I did this specific data exchange research for client interested in timber structures quite some time ago.
Initial model geometry was created using SEMA 11 software, which is modeling software especially focused on timber structures and its documentation. There are number of file formats that can be used for data exchange, but none of them are object based. It is all about exporting geometry, without cross-sections or material and code definitions.
Even though, there will be obvious issues when doing this kind of model exchange – in SEMA 11, engineer is working with physical 3D model, while in Scia Engineer analysis model idealization is needed in order to be able to use 3D FEM analysis. To create analysis model, it is essential to use two important features in Scia Engineer – Member recognizer and Align tools. Latest member recognizer algorithm is able to recognize cross-section type from general 3D geometry and with Align, beam center lines are aligned and connected properly. This is step-by-step process, so it is not done in completely automatic way. Engineering decisions need to be taken during this process, and advanced knowledge in Scia Engineer modeling is needed as well.
For timber structure like this, it is still not complete process of creating final analysis model, which will include also boundary conditions – such as hinges, supports and different kinds of loads.
Click an image below to see it in full screen. Thanks to Jiří Bartoš for SEMA screenshots.
SEMA 11 Project
Initial model import – only 3D Solids are present
Member recognizer for cross-sections definitions
Align beam center lines – define custom UCS planes