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Trimble and Howick at Offsite Construction Week - Expo


The Offsite Expo remains a key date in the construction calendar, and it’s clear to see why, with a real buzz and excitement around the themes of digitalisation, innovation and collaboration. The Trimble team had a fantastic time at last year’s event and are looking forward to returning in September 2024!


A key focus was demonstrating the tools and features we have available for the whole design to manufacture workflow, helping offsite manufacturers and detailers take their work to the next level. Focusing on how users can streamline their existing processes and improve accuracy, we showcased our Volumetric Module Tool and how Trimble’s openBIM approach can support an automated manufacturing process.


When it comes to offsite construction, it’s important that we take a step back and really delve into the detail, ensuring that we are detailing with manufacture and assembly in mind. By using an information-rich 3D model, you can really think about how the structure is going to be fabricated, assembled, lifted and transported. BIM gives you an extra constructible dimension, with a streamlined flow of data for use at all stages.


With this in mind, it was great to partner with Howick, the light steel roll-forming machinery innovators, at Offsite Expo. Trimble and Howick have a long and valued history of working together on a range of plug-in tools for Tekla modelling software, with the first iteration of tools developed in 2009.


We chatted with Nick Coubray, CEO at Howick, to find out more…


How did the partnership first come about?

From early on in our development process, we have always intended for our machines to have an open language interface to allow customers to choose the best software for their application. We understand that customers invest heavily in their software platforms and won’t want to change their core design processes for a piece of equipment.


The partnership with Tekla came about through the need for hot rolled structures and light gauge steel panels to be integrated for larger modular designs.


What do you see as being the main value or benefit of these tools for Tekla users?

It’s the ability to have fully detailed designs incorporating light gauge steel, hot rolled steel, concrete and ancillary products all in a single, live model, without the need to re-design each element or material separately. 


Outputting data from Tekla to a wide range of equipment enables teams to collaborate easily and manage design changes effectively, all reducing the likelihood of issues on site.


Why are such partnerships like this so important for the industry?

Partnering across different aspects of the industry, from concept creation to materials, processes, design and execution, helps to make the construction process as a whole more cohesive. It enables us to learn and share knowledge around what works best, increasing productivity.


Where do you see the future of Offsite Construction going?

Offsite covers the entire construction industry, from single small structures to huge buildings, including structural elements, services and building envelope. I think the main challenge is to build knowledge of the small offsite elements, which can be applied to all building types for productivity gains. For example, in traditional buildings there’s a large number of repetitive details that could be manufactured offsite. The key to this will be engaging with all key stakeholders as early as possible.


Learn more here.

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