Down to business in the conference center
Uponor's Engineering Summit was held at Uponor Academy, their extensive conference and training center built right into their North American HQ and factory. Company President Bill Gray opened the Summit with a preview of the conference and tour. "Hopefully," Gray said, "you'll leave thinking of us a more than just a supplier of plastic pipe."
Robert Bean, R.E.T., P.L. Eng.
Robert Bean, Principle with Indoor Climate Consultants begins his session: What Should be Driving the Sustainability Message -- IEQ or Energy? In his session Bean tried to draw a distinction between meeting ASHRAE Standards and actually delivering on occupant comfort -- and it's a much more complex issue than simply the temperature of the air.
BIM model of the human body
One of the interesting slides in Robert Bean's session: a BIM model of the human body, with architectural support for bones, HVAC for the respiratory system, plumbing for the circulatory system and so forth.
Steve Swanson, training specialist (and sometime-columnist for CONTRACTOR Magazine) leads us on a factory tour. The building has gone through nearly 10 expansions since first purchased in 1979. It can currently turn out something in the neighborhood of two million feet of PEX tubing in a day.
The factory has an on-site quality control lab that pressure tests each batch of pipe to 800 psi (about twice the ASTM Standard). The factory has its own power sub-station, and is the largest user of power in Dakota County. The factory is also the county's largest employer.
PEX for commercial piping
Uponor's Business Development Manager - Engineering Services, Devin Abellon gave a session on the company's embrace of commercial engineering solutions. Uponor has been expanding its large diameter offerings to provide more choices for commercial applications. For situations where the flexibility of PEX is a liability, Uponor has developed rigid version of its PEX-a pipe.
Just next door to Uponor's conference room is their training center, where visiting contractors can get hands-on with the company's latest products.
Don Rasmussen, Applications Engineer for CTC Software presented on the evolution of the BIM workflow. Many different types of software are now working together throughout all phases of planning, construction and facility management. He also presented on his company's newest offering, which is not so much a software package as a "tuned environment" for Revit.
C.T.C. Design Software Solutions
One of the most fun parts of the Engineering Summit was a chance to view the world through C.T.C.'s VR display. All of a sudden you are inside the project, seeing it on a 1-to-1 scale. You can even red-line mark up the V.R. model and move things around.
Uponor's Design Services
Aaron Stotko, Uponor's Commercial Segment Manager gives a run-down on the company's design services. They offer a whole library of their products for BIM, 2D and 3D modeling in multiple platforms. They offer training, onsite inspection, project review, a 25-year warranty on their products and much more to help contractors succeed.
Uponor's Design Services Group offers a wide array of estimation services including (but not limited to):
- Materials list/breakout
- MCAA labor data
- Material/labor comparisons
- Estimation consulting
- Unit modeling/detailing
- Fast turnaround
And best of all? It's all free.