From the drawing board to 3D – the path to efficient plant design


Share this story


Courtesy of © LAMMERS

Extraction, filtration, ventilation

LAMMERS designs and builds ventilation systems. The medium-sized engineering firm with an adjacent workshop in Münster introduced the 3D CAD system back in 2015 and has been benefiting from the digital working method ever since. The development of the industry shows why this is necessary: Projects are becoming more complex and, on top of that, have to be completed in ever shorter cycles. Digitalisation is one of the answers to change, and it offers great opportunities.

Complex piping systems for factory buildings

The main job of LAMMERS engineers is, in short, to provide clean air. Managing Director Christoph Lammers says, "The main business is the supply of equipment for extracting and filtering dust, such as that produced when bulk materials are handled. Another example is large machines that generate heat. For example, we use our systems to remove heat, as well as odours and steam. And we bring in fresh air. "In addition, LAMMERS deals with pneumatic conveying, for example when the small pieces of shredded plastic bottles are transported by air".

Thanks to its size, LAMMERS can effectively respond to customer requests, often with very individual solutions. The company often has to plan into existing infrastructures, precisely tailored to customer requirements. The company considers rapid problem solving – from planning to construction – to be its greatest strength.

AutoCAD in the past, Inventor today: The 3D planning creates helpful transparency. © Paul Ottmann

Text-only; 1 column

Each Advantic project is unique, involving extensive client collaboration—from working out preliminary budget, engineering, and materials methodologies to advising on construction and installation. Advantic’s fabrication is done in house, manufacturing bolt-up components that don’t require welding. “What we typically end up with, what we deliver to the customer, is a kit—an erector set,” Doudican says. “It’s a set of components down to nuts and bolts that arrives on a skid, and it goes out on a truck to the jobsite.”

Increasing number of planning tasks

The planning of plants has increased in recent years, says Christoph Lammers, although the role of the company varies from project to project. Of course, the work is most enjoyable when the company is involved early in the planning process. However, it is often called in as a problem solver: "There' s so much dust here. Please find us a solution," could be an example, as Christoph Lammers describes it. Other customers have clear ideas and bring huge catalogues of requirements. But one thing stands out: In recent years, the volume of client requests for planning tasks has increased significantly. And LAMMERS meets this task above all with vivid 3D scans and models.

3D designs can be incorporated into 3D scans in just a few steps. © LAMMERS

The new way of working

LAMMERS adopted CAD early on. In 1994 Autosketch and AutoCAD were chosen, planning was done in 2D, and the drawing board quickly disappeared. In 2015, the company switched to Inventor – and with it to 3D. At the same time, the company began working with 3D laser scans to counteract the increasing complexity. Christoph Lammers describes this transition with a smile: "It makes a difference whether you show up at the customer's with a tape measure and folding rule or with modern laser scanners".

The employees were trained and adapted to the new way of working. Many customers gratefully accepted the change. Since then, collaboration on the 3D model, which is always up to date, has been particularly popular: "By planning in 3D right from the start, we can share planning stages much earlier." Christoph Lammers describes further advantages: "We can generate extensive bills of materials directly in Inventor and move on to the ordering process in just a few steps." This saves time and reduces the error rate.

In addition, communication via 3D models makes things easier. Clients have full control over the project and all the disciplines involved work together. The possibility to talk about the visualised planning stage early in the process reduces the revision work and the error rate decreases. Change requests are also possible during the ongoing process.

"Our work and our image benefit from our high level of digitalisation. This shows our customers that we are a modern company and think ahead."

– Christoph Lammers, Managing Director LAMMERS

More room for innovation

The 3D models open up new possibilities for trying out innovation: "We used to have to build elaborate prototypes in the workshop, whereas today we create simulations and run tests in the digital environment." Christoph Lammers describes the change primarily as an ongoing process. The environment is constantly changing and especially depends on those who walk off the beaten path.

BIM facilitates the planning of highly individualised solutions. © LAMMERS

“With our new digital way of working, the construction effort has been reduced by 20-30%."

– Christoph Lammers, Managing Director LAMMERS

Trust in Autodesk

The choice was made in favour of Autodesk products for several reasons: Firstly, LAMMERS already had good experiences with AutoCAD early on, and secondly, Autodesk is the industry standard: "Our customers also use Autodesk products", says Christoph Lammers. In addition, the planners benefit: "We appreciate the range of functions in Inventor, we have huge possibilities there."

The introduction of Inventor was very quick, although that was not the plan at the beginning. Initially, two employees were to start. LAMMERS booked a package including training from the software dealer Barteldrees, its long-standing partner. The colleagues in charge of planning quickly became curious and saw the advantages of the new software. LAMMERS bought more licences and many employees then "learned by doing", partly because working in a team is naturally easier when everyone is working with the same system and the same data that is always up to date and uses the same digital library.

Christoph Lammers has driven the BIM implementation. © Paul Ottmann

Within a few months, they all switched their working methods to 3D and have since been planning even complex plants comparatively easily. Lammers says, "Inventor makes it much easier to display and edit difficult geometries than in the 2D programme. 3D is great for visualising things. We are able to see collisions and interfaces much easier and earlier". In the end, everyone benefits, both colleagues and clients. Lammers says, "And the younger people have come to expect this way of working in any case. They are familiar with the software from school and university".

The company

LAMMERS Lufttechnische Anlagen is a medium-sized company based in Münster, Westphalia. It comprises the plant, engineering and planning office with affiliated manufacturing for filter systems and air handling and specialist fan parts. As a supplier, LAMMERS manufactures plant components and complete parts. In addition, the company handles plant commissioning. LAMMERS was founded in 1970 by chief engineer Heinrich Lammers and has been run by the same family for three generations, currently by managing directors Thomas and Christoph Lammers. Nowadays, LAMMERS employs 15 full-time staff members.