BIM Basics – How building information modelling tools help recession-proof your glass business
December 21, 2023 By Tom Schwarzweller
Canada’s glass manufacturing industry is currently valued at approximately $2.2 billion. Its market size has declined by 2.5 percent in the last year.
Glass manufacturing organizations, particularly those concerned about the industry’s declining value, can benefit from incorporating new technologies, such as building information modelling (or BIM), into everyday processes and operations.
Some of the advantages of utilizing BIM in glass manufacturing are explained below, along with ideas on how glass manufacturing organizations can begin utilizing it.
What Is BIM?
Building Information Modelling (BIM) digitizes the design process and has the potential to improve collaboration, information sharing, budgeting, and more.
This technology provides users involved in various aspects of the design and construction process (including glass manufacturers) with a centralized environment where they can collaborate and store information related to a particular asset — a school, office building, etc.
All essential data related to the project gets stored within this solution, including information on the shape, layout, construction timeline, budgets, and logistics.
The Role of BIM Tools in Glass Manufacturing
In addition to assisting with construction projects, building information modelling tools can also be used in glass manufacturing, specifically. The following are some examples of how BIM technology can make glass manufacturing more efficient and accurate.
Design and Visualization
Manufacturers can utilize BIM in day-to-day operations to simplify design processes and produce higher-quality project plans.
With the help of features like generative design, as well as advanced communication and collaboration components, these tools ensure that all stakeholders in a project are working with accurate models and are on the same page from day one.
BIM also allows for easier visualization. It creates a three-dimensional model of a project and helps team members see what they’re working on, pick up on crucial details, and gain a better understanding of the project overall.
BIM can help to prevent misunderstandings and streamline planning processes as well.
Because it allows for easier collaboration, it helps team members to alert each other to potential problems sooner and avoid making mistakes while designing windows, doors, and other critical building elements.
Budgeting and Cost Management
By simplifying the planning and design processes, BIM technology can also help manufacturers budget appropriately.
BIM allows for more precise and more accurate cost estimation, both when it comes to materials lists and calculating additional information, such as the number of man-hours required to complete a project, the cost of materials, etc.
BIM simplifies scheduling, too, by helping manufacturers create accurate timelines. It also makes it easier for them to keep track of crucial logistical information, such as when certain materials are expected to be delivered.
Improvements in scheduling make it easier for all stakeholders to complete tasks on time and prevent slow-downs (as well as the expenses that can result from them).
Optimizing Production Processes through BIM Integration
With the help of building information modelling technology, glass manufacturers can optimize all aspects of their production processes. Here are some examples of this optimization in action:
Reduced Communication Errors
It’s easy for misunderstandings to occur during manufacturing and construction projects, especially larger ones that have many different players with varying levels of involvement.
BIM technology centralizes the planning and design processes — as well as all other aspects of the project — and prevents communication errors that could lead to misunderstandings and mistakes (including serious ones that result in delays, added expenses, etc.).
Easier Clash Detection
Similarly, the production process becomes more streamlined with BIM because it helps stakeholders detect potential clashes sooner. When all contributors to a project are working with the most accurate, updated model, it’s easier for them to see if certain challenges are going to occur — and pivot as needed to prevent them.
The ability to detect potential clashes also increases safety on the job site — and during the glass manufacturing process, specifically. Increased visibility, enhanced communication, and superior planning can all create a safer production process for all involved.
The more accurate things are during the early stages, the less likely people are to get hurt when it comes to actually building, installing, etc.
Seamless Installations: BIM’s Impact on Efficiency
Building information modelling technology is well-known for its ability to increase efficiency and help manufacturers, designers, builders, etc., meet deadlines. Its efficiency benefits also extend to the installation process.
Because BIM has the potential to help manufacturers and other team members detect errors sooner, it allows for increased accuracy. This accuracy, in turn, can streamline the installation process and ensure things are done correctly on the first attempt.
In other words, with help from BIM, glass manufacturers can trust that they are working with the correct measurements and other essential details, resulting in seamless installations on projects of all types and sizes.
Future-Proofing Glass Manufacturing with BIM Technology
Based on the latest data (including the data shared at the beginning of this article), it’s clear that the glass manufacturing industry is beginning to lag.
By incorporating advanced tools and technologies, including building information modelling, manufacturers can combat the effects of this slow-down and take steps to future-proof their organizations (and the industry as a whole).
Glass manufacturers can also gain a competitive advantage when they adopt BIM technology and incorporate it into their production processes. BIM technology can help them to work more efficiently and accurately while also preventing delays and added expenses.
All of these outcomes, in turn, result in more satisfied customers (and a greater chance of repeat customers, referrals, etc.).
Building information modelling has quickly become a staple among construction companies, architects, designers, and more — and it’s not showing any signs of going away anytime soon.
Glass manufacturing companies across Canada (and the rest of the globe) can also experience significant improvements in design, building, installation, and more by adopting tools like building information modelling technology.
The information shared above can serve as a valuable jumping-off point for organizations seeking ideas on how they can increase efficiency, boost performance, and see better results.
About the author
Tom Schwarzweller is an Account Executive for Microsol Resources for upper New York State and Michigan. Tom has a long background in selling and supporting CAD and BIM software to the architectural, engineering, and construction industry. He has worked with many of the early adopters of building information modeling (BIM) and has learned the benefits that BIM can create and an understanding of what makes a BIM implementation successful.
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