Why BAS-Solutions GmbH runs AVEVA E3D in the cloud

Why BAS-Solutions GmbH runs AVEVA E3D in the cloud

Hint: it’s not only about saving costs

Upfront investments can prevent or ‘kill’ startups in almost any industry. But they are an especially big issue in the design engineering sector.  

The problem is that engineers need extremely powerful computers to do design work. But engineering workstations typically cost several thousand Euros each. At the same time, young companies usually need to find office space. Again, that can be an enormous drain on resources.

But BAS-Solutions GmbH, a Berlin-based startup that launched in November 2023, has managed to overcome these obstacles. Their secret? Using cloud-based virtual machines.

A new player in the chemical plant engineering sector

BAS-Solutions launched in late 2023 after its founders spotted an opportunity in the process plant design sector. The company, which now has 12 employees, provides a variety of services, including:

  • Detail engineering of new plants using 3D design software
  • Basic engineering
  • Basic investigation and pre-engineering
  • Consultancy
  • Pipe & steel construction statics
  • Strength calculation

The startup primarily works with clients in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands, but works globally too.

A modern approach to work

 “We are a digital company, and don’t want to be physically in the office every single day”, says Anja Abeywardana, BAS-Solutions’ CFO. Since day one, the company’s employees have worked primarily remote.

BAS-Solutions is able to work in this remote and flexible way because they’ve been using Designair from the start.

Markus Raue, the company’s IT manager, explains that many of the startup’s staff had used Designair while working together at a previous company. At that business, Designair had been introduced during the pandemic when staff needed a way to work from home. After realising that VPNs just weren’t suitable for the graphics-intensive workloads of CAD software, the firm introduced Designair’s virtual machines instead - and these proved very successful. So, when BAS-Solutions launched, Designair was the obvious choice.

Using Designair helps the company overcome some of the key challenges that typically face design and engineering startups:

  • Hardware costs

Designair allows anyone with an internet-connected device to connect to powerful virtual machines in the cloud. These are loaded with AVEVA E3D, BAS-Solutions’ preferred CAD software, and the company pays Designair only for the time they use the machine.  

This means that the startup doesn't have to spend thousands of Euros on expensive CAD workstations for each new engineer they hire. Instead, employees can work on designs using much cheaper laptops or desktops. The specification of the actual hardware barely matters. So long as it can connect to the internet, employees can then use Designair’s powerful machines remotely.

  • Expensive office rental

Finding and leasing office space represents a major expense for most startups. But this was not a problem for BAS-Solutions. By using Designair, employees can work from home, thereby avoiding the need for expensive annual office leases.

Bottom line: The financial case for CAD in the cloud

Getting the right setup

“Designair offers clean CAD-capable machines we can set up like we want” says IT manager Markus. This technical flexibility means BAS-Solutions has been able to customise the platform to their specific requirements.

BAS-Solutions use AVEVA E3D as their primary design software, and AVEVA offers a token-based licensing model. Designair helped the startup set up a licence server in the cloud which was connected to their virtual machines. Now, whenever employees need to use AVEVA in the cloud, they can pull these tokens from the licence server.

Another specific challenge with using AVEVA in the cloud is to master the multiuser design approach remotely. So, to enable collaborative work in the cloud, as one main step Markus set up a file share that stores all the data everyone needs.

Background: Why are CAD workstations moving to the cloud?

Discovering more advantages 

Designair is “the best solution we’ve found on the market” says Linus Schoele, BAS-Solutions’ CEO. Besides the cost savings it provides, the team list several other key benefits:

  • Customer satisfaction: A cloud-based solution is “the best way to work with customers” reckons CFO Anja. Using Designair, it’s easy to demo work, make changes on the fly and collaborate. Rather than having to travel to their clients’ offices to show their work, the company can now do so instantly (and securely) over the internet.
  • Based in the EU: Due to regulations such as the GDPR or NIS 2, it was very important for BAS-Solutions to use a cloud where data would be stored physically within the EU. Designair offers just that.
  • Collaborative work: CEO Linus points out that projects to design chemical plants don’t usually have a “simple linear workflow”. They tend to be complex and can last months or years. They also often require people with different kinds of expertise at different stages. Designair allows the company to add or remove employees and external consultants by spinning up server instances fast, so people can collaborate on projects very easily.
  • Speed: Compared to working remotely using a VPN, Designair allows for much faster work when working with large CAD databases Linus adds that, while it may be marginally faster to use an AVEVA cursor on a local machine, “you barely notice” any latency when using a regular cursor on Designair.
  • Easy onboarding: As the company grows, Designair allows them to rapidly onboard new employees. Other than getting staff to register for Designair, “everything else is basically the same” Markus explains. What is more, being cloud-based allows BAS-Solutions to employ staff anywhere Anja says - they are not restricted to hiring people who live physically close to an office in Berlin.
  • Designair support: “We’re really happy with Designair” Anja says, and highlights the responsive and effective support the company offers.

Architecture case study: DSP’s remote work journey 

A better way to launch an engineering startup

Launching a design engineering startup was, traditionally, extremely challenging. Besides all the normal issues that startups face, engineering firms also have to pay out for exorbitant computing costs. This prevents them from scaling fast, working collaboratively, or employing the best talent globally.

But as BAS-Solutions’ experience with Designair shows, a better way of launching a design engineering startup is now possible.

Want to try it for yourself? Begin your free trial with Designair today.