In just the past few years, P1 Fabrication has come a long way. From increases in volume and manpower hours to the sheer size and complexity of the project we now fabricate, the increase of time and labor has been significant.
It’s a good place to be, but in order to ensure we are able to smoothly meet these demands, an enhancement to our processes was needed.
That’s why a small team of fabrication and VDC personnel, led by Construction Technologist Jeff Peterson and Pipe Fabrication Shop Manager Jeremy Price, embarked on the mission to explore and test fabrication management applications that automate a multitude of functions helping Virtual Design & Construction, P1 Fabrication, and the customer have a more fluent and unified experience.
“We didn’t choose Stratus immediately,” Jeff said. “We specifically identified the issues in our own shop and looked at multiple applications to see what would fit our needs best.”
With the VDC department making the move to Revit (a more advanced design software), and the fabrication shop advancing technology with automated tooling like the CNC pipecutter and TigerStop, Stratus provided the next logical step.
“One of the features we really like is that Stratus built a direct integration with the CNC machine and TigerStop,” Jeff said.
“There has already been a dramatic decrease in copper pipe waste due to the integration between Stratus and the TigerStop,” Jeremy said.
Here are just some of the Stratus capabilities.
Cloud-Based Application: Anyone can access the model and the fabrication information from anywhere with a web browser and an internet connection.
Organization: All the fabrication information for all of our projects is in a single location.
Collaboration: The construction team (PM’s, foreman, VDC, fabrication) collaboratively create work packages for the project, and manage the scheduling of those work packages.
Simplified Spooling: The pipe fitting shop can spool the job directly in the application, outside of complex design software.
Direct Ordering: Stratus manages the ordering of material for fabrication and integrates with our recently implemented VMI (Vendor Managed Inventory).
Cutlist Creation: Stratus automatically creates all the cutlist for all the piping directly from the model.
Cutlist Transmission: Stratus transmits those cutlists directly to the CNC machine and the Tigerstop through a built-in integration.
Precision Labeling: All labeling for all parts and pipes
QR Codes: The labels have QR Codes which will provide a hyperlink to exactly where those parts are in the model or assembly as well as the Status tracking history for that part.
Digital Model Fabrication: Shop workers can fabricate directly from the digital model rather than from paper documents. This provides them access to 100x more information during the fabrication process than our previous process, eliminating costly errors.
Tracking: Stratus tracks the status of all the parts as they proceed through the fabrication process in real time.
Real-time Metrics: Stratus provides real-time metrics to monitor the percentage completion of any work package or spool.
Field Installation: Stratus provides a way to track field installation of modeled projects.
Jeremy says the software is a huge step forward.
“Overall, Stratus is already making a huge impact on schedule management, by keeping everyone on the same page from day 1,” he said.
“It helps level manpower, and gives us a detailed view of assemblies and work progress, increasing productivity in the shop.”
P1's implementation has gone so well, Stratus is going to work with the P1 team specifically as they develop and improve software.
"P1 has impressed the Stratus development team with our implementation and has built a great relationship with them," Jeff explained.
"We have been asked to join a customer steering committee, which means Stratus will continue to develop software geared toward our specific processes."
Jeff says there are still many additional opportunities to leverage
Stratus in P1’s processes, including field installation verification for forecasting; cost verification - comparing what is modeled to what is estimated; and FieldOrderz - an application that allows the field to draw their spools in an iPad app and order them from the shop directly.
"There is also the potential to leverage Stratus in our electrical and sheet metal fabrication shops," Jeff added.
“There are bumps to work out, and features we haven’t even touched yet,” Jeff said. “We want to make sure we implement it in a way that it can be successful.”
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