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Computer-integrated manufacturing for constructional steelwork

The overall objective is to provide the european structural
steelwork industry with the means to overhaul itself by
introducing purpose-developed, computer integrated
manufacturing (cim) systems.

The CIMSTEEL project, an initiative of the BRITISH CONSTRUCTIONAL STEELWORK ASSOCIATION (BCSA), was announced at the Ministerial Conference in Madrid on 15 September, 1987. It is a collaborative venture in which more than 70 partners and other organisations from 9 European countries have participated. The project is committed to the integration and enhancement of competitiveness of the European Constructional Steelwork Industry from client brief through the structure's complete life cycle. The project will accelerate the development and implementation of European engineering standards and methods for integrating the associated activities. The project aims are being realised through: * bringing to the industry sector an appreciation of the business advantages of IT integration of design, manufacturing and management processes incorporated in the concept of "Managing Information for Profit". * developing Information Models and computer system architectures to provide a framework for the exchange of technical information between different software products * exploiting the opportunity provided by the introduction of European Structural Codes to develop design procedures for use in the collaborating countries. * incorporating the Design Procedures into new software. This broadly based pre-competitive research project is developing: a range of software modules; product model and data exchange standards; improved codes of practice based on the new Eurocodes 3 and 4,; improved structural analysis, design and construction methods; connection design and detailing procedures, including knowledge-based systems; management information systems for manufacturing; and a guide to automation. It must be pointed out, however, that the objective of CIMSTEEL is not to provide a common European stand-alone computer package with pre-defined applications for the design and fabrication of steel structures. A key aspect of the project is the creation of an "open systems" strategy and standards to enable information to be transferred between applications software in digital form, both within and between companies. The Logical Product Module (LPM) is a fundamental part of the CIMSTEEL Integration Standards (CIS) which use data exchange files which comply with ISO 10303 Part 21 for transferring information. The LPM defines a systematic way of structuring the many types of engineering information that are associated with a steel frame during its design, detailing, fabrication and erection. The CIS forms the basis of the new ISO/STEP standard AP230 - Building Structural Frame: steelwork. The project has been broken down into three phases: - Phase I (2 years): . during this definition phase, the requirements of the European constructional Steelwork industry were studied to gain detailed understanding of its organisation and assess the best ways of achieving greater efficiency and therefore increased financial viability. Major characteristics of the industry included: high fragmentation, multi-disciplinary participants, cyclic process and variety of computer tools in use. An important modelling activity, which resulted in generic function and data reference models, allowed the identification of the main functions and data flows to be integrated. It also highlighted the areas where the harmonisation and/or simplification of engineering practice (know-how) could lead to reduced costs and increased efficiency. - Phase IIa (6 years): this pre-development phase is concerned with the production of the recommendations resulting from Phase I. The core activities are being coordinated by the three European task groups (TG): *Model TG: dealing essentially with the information technology aspects, i.e. the definition of the CIMSTEEL integration platform, and in particular the LPM and the TSA (Target System Architecture). Three European prototypes (March 1992, September 1993 and October 1994) demonstrated the viability of the concepts developed by allowing data exchange, through neutral files and a product model database between applications from partners. *Design TG: co-ordinating all the work being undertaken on codes of practice, analysis, member design and connection design and detailing. The work included writing design procedure guidelines which comply with the new Eurocodes 3 and 4, and which will be useful to both designers and application developers. Some software modules are now commercially available and others are under development. *Manufacturing TG: co-ordinating the work of direct interest to those organisations which physically handle, fabricate and erect steelwork. The areas of interest include Manufacturing Information Systems (MIS), quality assurance, and the scoping and simulation of a prototype welding cell and examination of its financial viability. - Phase IIb (2.5 years): which started in July 1994, will allow for completion of remaining work under the different task groups and overseeing the production of commercial products based on the CIMSTEEL Integration Standards (CIS) being undertaken outside the Project by both partners and associate partners. It will also focus on dissemination activities (seminars, papers, articles catalogue of products, etc.), setting up a follow-on structure (the CIMSTEEL executive body - CIMEB) to guarantee coherent exploitation exploitation of individual and collective results, as well as centralised maintenance of the technical specifications developed within the project and also setting up the CIS Forum. This includes contact with international standardisation organisations. In June 1993, a STEP Application Protocol Planning Project was accepted, AP230 is now under development based on the CIS. Overall management and technical co-ordination of the project is the responsibility of the European Technical Steering Committee (ETSC) which comprises representatives from all national lead organisations.
Acronym: 
CIMSTEEL (IMP)
Project ID: 
130
Start date: 
15-09-1987
Project Duration: 
123months
Project costs: 
47 130 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.