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Rowecord Engineering

Rowecord Finds More PDF Power by Combining Bluebeam Software's Platform and Advanced Technologies


Rowecord Engineering, LTD is a major steel contractor in the UK and provides first-class design, engineering manufacture, treatment and erection services for steel structures. As part of this work, the firm generates thousands of PDF drawings and documents per day from applications as varied as Tekla Structures for engineering drawings and Microsoft Word for documents including Health and Safety Manuals, Welding Procedures and Operations Procedures.


Rowecord had been using Adobe Distiller for high-volume PDF creation and Adobe Acrobat for end user PDF editing and markup. However, the high price of the Adobe products was a barrier for continued use of these solutions. With only one Adobe Professional license available, Project Leader Stan Lugg began searching for alternative PDF solutions.

Initially, Stan tested various free PDF creation tools. He quickly realized, though, that freeware applications were not robust enough for the firm's PDF creation and annotation needs. Stan began to search for solutions that would meet the following needs:

  • Provide end users with easy-to-use PDF annotating and editing tools
  • Convert high volumes of Windows files to PDF, from complex BIM models to word processed documents
  • Offer affordable pricing

At the recommendation of a sub-contractor, Stan trialed and subsequently replaced Adobe Distiller with Bluebeam Q for automated PDF publishing and processing and replaced Adobe Acrobat with Bluebeam Revu for desktop PDF creation, markup and editing.

"Qing" up files with Bluebeam

Rowecord now uses Bluebeam Q to automatically create a high volume of PDFs from BIM applications, mainly Tekla Structures. Q is a server-based solution that enables PDF production through four flexible options - a network PDF printer, watched folders, a script engine and an API - which enable organizations to customize the application to meet their specific needs.

Rowecord is leveraging two of Q's interfaces - the network PDF printer and watched folders - in a unique workflow that enables the firm to easily generate thousands of PDFs daily.

  1. When a PDF is needed, Rowecord's Tekla users select a batch of layouts using the Tekla print interface and the Bluebeam Net PDF printer, which is pre-loaded with several engineering page sizes - to select the desired output file paper sizes for each input file. This process is now much faster than it was using Distiller, which required users to set up individual batches for each output file size.
  2. Users then "Print to file" in Tekla, saving the postscript files to a network folder which Stan has configured to be "watched" by Bluebeam Q.
  3. Once the Postscript files are saved in the watched folder, Q automatically converts them to PDFs.
  4. Once created, Q saves the PDFs in a designated output folder, making them immediately available for distribution.

Annotating PDFs with Revu

In addition to using Q for automated PDF publishing, Rowecord has replaced Adobe Acrobat with Bluebeam Revu. Revu is used by project managers, engineers and shop fabricators to electronically markup PDFs with comments, rather than printing out drawings and documents and redlining by hand. Not only have these users found Bluebeam's annotations, including text, highlights, shapes and symbols easy to use, they have also found more power in Revu's advanced features. Specifically, Rowecord users prefer Revu because of its abilities to perform the following:

  1. Open multiple PDF files at once and switch between open PDFs using tabbed navigation.
  2. View up to 16 PDFs or views simultaneously using Bluebeam's MultiView™ technology.
  3. Compare PDF drawings and automatically cloud the differences between two revisions.
  4. Create PDFs from MS Word while simultaneously transferring hyperlinks from the Word documents to PDF.

Bluebeam Q and Bluebeam Revu are professional and affordable solutions that meet our PDF creation and editing needs, and I would recommend Bluebeam to anyone looking for an Adobe alternative.

Stan Lugg, Project Leader at Rowecord Engineering.


After a long search for an Adobe alternative and evaluating several PDF creation, markup and editing solutions, Rowecord is pleased with the value that Bluebeam brings to its organizations. "Bluebeam Q and Bluebeam Revu are professional and affordable solutions that meet our PDF creation and editing needs," said Stan Lugg. "I would recommend Bluebeam to anyone looking for an Adobe alternative."