Vertex Systems — 30 Years of BIM Innovation

Thu Nov 15, 2018

We often focus the success of new partners, showcasing how Spatial helped with bringing a new product to market. But that focus overlooks the importance of the benefits and results of a decades-long partnership. It is time to celebrate nearly 30 years of market leadership of one of our oldest customers and the partnership that helped build it.

A pioneer in building information modeling (BIM), Vertex Systems delivered their first BIM solution in 1991. The Finnish company’s flagship project, Vertex BD, focuses on builders and prefabricators, whether using wood or cold-formed steel construction. With Vertex BD, the building model becomes the single source of information for all aspects of a building project, from architectural plans and framing plans to material estimates and manufacturing automation.

To review, BIM is a digital knowledge base describing the physical and functional aspects of a building. This knowledge base then serves to manage a building throughout its lifecycle, from initial design to demolition. By definition, BIM encompasses multiple disciplines and organizations, leading to a wide range of data formats, workflows and tool sets.


The Kernel is Key

At the center of the Vertex solution is a 3D modeling kernel. Initially, Vertex had developed a custom modeling kernel, but it quickly became clear that the value-add for Vertex was in using the modeling data and not in maintaining a modeling kernel. So during the 90s, Vertex swapped out their custom kernel in favor of Spatial’s 3D ACIS modeling kernel. For over 30 years, the 3D ACIS Modeler has led the 3D modeling kernel market, providing powerful capabilities that meet the needs of the BIM industry.

Moving to a proven solution has paid huge dividends to Vertex, reducing development costs and reducing time to market. Moreover, Vertex’s solutions have benefited from improvements identified by the Spatial user base representing thousands of use cases. The result is a more robust solution for Vertex’s end users.


Given that any structure is composed of thousands of parts, a BIM application needs access to stable and reliable Boolean operations. Beyond supporting a wide range of Boolean operators, Spatial also delivers a powerful incremental Boolean capability. This incremental routine has access to powerful model inspection and repair functions, and thus it can effectively test and fix errors caused by modeling issues, raising the success rate and efficiency of follow-up Boolean operations.

What is Coming in the Future

The engineering team at Vertex continues to innovate taking the next step beyond 3D modeling and BIM solutions to the area of improving the visualization of BIM data via virtual reality. The Vertex VR solution, currently in beta, allows for the complete visualization of BIM data, extending even to VR headsets. Beyond the more obvious advantages of allowing designers and clients to walk through a structure to better understand a layout, VR visualization can also allow construction teams visualize highly complex details on site.  Or onsite visualization can help in compliance situations to check the shadow cast by a structure or how it may obstruct views — taking the complexity out of compliance.

Because the Vertex VR visualization solution is tightly coupled to the BIM data model, users are interacting with the actual 3D data, containing all the details of the model, not an abstraction/simplification as with existing solutions.


Benefits of a Third-Party Solution

From a business perspective, collaborating with Spatial has provided Vertex with a complimentary set of capabilities and highlights the benefits of this long standing, productive working relationship.

From an engineering perspective, Vertex gained a robust solution tested on thousands of datasets from hundreds of customers. The team benefits from the Spatial engineering team’s years of experience in 3D modeling.

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