Prefabricated Bathroom Pods
We have been fortunate enough to meet with Computational Architecture Designer; Claudia Siric (left) and Aerospace Engineer; Julian Gonzalez Escalante (right), and ask them a few questions about one of their most recent projects: designing a bathroom pod template using 3DEXPERIENCE CATIA.
Tell us about the project
We had the task to design a master bathroom pod template, from which multiple designs for different bathroom pod types could be quickly replicated saving a lot of time compared to traditional methods. We created the template for an entire bathroom design, where we were required to design both the external and internal features.
The external features included elements such as the members, beams, walls, ceiling, the floor and the overall configuration. These features are created based on a parametric skeleton, which means you can change the location of things such as the walls very easily without affecting the overall integrity of the design. This also means that you can change the members cross sections very easily.
The internal features included features such as the toilet, handrails, shower head and tiles. These were also parameterised, which means you can also easily change the size of the internal features according to the new design requirements.
Being able to change the features of the bathroom pod so easily allows us to change the template to suit different designs and room sizes. We are therefore able to provide a master 3D model that accurately represents what the client asks for, as well as providing Shop drawings for every feature of the bathroom including walls, ceiling, architectural drawings and floor design.
What is different about using this approach and what are the benefits compared to using the traditional approach in construction?
One of the major benefits of using this approach is that you can create Shop drawings and Architectural drawings much faster. This is because we have a template that can quickly generate them, rather than starting from scratch for new designs.
Also, for any design changes, you can quickly modify the 3D model and the drawings are automatically updated, eliminating the need to manually create new drawings.
It typically takes a little more time for first model using this approach taking time to include engineering rules and design automation within the design templates. The first time creating the template for the 3D model and production drawings took about 3 weeks. However, once we used the bathroom template in production, we were able to create subsequent configurations within a couple of days.
What role did the 3DEXPERIENCE web-based apps play in this project?
We used the web apps for a number of things, in particular to store information such as the drawings that we received from the client. By doing this, it meant that everyone could see the most updated version of the latest release. The 3DEXPERIENCE web access has a lot of functionality integrated with the 3D model, such as Configuration Management and Revision Control, which provides Role based security and allows members to see the latest version of the work.
Another function is 3D Play, a Viewer that allows you to view 2D and 3D objects and conduct a design review of the 3D model from a web browser, including a tool bar that allows you to interrogate the model and create markups. It is possible to conduct design reviews online and in real-time using 3D Play and in-built PLM functionality. It is possible to review the model and associated assemblies and parts without needing to be in the authoring tool.
Could you please tell us about how you used virtual reality with the model?
Virtual Reality (VR) provides the opportunity to conduct a design review of the whole bathroom pod prior to production whether that be with the design and engineering teams or client.
It wasn’t part of the brief however we were aware that the CATIA 3D modelling tool connected natively to the HTC Vive. One of the team completed a walk around to view all the plumbing and electrical connections outside of the followed by a walk inside the bathroom pod and to view the finished product including the tiles, basin, shower etc. This provides a good opportunity for clients to then walk through their own bathroom pod and see if they want to make any changes prior to manufacturing. As the model is to scale it represents a real-life experience.
The technology that was used for the virtual reality was embedded inside of CATIA called HDMR, which is an App that automatically allows you to connect the HTC Vive headset and then straight into the model.
What other functions or features could you provide a potential client that might want to design a large amount of bathroom pods across multiple projects?
The 3DEXPERIENCE platform has integrated project management and workflow that you can configure to manage all team members that are working on projects. You can assign tasks to certain people and find the details they must go through to complete them. The task will then be sent through to the modeler, the engineer or the designer, and the person will then get a notification of what the task is about and how long they have. Once the task is completed, the project manager will be able to review and approve and leave a comment. There will be an iterative process until the task is completed.
There is also a software module called CATIA Composer, which has many benefits including being able to import your 3D model and produce visual technical publications and work instructions. If, for example, a customer has training material that they want their employees to learn then work instructions can easily be developed in CATIA Composer. You can create exploded views of the bathroom and create animations where you see how every element is assembled.
CATIA Composer can be extremely useful in the manufacturing process. The system enables you to quickly provide a step by step guide and instructions can be delivered on paper or on different types of digital devices. All instructions are linked to the model so if the design changes the instructions can be quickly updated without having to manually prepare new media.