BIM-based Digital Platform for Planning and Optimization of Flexible Buildings for Industry 4.0

In the research project BIMFlexi, we are investigating integral flexible industrial construction planning for adaptable production halls. A BIM-based digital platform is intended to enable the planning, analysis, and optimization of flexible building structures for factories and to provide visualization and decision support in the early planning phases.

Project Description

Industry 4.0, Cyber Physical Production in batch size one, is characterized by increasingly shorter product life cycles and rising customization. Buildings for Industry 4.0 must be able to withstand constantly new requirements. The realization of as flexible as possible building systems and the adaptability of their use are necessary. Due to a lack of building flexibility, companies cannot quickly and efficiently adapt their production facilities to changing production processes. The consequence is often frequent renovations up to demolition and new construction. This leads to increasing lifecycle costs or new investments and increased resource consumption. Crucial for building flexibility are the structural framework and the technical building equipment systems (TGA). The convertibility is most influenced by the structural framework, as the stiffest element with the highest lifespan. Re-configurable, flexible building structures allow free space usage and production layout planning through freedom in floor plan and height. However, building and production planning are currently not connected, so the planning is carried out in two parallel worlds. Normally, the necessary interoperability of existing modeling, analysis, and visualization tools and coordinated processes is missing. Especially in the early planning phase, which has the greatest impact on operation, flexibility, and thus the lifespan of buildings, no holistic methods are available. The BIMFlexi research project addresses the development of an innovative, integral, and digitally supported planning method, which enables the realization of flexible buildings for Industry 4.0, with additional cost and time reduction. Through a BIM-based digital platform - BIM_Flexi - all stakeholders of the industrial construction planning process are networked, discipline-specific tools and tools are linked, and continuous data availability throughout the entire lifecycle is ensured. BIM_Flexi enables the planning, analysis, and optimization of flexible building structures and serves as visualization and decision support. Therefore, new methods for BIM-based flexible structural analyses, optimization methods for automating planning tasks, and new interaction techniques for multi-user VR are developed in the project, allowing users to rapidly and intuitively walk through 3D planning structures using "Virtual Reality". Users should be able to interactively review, manipulate, and announce their user preference for optimization in the 3D environment.