Background:

Established in 1994, Quality Ironworks Inc. brings over 20 years of experience fabricating and erecting a variety of products, including steel stairs, framing and decking, railings, fences, and custom design parts. Located near the heart of Dallas, Texas, their 110,000 sq ft. facility has over 20 welding stations, overhead cranes, on-site painting area, and a custom forge. Their portfolio includes several award-winning conversions of office buildings into lofts in Downtown Dallas and Fort Worth as well as new multi-use projects, apartments, retail structures and canopies, and railings for shopping centers and office buildings.

Problem:

As Quality Ironworks continues to grow, taking on larger and more complex projects, their administrative workload has increased beyond their current staff size. As each project requires the drawing of technical drafts and blueprints, the manpower required to create these drawings has also increased. Quality Ironworks could not simply purchase a license for a CAD-like drawing program as this would not serve to increase their efficiency – instead, they required a solution that would automate as many aspects of the drawing process as possible.

Solution:

Quality Ironworks has previously used vector graphic drawing programs as well as CAD (Computer Aided Design) in many of their drafting phases, however, in order to cut administrative costs, and shorten design-phase timelines, they required a custom software solution that would allow them to simply input measurements and output 2D technical drawings as well as generate 3D models of the proposed designs. Where this was previously a multi-step process, requiring separate drawings for each view, as well as a significant time investment for manually creating 3D models, we were able to consolidate the entire drawing and modeling process into a single step of entering measurements into a User Interface.

While other software solutions may offer similar functionality, the advantage in this case was that Quality Ironworks wanted to retain their proprietary Visual Basic source code. Instead of completely re-writing their code from scratch, we were able to integrate it as an API within our C#/Vue.js framework. This allowed us to create a solution which not only integrated seamlessly with previous projects, but actually upgraded the functionality of these projects to allow for a greater ease of use (for example, users can now create 3D models for past projects with a single button click, as opposed to rendering them manually each time a change to the project is made).

Additionally, our solution simultaneously provides greater ease of use with more flexibility than other license-based options. This means that projects can be created and drawn within a matter of minutes, while still allowing for fine-tuning and minor adjustments that would otherwise require users to make adjustments to the project as a whole.

Technology:

Starting with HTML5 Canvas elements, we were able to write functionality that looks at a project both as a whole and as individual parts, removing the need for users to adjust measurements and set constants for the project. Furthermore, the use of recursive drawing functions made adding, removing and editing a simple matter of clicking through options on the User Interface. HTML Canvas also makes use of the WebGL Javascript API for rendering interactive 3D models. Using a C# and Vue.js framework seemed an obvious choice because the primary focus of this application was simplicity and ease of use. With most of the drawing features being automated, Vue allowed us to create a dynamic, interactive solution, similar to many “Single Page Applications.”

 

 

  • Industry

    Fabrication, welding, painting
  • Company

    Quality Ironworks Inc.