Automating Architectural Wind-Pressure Studies with SOLIDWORKS Software


Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc.

The Company

Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc. (RWDI) has established a worldwide reputation as a leading provider of wind-related engineering services to the architectural and construction industries. One of the most important services that the fi rm provides is conducting wind-pressure studies to simulate, analyze, and evaluate the environmental effects of wind on superstructures, including the world's tallest buildings.

The Challenge

To complete their work, RWDI uses a variety of tools, such as wind-tunnel testing and computational fl uid dynamics (CFD) analysis. The company uses SOLIDWORKS CAD software in concert with stereolithography (SLA) rapid prototyping technology to design and build physical scale models for wind-tunnel pressure tests. These models range in scale from 1:300 to 1:500, and their construction is mostly automated. However, the firm also wanted to automate the manual process of locating and installing taps, or pressure sensors, which in the past required drilling holes on every surface of the model and gluing in the sensors by hand.

The Solution

Because SOLIDWORKS CAD soft ware has a flexible architecture and open Application Programming Interface (API), RWDI engaged the services of Sungrace Software to develop a customised application—known as eTAPS—for automating the modeling and placement of wind-pressure taps in SOLIDWORKS software. A research and development partner to leading software and manufacturing companies, Sungrace also is a member of the SOLIDWORKS Manufacturing Network.

 The Result

  • Increased modeling efficiency by 15 percent
  • Shortened client delivery times
  • Decreased costs per project
  • Extended capacity to perform wind-tunnel tests

"SOLIDWORKS software provides a great deal of functionality in its API, which permits us to perform geometric analysis and construct complicated features."

Mark Yerry
Senior Developer, Sungrace Software