Plant 3D Hackathon Attracts Global Audience

3 June 2020All, Industrial and Plant, plant 3dBIM 360, plant, revit



The concept of a hackathon comes from the software development world. Coders get together, choose a problem, then put a high intensity level of effort toward solving that problem using whatever tools they have. The unstructured exercise starts with picking a part then proceeding.

The Event

The Plant 3D Hackathon was organized in order to document workflows and use cases for Plant 3D running on top of BIM 360 Design. Held on “Star Wars Day – May the fourth,” it developed into a global exercise, with participants from Brazil, Canada, India, Netherlands, and the US all working and collaborating on seventeen integrated models. Each attendee spent a minimum of four hours on the project. The models were integrated in two review environments, with paths for review including the Revit model and a Navisworks workflow.

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A representative selection of design products was used to ensure that all workflows would be utilized; they included fourteen separate applications, and included: Autodesk Revit, AutoCAD, Plant 3D, Advance Steel, Civil 3D, Navisworks, Inventor, BIM 360, and MS Teams. Participants accessed the hackathon BIM 360 Project and contributed their own design models to the design environment. Working in the preconfigured environment, users were able to experience a real-world project without the cost and extra effort of setting up their own.

The final group hackathon project model was comprised of 30,000 feet of piping connecting pumps, pipe racks and tanks.

In circling up the day after the hackathon, organizer and renowned Plant 3D expert David Wolfe reported that no synching issues were encountered within Plant 3D. The only real challenge ended up being the import of large Inventor files into the project.

Awards went to:

  • Jason Merz, Basin Design Services – Content King
  • Carlos Caminos, Equitrans Midstream Corporation – Runner-up     

Lessons learned from the event were:

  1. The collaboration ran smoothly.
  2. BIM 360 was smooth and quick.
  3. Communication was good.
  4. BIM 360 really caters to people working in Revit, with good interoperability.
  5. Data could be cohesively pushed from one app to another.
  6. Users want things that are easy to use – that’s the end game.


Since the purpose of the hackathon was to determine what issues arise while using Plant 3D with BIM 360, the group was able to report:

  • Issues with some tag auditing and duplicate tags.
  • Several users were unable to access the project without coaching.
  • Viewcube seems to point to wrong North.
  • Model coordination doesn’t save views.
  • Changing issue type is not possible.
  • Test status change.
  • X-referencing non-Plant 3D project drawings doesn’t work.

Since they have been brought to light, these issues can now be addressed by Autodesk product development.

One of the suggested next steps for BIM 360 was direct issue integration. Participants agreed that would be an exciting next step with the coordination.

This global exercise was a perfect example of how far-flung teams can use BIM 360 tools to collaborate in a complicated Plant 3D model while using multiple review environments. The resulting workflow is a good example of what’s now possible in process piping and other sectors of the industry. If you’re interested in a workflow using Plant 3D and BIM 360, contact Applied Software today and talk to an industry expert about your next collaborative project.



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