Detailing is an essential part of the construction process – but it can also be a time-consuming stage. Implementing a Cold Formed Steel (CFS) methodology & advanced detailing software that integrates with your production machines can greatly improve this process. So how is FRAMECAD Detailer assisting fast manufacturing of Cold Formed Steel – and who’s behind its innovations?
Meet the team: Introducing Nathan Penny
Nathan Penny is a Software Developer working on FRAMECAD Detailer. Although he’s been with FRAMECAD for 15 years, his experience in steel goes much further back – his family had a steel framing business for many years prior to Nathan joining the FRAMECAD team.
“I’ve been in steel framing for 20+ years – there’s not many people anywhere in the world with 23 years’ experience in steel framing, but I’m not even the only one at FRAMECAD,” shares Nathan. “We’ve got a couple of guys in the workshop who have 40 something years of experience running businesses doing what our customers are doing or building roll forming machines in some of the world’s biggest companies.”
“We’ve got people who’ve been in timber framing and very talented software developers with huge amounts of experience – the breadth of expertise floating around this place is basically unparalleled.”
“I’ve travelled around the world training people how to use the software, the machinery, and how to build houses – and along the way I went back to university and did my computer science degree,” shares Nathan.
Versatile design for a design-led process
When it comes to cold formed steel (CFS) construction, taking a design-led approach is key to a successful project. With traditional construction methods, much of the decision-making happens on site, relying on the skill of the builder on the job. Using a design-led construction process, the skill moves upstream; decision-making responsibilities are transferred to the designers, and are no longer the domain of on-site labourers.
A key part of a successful design-led approach is the detailing software, and FRAMECAD Detailer has been designed to speed up the detailing process. Specialised for CFS, and automated for significant time and resource savings, Detailer is part of the only completely integrated end-to-end system of automated construction technology for cold formed steel. Unlike other, independent detailing software offerings, Detailer enables you to automatically transfer design information from architectural detail into into FRAMECAD Factory and then onto production, working seamlessly with FRAMECAD manufacturing equipment. This seamless integration ensures significant time savings in both the design and manufacturing process.
One of the benefits of CFS construction, and FRAMECAD Detailer in particular, is its versatility. If you can imagine it, you can detail it. Beyond simply enabling you to detail a design, the software will ensure the design is both easy to manufacture and easy to construct.
Creating solutions – not products
Nathan and the rest of the software developers working on Detailer are constantly looking at ways to automate the design process further, incorporating feedback from customers and consistently looking at ways to improve the user experience and save customers time and money.
To achieve that, the team are given the freedom to innovate without restrictions that could stifle their creativity.
“The best part of working at FRAMECAD is the amount of room to move we get. We tend to be given a problem to solve and then we find the solution,” shares Nathan. “That comes right up the top from Mark [Taylor, CEO & Founder of FRAMECAD]. He’s absolutely passionate about providing an end-to-end solution. He wants to see the industry grow so he gives a certain amount of leeway to people here on how we enhance our products.”
Nathan and the team will also work directly with customers to customise certain elements of the programme when required – and to do so, that freedom to innovate is vital.
“We’re employed for our skills and then they let us use those skills to achieve what we need. Instead of saying ‘here’s a function – I want you to take this input and get this outcome’ we get ‘we want to achieve this’ and then we figure it out.”
Working together for an end-to-end solution
As part of a relatively small team, Nathan focuses on Detailer but works alongside the FRAMECAD Structure and Factory developers as well to ensure a cohesive system.
When something isn’t working, or someone comes up with a fantastic idea for improving part of the system, developers and engineers from different departments will come together to work on it.
“A couple of years ago we had to design a particular mechanical aspect – 3 or 4 of us designed it together and we were absolutely integral to developing that,” describes Nathan. “Having an in-house software development team that works with the manufacturing department and is often on-site when new machines are commissioned means our software team understand exactly what the software’s role is in the process.”
That collaboration means better integration between products – and better support for customers.
“There’s no us and them. If you buy a machine and software from different places and something goes wrong, they can blame each other. With us, a customer can get clean support – you give us the problem and we’ll provide a solution.”