


Michael Gustafson

Michael is currently Senior Industry Strategy Manager for Structural Engineering, responsible for establishing long-term Industry Strategy for structural analysis, design, detailing and fabrication with Autodesk. Michael practiced structural engineering at Ellerbe Becket and holds a BS and MS from the University of Minnesota, and an MBA from Michael J. Coles College of Business.

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