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A&R Mechanical is a Design/Build Ventilation, Piping, and Plumbing contractor based in Urbana, Illinois and specializing in all phases of a project, including design, estimating, installation, fabrication, maintenance, repair service, and facility management. Their customer-focused, team-based process approach allows them to provide the most efficient methods of achieving customer goals.

We sat down with Justin Powers, VDC & Fabrication Business Unit Manager at A&R Mechanical, to discuss the impact that PypeServer & MSUITE has had in their fabrication shop.

Q&A interview: Justin Powers, VDC & Fabrication Business Unit Manager at A&R Mechanical

What’s your role at A&R?

As the VDC & Fabrication Business Unit manager, my role is to lead efforts in the VDC and Fabrication process, from contract award to field installation. This includes instituting processes, training, and direction for the coordination of detailing, spooling, fabrication, layout, and installation. In addition to the built product, we deliver a final as-built 3D model for maintenance and reference purposes.

My career in mechanical construction began as a LU 149 Pipefitter Apprentice, transitioned to Field Foreman for a few years, and then learned Revit. Since learning Revit, I have worked as a VDC Designer, VDC Manager, and now the VDC/Fabrication Business Unit Manager at A&R.

What does your typical workflow look like, and what software tools do you use, from design to production?

Our VDC projects are detailed by tradesmen using Revit with Fabrication components. These VDC Designers work closely with Project Superintendents to ensure that the model is accurate, constructible, and efficient. A Coordination Manager leads the coordination process – this person compiles clashes, runs meetings, and keeps the schedule – while also maintaining a single point of contact for a project.

After sign-off, spooling is completed using MSUITE BIM, exports are sent to PypeServer for nesting and pipe inventory. Lastly, spools are uploaded to MSUITE FAB for shop data and schedule tracking. We utilize a TigerStop cut table for hangers/small bore piping and an HGG machine for larger bore steel piping.

What made you consider PypeServer in the first place?

The interface and usability attracted us to PypeServer in the first place. For us, the most crucial aspect of the software is usability. If the operator in the shop cannot operate the software reliably and without frustration, no amount of efficiency gained will be worth it in the long run.

How was the PypeServer installation process, the learning curve, and how well does it work with your HGG machine?

The installation process was easy, our learning curve was steep – but I believe this was due to being one of the first to utilize PypeServer with an HGG Machine. However, with PypeServer’s direct help, we got everything working as promised. I have complete confidence that as new ideas and solutions are suggested, the PypeServer team will work with us to ensure that our machine is operating at peak efficiency and precision.

How has your workflow changed with PypeServer, and have you seen any savings in time, labor, or materials with PypeServer?

With PypeServer, the shop operator is no longer manually entering the pieces into the profiler. Instead, our exports are done efficiently and are stored on the machine for use at any time. Now, we can nest multiple spools and even whole projects on one piece of pipe. Tasks that took a couple of hours before can now be done in 10 minutes or less.

Why is PypeServer a good value?

PypeServer brings excellent value to our fabrication process:

  • — efficiency/speed that the operator can begin cutting from spool assignment
  • — custom parameters such as negative root gap (allowing us to lengthen a piece to account for a land being ground onto the pipe)
  • — efficient nesting across multiple projects and spools

Any final thoughts on implementing and integrating PypeServer with HGG?

Being one of the first HGG/PypeServer integrations came with many bumps and challenges. Still, the PypeServer Team (Kelly Dillon, David Basiji, and Ken Barrack) have all put in the extra time/effort to get our machine working as efficiently as possible. PypeServer is a true innovator and leader in the space, and we couldn’t have done it without them.

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