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Technician using a tablet in a fabrication shop | SDS2 Steel Detailing Software

7 Essential Partner Integrations for Better Design and Fabrication

In today’s integrated construction environment, the steel detailing model is the foundation for data-driven efficiency and productivity in steel construction from design to fabrication and erection.  

SDS2’s built-in connection design provides the most complete data possible for your steel projects. With automatic design capabilities built around the realities of fabrication and erection, you can generate quick and accurate bids, reduce RFIs in the design process, optimize shop routing for your CNC investments, and more.  

To help you maximize the value of your steel model and take advantage of its powerful design data throughout the project lifecycle, SDS2 is continually developing integrations with the top software and equipment providers in the industry. You can see our complete list of partner integrations here 

Below, we’ll talk about some of the top integrations in design and fabrication that are adding value to our customers’ steel projects. 


Design Integrations

To get your project off on the right foot, it’s critical to have smooth communication and data flow with the structural engineer and design team. To minimize manual work when starting your model in SDS2, which often leads to errors, you can import 2D or 3D design data into SDS2 as a reference or starting point for your model. We offer simple tools to import PDF and IFC files, as well as integrations with the industry’s top design solutions to help you save time and eliminate transference errors at the start of your projects.  


SDS2 Roundtripping Plugin for Autodesk Revit

Autodesk Revit is one of the most common design software programs used by structural engineers today. SDS2 provides a plug-in for Autodesk Revit that facilitates a bi-directional transfer of information through a direct API interface between Revit and SDS2. The XML data transfer maps Revit families to SDS2 materials, making the Revit model usable as a starting point for the detailing model, rather than only using it as a reference.   

In practice, fabricators and detailers use the plugin to import a structural model from Revit into SDS2 that they can bring up to a usable level of detail. With supplemental tools like Member Line Extend, found in the SDS2 Toolbox, you can fix issues common in imported models and easily extend members to members, adjust heights, and more, which will allow SDS2’s automated connection design to operate.  

For non-structural members, users always have the option of importing an IFC file.  

Anyone can download the SDS2 Roundtripping plugin for free here →  


Fabrication Management Software

More and more shops are utilizing fabrication management software to streamline projects and production. The top solutions provide everything from estimating and inventory control to material handling and project management. The steel detailing model is the foundation for fabrication management solutions, the cornerstone of accuracy and efficiency.  

SDS2 integrates with all of the industry’s top solutions, and with connection design built into the model, we can provide next-level accuracy and intelligent optimization from the earliest stages of your project.  


Tekla PowerFab

The latest addition to the SDS2 Toolbox is a plugin facilitating data transfer between SDS2 and Tekla PowerFab, one of the most prevalent fabrication management and steel estimating software suites on the market.  

While SDS2 has long been able to communicate with the Tekla suite of products, the latest toolbox item makes it easier than ever to import and export data between the two programs with a clean, clear interface. The plugin uses IFC EM11, the preferred file type in the fabrication industry, and includes member properties for your data-driven production needs.    

Download the latest Tekla PowerFab plugin for SDS2 2022 here → 



STRUMIS caters to some of the world’s largest fabrication companies, with the capability to facilitate full-service estimating, production, and inventory control across multiple shop locations.  

The STRUMIS BIMReview plugin in the SDS2 Toolbox enables you to set up a data transfer between SDS2 and STRUMIS with automatic revision control that links bill of material information to your model, drawings, and CNC files. Everything is contained within a single, data-rich BSWX file to simplify the data transfer. And the data can even go both directions—users can work with their STRUMIS rep to set up a bi-directional data transfer so you can see fabrication status information in the SDS2 model.  

Download the STRUMIS BIMReview plugin here →  


CNC Integrations

Automated equipment for cutting, welding, fitting, sorting, labeling—and more—is becoming more and more common in fabrication shops. Today’s CNC machines are powered by data from your 3D detailing model, and the communication between model and machine is improving all the time. SDS2 integrates with many of the top robotic solutions in the industry, ensuring an efficient and consistent throughput for your or your customer’s shop. SDS2 integrates with the industry’s top players in automated fabrication. 


Lincoln Electric

Lincoln Electric is a leading provider of automated welding, joining, cutting, and assembly products for steel fabricators of any size. Their lineup includes everything from the powerhouse Zeman systems for steel beam assembly to the versatile PythonX cutting machines for structural steel, pipe, and plate.  

SDS2 can export precise fabrication data to Lincoln Electric machines, with a dedicated export plugin for the Zeman Beam Assembler available in the SDS2 Toolbox. Combined with SDS2’s advanced connection design and fabrication setup, you can quickly adapt your model design to optimize routing through your shop and take full advantage of your automated solutions—to learn more, check out this case study on PVS Structures.  

Download the Zeman Beam Assembler tool here →   



Bend-Tech is one of the most popular tools available for tube and pipe production. Their production grade plasma cutting machine, the Dragon A400, can handle round, square, rectangular, angle, and channel steel up to 24 feet long and 400 pounds. In structural steel fabrication, the machine is used primarily for handrail production, which can be an especially tedious and time-consuming process when done manually.  

SDS2 exports all the appropriate CNC data for use with the Bend-Tech machines, which come with built-in software and an excellent customer service team to help users integrate their model data with the machining capabilities.   


Structural Elements

Manufactured connections and structural elements can provide major time, labor, and cost savings for specialized building situations, such as seismic support. SDS2 provides plugins for many of the top manufacturers, making it easy to model in custom elements that meet the manufacturer’s specifications.  


MiTek (formerly SidePlate)

MiTek, formerly known as SidePlate, provides a steel connection system shown to reduce overall project tonnage, minimize the required connections, and accelerate erection times. It was originally designed for seismic areas but has seen growing usage in non-seismic buildings as well.  

The MiTek SidePlate Component for SDS2, combined with a project-specific XML file from MiTek, allows detailers to import all SidePlate connections into their SDS2 model in minutes for both model-based estimating and final project detailing. The imported connections will be an exact match to the connections shown on the project drawings, reducing detailing time and ensuring accuracy. 

Download the Mitek SidePlate connections component here →  



DuraFuse Frames provides rigid beam-to-column moment connections that resist wind and earthquake forces with less steel weight and simplified fabrication. With the DuraFuse Frames SDS2 Component, you can now add these proprietary connections into your SDS2 model with drastically reduced modeling time for the setup and application of each connection.   

The plugin also comes with detailing templates, designed in partnership with SDS2 and Durafuse Frames, for automatic drawing production of the Durafuse Frames connections. These will save detailers on cleanup time and get projects into production even faster. 

Download the DuraFuse Frames component here → 



SDS2’s list of partner integrations is constantly growing as the business of steel fabrication and construction becomes more interconnected. From collaborative BIM workflows to automated fabrication solutions, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments to maximize the value of your model.  

To see if your design and production solutions are compatible with SDS2, see our growing list of partner integrations here →  

And be sure to check out the SDS2 Toolbox and sign up for updates to make sure you’re always getting the latest tools and plugins.