Structural Steel Model Import

Laser Scan importing into RISA and RFEM


When structural engineers design changes to existing steel structures, they must start by modeling the current condition of the structure with software like RISA or RFEM. This modeling can be done several ways – old blueprints, hand measurements, or laser scanning.

Old blueprints often do not reflect as-built conditions or take into consideration any degradation of the structure. Hand measurements are prone to errors and/or omissions which can lead to additional field trips, design errors and time/money wasted.

3D Laser Scanning measures large and complex steel structures quickly, precisely, and completely. DWP Live uses survey grade Leica Scanners and Leica Cyclone software to convert point cloud data into steel models using “fit-to-cloud” techniques. Fancy terminology which means the actual size, shape and location of steel elements are represented in the model.

From the Cyclone software, the model can be exported to AutoCAD where each element contains a solid shape, centerline, and text description.

To import into RISA and RFEM, the model is reduced to centerlines and layers are created for each beam shape. This “stick frame” model is then saved to DXF format. Both RISA and RFEM import the DXF and assign the proper beam size using layers.



Figure 1: Scan model in RFEM



Figure 2: Scan model in RISA

Check out this case study on the Dlubal RFEM website.

3D Laser Scanning provides a much more accurate and complete model for structural engineers to import into RISA and RFEM. The sample project above took one hour in the field and 16 hours of post-processing time.

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