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These Manufacturers Use BIM to Their Advantage

In each part of the construction industry, both small and large firms are finding ways to implement BIM to enhance their success. The building product manufacturing industry is no different. Leading manufacturers such as ABB, Mitsubishi Electric and SANHA have already taken the next step when it comes to BIM. Here is what they are saying about it:


Adapting to the modern workflow


BIM allows the modern manufacturer to remain competitive and relevant in the changing digital landscape. As a product specialist for ABB, Johan Kuipers sees an increasing demand for BIM data from modellers: “Not so long ago, offering a simple 3D object was enough. Customers linked extra data to it themselves. Today, modellers expect intelligent content that can be used instantly, with links to external systems such as ABB-Connect, ABB's online product catalogue, including ETIM classification data.”


“Whether it's about connecting systems, products or people, data is everywhere. The challenge is to use this data in a way that optimally meets the needs of the customer.”

-Johan Kuipers, product specialist for ABB.

This is one of the reasons ABB launched their first BIM app last year, a free plugin that allows users to configure switch ranges in their BIM software. Kuipers: "Innovations such as this BIM tool, are ultimately driven by the customer's need to realise better buildings. From this point of view, we will continue to seek cooperation with the MEP contractor.”



Today manufacturers need to consider where they fit into the modern workflow. Whereas the focus for manufacturers has always been on supplying physical products, they now need to supply digital products as well. Vincent Heijnen, general director for Hisense, explains:


“The engineering phase has become the most important phase in the construction process, as it determines whether or not we will be successful as an industry. That's why easily available and 100% correct BIM files are of great importance.”

-Vincent Heijnen, general director for Hisense Climate Solutions Benelux

That’s why Hisense has developed BIM files in cooperation with MEPcontent for their products. With this BIM content, contractors can easily assemble climate systems and integrate them directly into a BIM project. Currently, selection criteria of the manufacturer's products have not yet been processed in their BIM files. General director Vincent Heijnen sees this as the next step: "Why not use a BIM file with a piece of extra intelligence that tells you when elements do not fit or dimensions are incorrect? With good BIM files, MEP engineers create BIM models much faster. This saves contractors hours of time and failure costs, and therefore leads to less risks and more profit on projects.”



Also pipe manufacturer SANHA has recognized the new way of working in the MEP industry:

“Until recently we mainly focused on making the installation process easier, but now the design speed has become crucial.”

-Mathias van den Broeck, product manager at SANHA

Therefore, the pipe manufacturer has teamed up with MEP specialists to develop BIM content for their products. Product manager Mathias van den Broeck explains: “Our customers want high-quality piping systems that can be drawn and installed quickly. With our free BIM app, SANHA-specific product data can be used to design and create a material list, that can be transferred directly to the wholesaler.” This data can be used throughout the workflow, says Mathias: “BIM also offers a solution for the design of prefabricated systems.”



A new way of selecting brands


BIM is changing the manufacturer’s role in the BIM process. Erwin van Schooten, managing director at Spelsberg, explains: "In the past, when the world was not yet digitized, the MEP engineer had limited choice in different brands. Today things are different. The digital highway offers many opportunities to engineers for making a choice. The more details of a product are available, the better the selection will be. BIM plays an important role in this and this role will only increase in the future.”

“The more details of a product are available online, the better contractors can select their product. BIM plays an important role in this.”

- Erwin van Schooten, managing director at Spelsberg


Mitsubishi Electric

Mitsubishi Electric has a clear mission: to bring innovative technology to society to create a brighter future.This means that BIM plays an important role for the manufacturer of HVAC systems. Technical marketing manager Paul Sexton, explains why: “Our customers need to deliver extensive designs for their projects. Our goal is to make sure that all of our products are BIM ready, so that our customers can easily work with our products in a BIM project.” By making sure design teams have ready access to its product data, Mitsubishi Electric is a step closer to completing their mission.

“We took on the BIM challenge to make it as easy as possible for engineers to select Mitsubishi Electric over and above any other brand.”

-Paul Sexton, technical marketing manager for Mitsubishi Electric Europe


Increasing profits with BIM


“Our BIM content is downloaded all over the world, even in Cambodia.”

-Walter Bertona, manager digital marketing & communication at Caleffi.

A few years ago, Italian manufacturer Caleffi started creating BIM content for their hydronic solutions. The success of the BIM content is shown in the statistics, says Walter Bertona: “Looking at the download statistics we see an increasing number of downloads every month. The content is being downloaded all over the world, even in Cambodia. We use the statistics as input for our marketing and sales activities. With statistics we can measure the success of a product introduction, but also see if some products need extra marketing efforts.” This way, BIM content directly contributes to the international sales and marketing strategy of Caleffi.



Ubbink is a specialist in gas flue and ventilation systems and solutions for airtight and watertight construction and started preparing their products for BIM a few years ago. Mark Bloem, project manager sales, tells: “We did this in order to meet the demand from the market. We started with single products, but now we also publish a variety of complete systems in the BIM library. Such as our Air Excellent distribution system, in which all components are already included.” Thanks to BIM, the manufacturer sees its revenue increasing:

“Since our products are more often included in the model in the design phase, they are also purchased more often. It’s a win-win situation.”

-Mark Bloem, project manager sales at Ubbink.



Data is the future


Lars Wiersma, technical director and export manager at Barcol-Air, expects the importance of BIM content to grow. He sees bringing together different data sources in content as the future: "Enriching content by adding relevant data will ensure that all stakeholders in a construction project can easily retrieve data for specific products. You can click on a product in the model, which directly displays data about maintenance, spare parts and prices. This results in speed and efficiency benefits throughout the chain, from design to delivery and maintenance.”

"Intelligent data results in speed and efficiency throughout the chain, from design to delivery and maintenance.”

-Lars Wiersma, technical director and export manager at Barcol-Air



So data is key when it comes to BIM. To ensure high quality information, Italian manufacturer IVAR  makes their content compliant with the EMCS. Francesca Gualeni, BIM specialist at IVAR, explains why: “With EMCS compliant models we can guarantee our customers a complete graphic representation of the Revit family: we can make sure that the families are consistent, behave correctly in a Revit project – also in relation to components of other manufacturers - and contain the relevant information.” This way, all professionals involved in the project benefit from the information in the models and the quality of the content.

“With EMCS compliant models, MEP engineers easily get the links to the necessary technical documentation and take advantage of the reduced file dimensions, avoiding unnecessary delays in the project.”

-Francesca Gualeni, BIM specialist at IVAR

So while design- and modelling processes are changing with BIM, innovative manufacturers are using the new way of working to their advantage. Manufacturers like Caleffi, Hisense and Barcol-Air are finding their place in the modern workflow and with it, they are shaping the new reality of building product manufacturing.

Interested in learning how manufacturers can take the next step with BIM? Make sure to read How should manufacturers work with BIM content.

About the Author

Anne-Mieke Dekker is a content marketer at Stabiplan B.V., a Trimble company offering BIM solutions for the MEP industry. Her aim is to provide MEP engineers with the right information to optimize their BIM workflow and ultimately realize better building installations.

Profile Photo of Anne-Mieke Dekker