FaBIM: Plan, build and operate factories better

Industrial buildings turn out to be often more expensive than planned. CONTACT Software and partners now want to establish Building Information Management in the factory context. In a new research project, they are working on a holistic solution that should avoid errors and reduce costs during planning, construction, and later operating phases.

More than 5,800 factory buildings in Germany are built yearly, with a total volume of 4.72 billion euros. Unfortunately, around 60% of these projects miss their cost targets. One reason for this is incomplete, outdated, or untimely information. “This makes planning, approval procedures, and coordination with the various trades enormously difficult,” says Dr. Thomas Dickopf from CONTACT Research.

Dickopf heads a research project on Building Information Management (BIM) that started in September. CONTACT Software is the consortium leader. The FaBIM project brings together scientific and industrial experts from the fields of BIM and factory planning: Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology IGCV, the companies Building Information Management GLW, ifp consulting – Institute for Production and Logistics, Kohlbecker Architectural Solutions, and the manufacturer Eberle as an associated partner.

First, the consortium defines a holistic method for a factory’s planning, construction, and operation phase. In the second step, the partners will use the CONTACT Elements platform to develop a common data environment (CDE) for the IFC-based exchange and project and product information management.

“In project management, we are taking a 5D BIM approach to meet deadlines and costs,” explains Dickopf. “In addition, we want to design the CDE platform to provide end-to-end support for all processes in the lifecycle of a factory.” A holistic twin for the building and the production facilities is created from the data of the planning and execution phases. It will be used later for various IoT and VR/AR applications in factory operations.

In its research, the consortium relies on a continuous potential analysis by validating its project results on a real use case. For example, Eberle, a manufacturer of industrial band saws and other band steel products, wants to relocate its production from downtown to the surrounding area and is planning a new factory building there.

In addition, the results will be presented and discussed in various working groups, like the Association of German Engineers (VDI) and the German buildingSMART network, to support standardization in the context of openBIM-based factory planning. FaBIM has a duration of three years and is supported by the Federal State of Bavaria with grants from the BayVFP funding line Digitization.

About CONTACT Software

CONTACT is the leading vendor of open standard software and open source pioneer for the product engineering process and the digital transformation. Our products make it easier to organize projects, execute processes reliably and collaborate with others around the world on the basis of virtual product models and their digital twins. Our open technology and Elements platform are ideal for integrating additional IT systems and the Internet of Things to create end-to-end business processes.