Thursday, April 21, 2011

Scia Engineer and Rhino Data Exchange

Now it is possible to transfer 3D geometry directly from Rhino to Scia Engineer.

One interesting field that is recognized by a whole new generation of architects and designers is generative design. Generative Design is a design method that is based on a set of rules, or an Algorithm, and provides designers a fast and easy way to quickly explore many design possibilities.

Traditionally, generative design has required designers to learn a computer language to program the design rules. However Robert McNeal, the developers of Rhino, a popular Surface/Solids modeling tool for conceptual design, has introduce Grasshopper® a free add-on to Rhino that provides Rhino users a graphical interface for generative design. With Grasshopper® designers can easily explore the power of generative design without having to learn computer programing.

For structural engineers, Jon Mirtschin, Geometry Gym (a Rhino party developer) has taken the general modeling tools in Rhino, and generative design tools in Grasshopper, and focused them on structural modeling with a new Rhino plug-in called StructDrawRhino (SDR).

StructDrawRhino plug-ins to Rhino and Grasshoper and allows the engineers to convert the generic 3D geometry from Rhino, and generative geometry from Grasshopper, into Structural Models. With StructDrawRhino engineers can generate their structures directly as analysis model - it supports center lines, cross sections, materials or additional model data such as hinges or supports.

Nemetschek Scia work with Jon to link StructDrawRhino with Scia Engineer. The link is called Smart Structural Interpreter (SSI). It provides an easy way to map profiles created with StructDrawRhino to Scia Engineer, giving Rhino access to Scia Engineer’s advanced analysis, design and optimization capabilities and gives Scia Engineer users access to the generative design capabilities of Grasshopper.

Linking generative design to Scia Engineer, has huge potential. Imagine being able to quickly design ambitious structures like you see from architectural designers as Frank Gehry or Zaha Hadid. Then effectively optimize these structures to come up with most effective shapes.


Video demonstrating data exchange

You can see how simple it is to use Rhino’s Grasshopper to generate a form. And, how easily the form can be imported into Scia Engineer for analysis.

In Scia we can perform detailed calculation of internal forces, deformations and stresses. In addition you can code check the structure and even optimize the cross-section using Scia Engineer’s Autodesign capabilities, allowing engineers to find most effective cross section resisting given loads.

For this exchange, Nemetschek Scia developed a new technology called SOI or Scia Open Interface. The Scia SOI, is neutral and independent library that allows developers such as Jon Mirtschin develop their own plugins independently of Scia Engineer. SOI library generates Scia Engineer XML files that can be loaded and updated within Scia Engineer.

Scia’s SOI is available for FREE to all software developers and allows them to develop plug-ins that can write geometry directly to Scia Engineer, without need of installing and licensing Scia Engineer.

For more information about SOI and Scia Engineer please contact us at :

In case of interest in StructDraw plugins please visit GeomtrGym or contact Jon Mirtschin directly.

1 comment:

Universal Engineering said...

I appreciate the way with which you have written this blog post. i am a Structural engineer and i would like to know more on Generative Design