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About increase of efficiency of design works on the basis of an information technology
In given article it is told about increase of efficiency of design works by means of information technologies.                                           

Analyzing articles devoted to automation of design activity, it is simple to notice that their authors practically always belong to one of three groups.

The first, and very considerable group contemplates a problem simplistic: we choose CAD-system, we master and we gain effect. But the CAD-system is only one of set of components of effective technology of designing. Would be an error to separate software from a supply with information, and design works to put in dependence on possibilities of software. The operating or created automated technology should be defining at a choice of the means providing process of designing, – thus the supply with information can quite appear more important development of those or other programs. Not casually automation even more often designate more capacious term “an information technology” underlining a predominating role of a supply with information and meaning deep integration of various systems at information level.

The second group of authors is made by sellers-distributors and, hence, advertisers.

Advertising and reviews, certainly, are necessary, but it is much more interesting than the publication of authors of the third group: heads and experts of project institutes, on itself experienced all complexities of transition from manual designing and achieved high level of automation. It is necessary for end users to choose a platform for construction of the CAD in a complex, ranging criteria: functionality, conformity to means, educability, the price etc. became during the last years more powerful and more functional than CAD-system, but, as consequence, any more are not neither cheap, nor simple. Certainly, office programs and CAD-systems make a considerable segment of the piracy market of software products, but thoughts on use of piracy versions are better for rejecting at once. If to present that use system only licensed pure programs suddenly will earn, it is easy to guess, in what position there will be the project institutes which have constructed automation on the piracy software.

In the average and large design organisations base technical decisions at automation of design works are usually defined by two basic circumstances: a wide spectrum of projected objects (technological platforms, objects of power supply, pipelines of different function, highways, social objects) and the big variety of carried out sections.

Let's formulate the general questions facing to heads and developers of IT-services of project institutes, and we will try to answer them.

Whether There is an exit from eternally inconsistent requirements to functionality of systems, quantity of workplaces and cost? Yes, is – and it is based on principles of long-term cooperation with the supplier or the manufacturer of the software. Having serious and long-term intentions, it is easy to receive necessary quantity of licences, for example, with their gradual repayment. Initially it is recommended to choose the multipurpose and powerful software package covering all chain of designing as base. Then, having mastered a software package, designers can raise several times labour productivity, reduce terms of performance of works and raise quality of design decisions. Functionality of widespread means usually much more advances the technologies which have developed in the design organisations of designing so do not limit development prospect. The unified software applied at researches, technology designing, and also in an architecturally-building part, is difficult enough in development, but relieves of infinite convertings of files. His introduction sozdaaet necessary conditions for the construction of IS as a common information space of the institute. The flexible and programmed toolkit of CAD-system can be adjusted under set of specific targets of designers of the given design organisation.

Obviously, it is necessary to enter constant training of designers, experts and the administrative personnel. Certainly, uneasy to allocate time, to find teachers, to organise the educational center, to prepare techniques, but constant technical training – a necessary element of the automated technology of designing. Result – constant perfection of process of designing and the received aggregate effect based on continuously updated program, information and technical maintenance, and also improvement of professional skill of designers.

The maintenance of projects in information system are documents (volumes, books, sections) and drawings in the vector and raster form with the explaining text. To advantages of the design documentation that it is well structured and identified, first of all, concerns, and lacks – that it contains the drawing possessing huge non-formalizable informative. The Considerable quantity internal and external relations in files-documents and between them complicates manufacturing of documents and repeatedly complicates their updating. However structure IS which has been accurately thought over already at the initial stage of working out, allows not only to avoid “a file heap” documents, but also confidently to build teamwork of dynamically formed groups of designers of various specialities over set of simultaneously developed projects. Efficiency of the Internet interface and refusal of files in favour of databases is proved.

Whether It is possible to begin with installation of the several automated workplaces? Designing is a continuous process of gathering, the analysis, accumulation, transformation and information delivery. It is in constant movement – in time, between executors, between work stages. The design organisation can be considered as the conveyor of the data. The primary goal – to learn to operate this data flow, to make its transparent for each executor and to support a movement continuity. If at least one person included in a chain of design problems, has no corresponding tools or is not trained by them to use, the conveyor is torn, and its efficiency reduces to zero. Designing – process collective. Hence, it is impossible to construct the automated technology in separately taken design division, on the limited quantity of program tool means or to trust in knowledge of the separate expert.

Whether It is possible to avoid “a transition period”? it is probable, no. Really, too challenges of transition from primitive level computer “typewriters” to construction highly information technology. For transition period reduction more careful spadework is necessary, always is and there will be restrictions and in modernisation financing. Nevertheless partial automation of process of designing does not give notable effect and as a result leads to the only infinitely dragged out expenses of forces and means.

We conditionally represent information model of process of designing as follows. In the center – the current and archival files-documents placed in a database. Access to them is carried out through Intranet, and the basic processing is carried out by applied programs in uniform system of documenting. Freedom of designers in a choice of design tools and documentation manufacturing is rigidly limited (unity of versions CAD and office systems etc.). It is necessary, otherwise huge means would leave on repeated coordination and transformations of files. Besides simultaneous use of different versions of the same systems loosens the generated virtual mutual relations of co-authors with such work.

Though functionality of programs and means constantly grow, the policy is justified “a golden mean”.

Whether the pilot project Is necessary? At the initial stage of introduction of IS it is recommended to choose some objects for self-training, working off of teamwork, debugging of interrelations, adjustment and working out program and a supply with information. Development of an information technology occurs under the scheme of increase of complexity: technology “a file-server”-> Intranet and collective work-> 3D-designing on the basis of a DB-> Intellectual designing.

How completely to trust in the documents stored in files, instead of on a paper, to receive the technical information from parametres of the description of the equipment, instead of from paper catalogues? How virtually to conduct the coordination of technical decisions?. Enough steady psychological barriers are necessary to spend for overcoming of these both efforts, and time, but without destruction of such barriers creation of the highly effective information environment is impossible.

The quantitative estimation of efficiency of design activity of the design organisation can be spent by a method of the comparative analysis of tendencies of change of following characteristics:
- deviations at project cost – deviations of the budget of the project, caused by its over-expenditure or underconsumption;
- deviations in the schedule – shifts in the project schedule, caused by backlog or an advancing of works;
- elimination of the lacks found at check and an estimation of quality – an estimation of an overall performance of a command of the project on elimination of the lacks revealed during performance of the project;
- quantity of unresolved problems – efficiency of reaction of a command of the project on arising difficulties;
- staffing project commands – definition of all participants of the project, and also a command of management of the project.

The effect from introduction IT in the design organisation should be shown in multiple reduction of terms of performance of works, more careful study of technical decisions, possibility to offer the customer some variants, without speaking about improvement of quality of manufacturing of graphic and tablichno-text materials. In the conditions of the developed information technology routine processes of designing become creative.

1. Palyanov P. Improving the efficiency of design work on the basis of information technologies//CADmaster, #5 (25), 2004 []
2. Stutko N. Efficient use of project management information system (PMIS) []

The author: Челябэнергопроект
Date: 07/22/2009

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