Since its inception, Computer-Aided Design (CAD) has played a vital role in the success of the precast industry and beyond. Behind the scenes of groundbreaking innovations and intricate product developments lies the dedicated work of CAD professionals. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of the structural designers here at Locke who play a crucial role in shaping the future of construction through the design of innovative precast concrete products.
For starters, you may be wondering, what exactly is CAD? By definition, CAD is the process of digitally creating 2D drawings and 3D models of real-world products before they’re ever manufactured. At Locke, our CAD professionals understand the importance of their role in this process and exert great effort in carefully crafting the design of each product.
For someone in this role, the start of the day typically includes reviewing the previous day’s drawings and ensuring that they have all the information needed to begin a new project. Common product specifications include design load, buoyancy, and weight among other key details. Sustainability and environmental factors must also be considered so the structural designers can determine how each product will suit its environment (mix designs can vary depending on this). Typically, customers will provide project specification and contract plans for the designers to reference when creating a model of the product. Occasionally, customers will provide a rough sketch or describe their plans over a phone call so that the designer can propose it into their standard design.
At Locke, we use a program specifically designed for creating 3D modeling for structural, civil, and precast concrete engineering. Once the drawings have been created using this software, they are meticulously reviewed to verify measurements and confirm that every detail is error-free before being sent over to the project manager. Correspondence with the production crew, as well as our customers, plays a large role in ensuring that the drawings are translated correctly into a physical product that our customers are greatly satisfied with.
This process consumes the majority of the day for our designers. From working directly with customers to bring a precast vision to life, to meeting as a team to discuss ongoing projects, their role remains a staple of Locke. In this field of work, no two days are the same and the constant rotation of projects allows Locke’s CAD specialists to find new ways to challenge themselves. Custom designs are always welcomed, as they introduce new design concepts that are innovative and exciting to create. Previous custom projects have included designing wall panels, as well as a trench project for various clients. However, with these high points also come challenges. Similar to many other fields, these professionals are tasked with juggling various projects simultaneously, as well as meeting tight deadlines for designs. Additionally, they must ensure that their designs meet structural and safety requirements by adhering to the exact structure specifications and project plans provided by the customer. Although challenging, our team sees this as an opportunity to push the limits and open new realms of possibility for precast design.
Overall, the day in the life of a structural designer remains bustling with activity from start to finish. Here at Locke, the individuals working in CAD have proven to be great visionaries with the ability to translate blueprints into concrete reality. Their days are a blend of creativity, technical precision, and collaborative effort, serving as the bridge that connects customer needs to the tangible foundation of our communities. In the dynamic world of precast concrete, they play a large role in the success of the company, the happiness of our customers, and most importantly, paving the way for a stronger and more sustainable future.