AU Focus: Integrated Factory Modeling

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A factory is a building. It has walls, floors, a roof, and all the mechanical, electric, and plumbing systems that most buildings have. That makes it architecture.  

But unlike most buildings, a factory has an immediate and intimate effect on manufacturing. It’s the facility that holds the people, machines, and processes that produce a company’s goods. Getting the factory design right can have a significant impact on a manufacturer’s productivity and profitability.  

Integrated Factory Modeling (IFM) is a new approach to factory design and construction that brings together digital tools and processes from the fields of architecture and manufacturing so you can model not only the building and its systems, but also the production lines and fabrication processes that go inside it. It provides a single, integrated platform for cross-functional collaboration across all the trades and disciplines, so that everyone involved can share the same data, identify clashes, optimize processes, and make better decisions faster.  

With IFM, you can go from rough concepting based on requirements to site planning to production engineering, considering alternatives and simulating processes every step of the way. In other words, you can ideate, validate, and optimize factory designs before construction begins. And after construction is done, you can turn that integrated model into a digital twin for operations—as well as for redesign when new machinery, processes, or products are needed.  

Build your IFM skills with these AU sessions:  

The digital story of a factory 

Daniel Lutz, manufacturing solutions engineer with Autodesk, walks through the end-to-end process for modeling a factory and the systems in it, focusing on the disciplines of building design, technical equipment, and production planning. Jumping back and forth between Revit, Inventor, and Navisworks using Autodesk Factory Design Utilities, and ending in a coordination model in BIM 360, he shows you how to model the factory space, simulate production processes, analyze the designs, then maintain that model for continuous use throughout the factory lifecycle.  

Focus on process 

The success of a factory isn’t determined by how it looks, it’s measured by its capabilities—the manufacturing that it makes possible. Michael Jolicoeur, director of the Autodesk Business Unit at ProModel, led two classes at AU 2022 focused on modeling manufacturing processes within the factory design process. In the first, he shows you how to use Discrete Event Simulation to predict throughput and manufacturing efficiency and estimate ROI to support your business case for the project. In the other, he goes further into how to use the Factory Design Utilities as decision-making tools. From lower installation and operational costs to greater predictability, learn how you get actionable data and insight that can drive better outcomes.  

Using the cloud for construction collaboration 

When it’s time to build (or renovate), you can take your factory model—along with all the process data you’ve invested in it—into the Autodesk Construction Cloud. Robert Ostermann and Paul Munford show you how to model architectural elements with complex manufacturing processes, production lines, and logistics, from conveyor systems to loading areas. Learn how cloud-based processes are the key to effective collaboration and explore the details of data exchange between Vault Professional and Autodesk Docs or Fusion Teams via the Desktop Connector. 

Learn more about integrated factory modeling anytime at Autodesk University.