Autostructure Internal Structural Design
The Autostructure group is a comprehensive yet easy to use set of programs for internal structure design. Autostructure is an integral component of our complete CAD/CAM suite, and includes an interface with material management software.
Autostructure is used to design the internal structure of the vessel. It consists of four modules: System Manager™, Project Manager™, Autostructure and Report Manager™. The Autostructure project is based upon a hull created in Autoship and can optionally include shell-plating information created in Autoplate. Output consists of drawings, for either construction or cutting, and various reports. Autostructure is built on top of Microsoft® SQL Server™ database; it uses AutoCAD for editing and drawing output.
Autostructure is intended to follow and augment the design and workflow processes as carried out in the design office and shipyard. Core to the system is a centralized, user-expandable, Material Library which ensures consistency of material, plate size, profile shape and bracket design throughout all projects. Autostructure also offers a user-definable hierarchy system to provide a comprehensive part categorization scheme.
Autostructure works with flat plate parts, extrusions (hull stiffeners and flat plate stiffeners), flat bars, brackets and shell plates. Flat plate parts can be trimmed to the hull envelope or other parts. Details developed on one plate may be copied to other plates. Stiffeners are assigned end treatments such as fitted, straight, sniped or lapped plus backset distance and may be mounted at any angle. Brackets may be selected from a user-expansible library, or created ‘on the fly’. If a part is moved or a part’s properties are modified, Autostructure can regenerate any affected parts.
System Manager handles master database backup/restore, system level permissions and material database functions.
Project Manager is used to create new projects and carry out simple database operations, such as backup, delete, etc. It can also create an archive of a project – a compressed form of the project – for easy transfer to a different Autostructure system.
Report Manager uses Crystal Reports to create user-customized reports of an Autostructure project, including weights and areas, commercial weights, extrusion fabrication data and weld length.
Another component of the Autostructure system is Production Manager™. This deals with nesting, stock management and other production issues. It is documented separately.
Autostructure relies on the Microsoft SQL Server database system to provide ultra-reliable and fast storage and retrieval of vessel data. In a network setting, SQL Server may be installed on one or several computers and accessed by any workstation on the network to allow multiple users to work simultaneously on a project. The system immediately propagates changes made by one user to all users working on the same project.
Autoship Surfaces as Parts
Any surface designed in the Autoship project can be brought into Autostructure as a part. The part can be trimmed and used to trim other parts. If the original surface was extruded or developable the part can be exported and nested in the same way as flat sheet parts.
Autoship Groups as Parts
Any group in the Autoship .PR3 file which contains the hull data may be incorporated into an Autostructure project as a part. It will render and contribute to mass and CG calculations. Other parts may be trimmed to it. Autostructure has a direct link with AutoCAD for editing of 2D flat parts and exporting of parts, assemblies and cross-sections in 2D and 3D.
Autostructure can operate as a single-seat installation or in a multi-user environment. The server components may be installed on Windows Server or either of the other supported operating systems. The database system used is Microsoft SQL Server™ 2014. Autostructure comes with the Express Edition of Microsoft SQL Server™ 2014, or you can use an existing edition if you have one already installed. Each design workstation must have AutoCAD 2008 up to 2020 installed. Operating System requirements are: 32 or 64 bit versions of Windows 7 Professional, Windows 8.1 Professional or Windows 10 Professional with the latest service pack.
- Windows® 10 Compatible
- Sensible module setup, defining project management, engineering, reporting and production as being separate functions
- Client-server database for part data storage supports simultaneous multiple workstation access to one or several projects
- User-defined hierarchical assembly organization of parts
- OpenGL viewer
- Rapidly cut parts to the shell and/or each other
- Floodable lengths for bulkhead placement calculation
- Tool to define and mutually trim parts in the three principal planes
- User definable libraries of materials and extrusions
- One step panel stiffener specification
- Tool for parametric deck beam and frame design, from sheet or extrusions
- Pillar creation tool
- Part generation by mirroring
- Copy openings and stiffeners from one panel to another in one operation
- User definable library of bracket shapes
- Semi-automatic bracket placement
- Import any surface designed in Autoship to be a part in Autostructure
- Sophisticated 2D part editing using AutoCAD®
- Semi-automatic interference detection and subtraction
- Automatic regeneration of affected parts after scantling and location changes or changes to the hull shape
- Comprehensive CAD output
- Extensive reporting capabilities using Crystal Reports®