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How a steel workshop went paperless with Bluebeam Revu

Australian 3D modelling and steel detailing firm Mechwest has used Bluebeam Revu to ditch paper processes, all while streamlining office collaboration and precision control.

Frank Kalman, writing for Bluebeam, interviewed operations manager Matt Mason at Perth-based Mechwest Design and Drafting about digitising and streamlining its fabrication workshop workflows — which can involve as many as 20,000 documents a day.

“We’ve struggled to find systems that could cater to that volume of drawings,” Mason said.

Mechwest wanted to try to digitise its well-established integrated project delivery and documentation systems for mechanical and structural 2D and 3D drafting and shop detailing for customers in commercial and industrial sectors as well as mining, oil and gas.

Mason said the company designs and engineers mechanical structures from beams to columns and sundry items. Every bolt, hole, bracket or other item needs to be modelled precisely so fabricators know exactly how to make and erect everything on site.

But with so many drawings and documents to manage, even the shelves were starting to give way.

“We’d do one model [with Bluebeam Revu] and go in and refine it,” Mason said. “It didn’t actually take our staff that long to move over to the new system. A lot of our checkers are generally very experienced people that might not necessarily be highly technology focused.”

In Mechwest’s industry, markups have to be accurate to the millimetre. Manual checkers often had to use a magnifying glass to check the small details in documents and avoid costly mistakes.

“Some of them weren’t too sure how it was going to go, and they were a bit dubious about it. But, once they got started using it, they had no problems.”

Mason said that Bluebeam Revu is just picking a tool, like picking up a pen or a highlighter, and writing or drawing something and then implementing it and moving on. Zooming in to see small details is simple too.

“We found it was very, very easy to adopt.”

Mason said Mechwest’s workflows mostly require using the markup tools and Tool Sets in Revu.

“We’ve got welds and particular nodes that you can just drag and drop it into the drawing,” Mason said. “We synchronise those to everyone.”

Mechwest has also been using the Bluebeam compare tool to ensure the accuracy between different versions of documents. The company continues to explore how it can use other tools in Revu, Mason said.

Read the full Mechwest-Bluebeam case study here.

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