Proof of Concept: Plant 3D + Advance Steel + BIM 360 Design

29 January 2021BIM 360, Industrial and Plant, plant 3dBIM, plant, steel



Key Issue(s)

Users want to use load non-Plant 3d project drawings as xrefs into a 3d model, and have any changes for other products like Advance Steel or Revit update without having to manually reload the drawings in the project.


Plant 3D project hosted in BIM 360, Advance Steel model with edits done using desktop connector

Software Requirements

We used 360 Sync which has a BIM 360 -> Windows connection.

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Setting up synchronization process from BIM 360 to a user’s local machine allows Plant 3d project to reference a read-only copy of the file into their project as a local xref (with relative paths), instead of a project drawing. Since the sync process can be scheduled to run throughout the day, user’s don’t have to manually pull down changes.

Our proof of concept process included the following:

  1. Create Project Demo 1 in our BIM 360 hub.
  2. Use Advance Steel to create a model call Platform in .Project Demo 1Plant 3D ModelsAdvance SteelPlatform.dwg. The Advance Steel folder is not created using Plant 3d, so only Advance Steel can find it.
  3. Setup a sync process from BIM 360 to Windows using 360 Sync
  4. Sync the Advance Steel folder from BIM 360 to C:BIM 360 WorkspaceProject Demo 1Plant 3d ModelsAdvance Steel
  5. Created simple structure in the Platform.dwg file and saved changes.
  6. Opened Plant 3d and created a file called Structural at .Project Demo 1Plant 3D ModelsStructural.dwg
  7. Created a pipe rack using Plant 3d steel.
  8. Load the Platform.dwg xref into the Structural.dwg from C:BIM 360 WorkspaceProject Demo 1Plant 3d ModelsAdvance SteelPlatform.dwg.
  9. Make an edit of our Platform.dwg in Advance Steel.
  10. Trigger the sync process, and re-open the Structural.dwg model in Plant 3d.

A very successful proof of concept. I had an out of date version of 360 Sync and ran into issues. Once the folder sync was re-created using the latest version, the sync process worked perfectly. We feel like this is a temporary solution. Autodesk has a feature called Attach Related in Vault project with Plant 3d that solve this issue by allowing directly xrefs against the latest version of a document in Vault.

The demo project reference is available in our Plant 3D Boost hub for those of you who would like to re-create this proof of concept.



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