The old adage about genius being 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration originated in the late 19th century, but in today’s world of automating wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) design, engineers are still haunted by onerous design processes and iterations.
All that could soon change thanks to a design generator software that automates much of the ‘perspiration’ in favor of leaving more time for ‘inspiration.’ Here’s how it works.
Every WWTP design is divided into two parts — preliminary design and detailed design. Unfortunately, the sheer time and effort demanded from engineers at every step of the process tends to suppress opportunities to explore more innovative approaches — until now. Enter the Transcend Design Generator (TDG), a tool conceived specifically for wastewater infrastructure. Originally developed by a creative wastewater treatment supplier to accelerate their initial WWTP bidding and design process, it is now used by water/ wastewater EPC firms, OEMs, and utilities to reduce the impact of labor-intensive design changes on overall project time and cost.
While some designers express concern that automating initial designs and follow-up processes could lead to a reduction in engineering jobs, the experience of multiple users demonstrates quite the opposite effect. TDG users and their organizations have multiplied their benefits without reducing engineering headcount. Imre Tóth, one of the original collaborators during TDG’s development, reports that “the tool significantly improved our project win rate and enabled us to increase revenues by 5x by maximizing the efforts of our existing engineers.”
The TDG tool uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and hundreds of thousands of decision trees to integrate options and calculations from all process, mechanical, civil, architectural, electrical, control, and automation engineering disciplines. TDG generates more than a dozen engineering documents and drawings for custom preliminary designs (Figure 1). The benefits compound with each requested revision. “When the time comes to make requested changes,” Tóth notes, “users only have to revise one single value and the TDG tool does the rest. When a design is not automated, engineers have to go through the entire design package to update every interrelated impact — the process, the calculations, the equipment sizing, and the civil and architectural impacts. Everything is affected.”
Automating tedious project design details — including typically five or 10 rounds of revisions — improve growth opportunities for consulting engineering firms and technology suppliers alike, enabling them to keep pace or gain ground in an ultra-competitive environment. Better yet, it helps to improve personal job satisfaction for their design engineers by giving them more time to focus on the creative work of exploring and justifying more advanced designs and innovative options. Most importantly, it can expose end-user utilities and industrial operations to significantly more cost-effective options instead of just modified versions of the ‘same old’ basic designs.
While TDG is a design-oriented software tool, every aspect of its implementation is focused on the key principles of design and proposal-oriented businesses. Its real-time analytical approach, user-friendly interface, global consistency, and quality control across all design documents set the stage for better business performance throughout the entire design cycle:
Interested consulting engineering firms, technology suppliers, and individual engineers can create their own free TDG accounts to explore the value of creating designs in the TDG tool before making any commitments. Because the TDG tool is available to use on a subscription or project basis, it is affordable for smaller technology providers and the consulting engineering firms with whom they collaborate, making it easier for all parties to test and compare alternative design options. Those options include comparisons of capital cost, operational cost, and estimated price for certain equipment or parts of a facility to help engineers justify the most productive solutions. Parties interested in scheduling a TDG demo can request one now!