From Russia with CAD
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13 Sep 2011

Bentley RM Bridge solves bridge design and analysis problems

Vanja Samec, Global Sales director for RM Bridge, Bentley Systems Today, Russian Bentley office held in Moscow a seminar on the company’s solutions in bridge design and construction. Several presentations will overview well known Bentley’s products and solutions RM Bridge (an integrated package looking like CAD/CAM/CAE/ for bridges) and BrIM (Bridge Information Modelling, something close to BIM).

The key speaker of the seminar was Vanja Samec – Global Sales director for RM Bridge at Bentley. Mrs. Samec is PhD, Dipl.Ing. and has an impressive professional bio: after graduating Civil Engineering /University of Technology / Faculty of Civil Engineering Ljubljana, Slovenia she had 20 years of practice with TDV/Bentley Systems Austria (practical projects, research, software development and leading sales of RM Bridge global).

Before the seminar in Moscow Vanja kindly agreed to give an interview for

What are the main functions of RM Bridge?
RM Bridge – professional bridge software – is an analysis, design, fabrication and construction engineering tool. Developed by bridge engineers for bridge engineers many years ago and improved continuously due to bridge industry demands worldwide. This is the main reason of its very long term existence. Software is specialized for any type of bridges and various technologies. Different projects require different type of analysis (linear or non-linear, static or dynamic) – all those can be supported by RM Bridge software.
What are the advantages of using RM Bridge on different stages of bridge lifecycle?
The main purpose is of course time and money saving. It is well known, that each phase of bridge life cycle requires different input, but partially results of previous – already finished phase. Due to fragmented processes and loss of data it takes time and money to re-create the new data base.

Bentley’s innovative initiative was BrIM – Bridge Information Modelling, which offers interoperable suite of products for the life-cycle of a bridge: Planning – Analysis – Design – Construction – O&M.

RM Bridge covers most of them and connects to those, which are specialized in others. Customers of RM Bridge can expect in the next near future an excellent solution, which is much more over single application for bridge engineers and drafters – it will be delivered from one provider – Bentley – covering all phases of bridge life cycle!

Could you please describe your competitors, market share and main customers of RM Bridge?
We are present worldwide and there is very difficult to find a country, where RM Bridge has not been used.

Due to very high leveled technical experienced team and thousands of successful bridge projects – mid and long, ultra long spans – we have a very wide palette of customers: bridge designers, contractors, consultants, also lot of institutes and universities. Of course there exists many different general software tools, which were born in the last few years – but we leave the decision to our customers to pick the right tool for their requirements and technical level. Our software is very well known as very sophisticated one, so the bridge engineers trust, they got a reliable tool for their daily work. It is our award, when the bridge engineers chose RM Bridge and contact our technical team for discussion – whenever a complicated bridge will be designed.

How did you experience recent economic recession? Which regional markets currently demonstrate main growth of your business?
Well – economic recession is happening every few years – but never really hit us. Infrastructure will always be needed and good products will always survive. Whenever recession appears, some part of the world slows down, but another one speeds up with business. We are bundled with bridge projects and our focus is always there, where infrastructure will be improved and new bridges will be built.
The Sutong Yangtze River Bridge (China)
The Sutong Yangtze River Bridge (China)
How many bridges have been designed with RM Bridge? Can you give some examples in Russia and abroad?
This is for sure very difficult question – RM Bridge is continuously in the world market for about 40 years. Thousands of bridges have been successfully designed and built by RM Bridge. Perhaps I can mention just most significant, recent long span bridges from Asia, where RM Bridge has been used as analysis, design and also construction engineering tool on the site, when erection control by contractor was needed:
  • Sutong Cable Stayed Bridge in China over Yangtze River between Nantong and Suzhou in China – designed by China Highway Planning and Design Institute (HPDI) Consultants with main span of 1088 m (world record). Bridge has been finished in 2009 already.
  • Stone Cutter Bridge in Hong Kong – Cable Stayed Bridge with main span of 1018 m – designer Ove Arup Hong Kong. For this bridge very advanced dynamic wind analysis by RM Bridge was provided as the bridge is located in very well known typhoon area. The bridge has been opened in December 2010.
  • Sheik Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi (UAE) – very attractive bridge in Abu Dhabi, where architect Zaha Hadid created the shape of the bridge due to desert dune impression. Such geometry requested of course several difficult requirements, which company High Point Rendell from UK successfully solved with RM Bridge. Very attractive opening ceremony with special light effects of the bridge was in February 2011.
  • The last Bridge magazine was highlighting the Sharp curves of Park & Ride facility, designed and built on Israel Highway No 1, Connecting Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, near Ben Gurion International Airport. The bridges are specific because of post-tensioned sharply curved tendons. The consultant Shamir Posner Brown Cons. Eng. Ltd Israel from Tel Aviv found RM Bridge as the only reliable technical bridge tool, which managed such requirements. The bridges were opened for traffic in April 2011.
  • In Russia we are starting our experiences and I can’t talk yet about projects, although RM Bridge special wind facilities will be probably used for longest bridge projects in Russia...
Cross-section of the Sutong Bridge
Cross-section of the Sutong Bridge
Is there some local specificity of bridge design in Russia? How RM Bridge is adopted to Russian standards and regulations?
Each country has own regulations, material, traffic and design code standards. Of course the basics are similar to some standards, but when the software will be used in a country, we take care to support local regulations as well. For Russia we did so as well and Russian material, load requirements, design code checks are implemented. There are for sure some special topics, which we implement when needed – and this is also one of our strengths – working hand in hand with our users – bridge engineers – and follow their requests.
How do you train Russian engineers? Do you plan to employ RM Bridge to the educational process of Russian AEC universities?
We are proud to offer Russian language trainings. Most of Russian bridge engineers understand English perfect and we need to understand, that technical language is not so difficult. But still writing and talking in local language has several benefits. We followed this requirement and employed bridge engineer, who is fluent in Russian writing and talking, as well as in using RM Bridge of course.

We would be more than happy to succeed with implementation on our solution on Russian Institutes and Universities. Education of young people on latest technologies is very important and Bentley Systems is delivering this way of education very successful all over the world.

2D, 3D or 4D - what is better? What technology should be chosen for a particular project?
RM Bridge is 4D software, because it can analyze any 3D – space bridge structure – along the time axis, which represents the 4th dimension. 2D and 3D is possible within RM as well – for simplifications or one stage projects. It should be decided by bridge engineers and his needs – resp. demands of the project – what kind of calculation he will choose. In RM Bridge the choice is very easy – the same model can be calculated on different ways and the results can be also easily compared. Perhaps afterwards the final decision will be done by bridge engineer...
RM Bridge
RM Bridge allows architects and engineers to design in 2D, 3D and 4D
Since autumn 2010, we have at our web portal a non-stop very hot discussion on BIM. Bentley Systems is one of the leading providers of BIM solutions. What are prospects of this technology for AEC industry? Will we see some day in the future 100% projects performed as BIM?
BIM – similar as BrIM – (Building and Bridge) Informational Modeling – is innovative Bentley solution (not application) for architects, structural and bridge engineers. Such solution can offer only software provider, which owns all single applications for different phases of life cycle for building and bridge. Bentley Systems is such one.

Time predictions for any 100% finished application or solution can’t be done, because it is a continuous process – like RM Bridge – which was not done within 2 years. Our customers are using both solutions already – of course not in 100% way, but savings are already measurable. Using Bentley applications, which are “talking” to each other means time and money saving. And this is our main goal beside technical excellence of those!

What is the most interesting project you personally participated in? What results have you achieved in it?
My professional work was very wide spread: programming, supporting customers and users of our applications, projects, trainings and in last year responsibility for global technical sale of RM Bridge. Each period brought some highlights:
  • In programming it was a highlight, when finished Windows version of graphical result module for FEM software Plate/Shear Wall, which was before under DOS.
  • Later, when programming RM Bridge, it was a team success, when the first version of new Windows generation versions RM2000 was released.
  • My favor FEM project was an interchange in Oslo, very sharp curved and our Plate application managed even very complicated radial reinforcement. I worked together with our user from Norway.
  • The new generation of RM Bridge versions brought several projects, where I was involved in programming team and each of them brought some highlights. Perhaps memories on the first one – Kwangan Bridge in South Korea, where the calculation was done and I programmed the module for result presentation parallel, when our partner from Seoul was sitting in the room next to mine...
Sheikh Zayed Bridge (Abu Dabhi, UAE)
Sheikh Zayed Bridge (Abu Dhabi, UAE)

All those and also other experiences brought me important knowledge about complete process of any software application, but even more important – respective treatment of customer’s needs. They are our users and we are working for them. They are always welcome for their technical input and cooperation with us.

Thank you! We wish you interesting projects in Russia!

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