Tekla Structures (formerly Tekla XSTEEL) AceCad Software's StruCad, SDS/2 and other structural steel design and detailing programs have become an essential tool for structural engineering firms. They manage all the material and configuration information for the project (BIM), are used for estimating project costs, can perform analyses for loading and interference, and even produce information used by the steel erector.

Another important benefit of modern detailing software is providing detail information to CNC fabrication equipment. Modern fabrication machines can read the .dstv format files from Tekla Structures and these other programs, determine the lengths and features to be cut, and program the movements of the drill head accordingly. This relieves the operator of the need to program the cutting head's movement. No other fabrication machine can leverage this information as completely as today's PythonX robotic plasma-cutting structural steel fabrication system.

             PythonX accepts aprt detail drawings from TEKLA XSTEEL

                    OUT OF

 Structural Fab Sites

Full-On Fabrication With Structural Plasma Cutting

For structural steel fabricators, plasma cutting once meant  plate cutting and little else. Today, '3D' robotic plasma technology cuts structural tube, channel, angle, beams and, of course, plate.

Beam Drill Line Obsolete?
Conventional CNC drill lines by Controlled Automation, Daito and others are losing their appeal in the face of PythonX technology. Why? PythonX copes, scribes, bevel cuts, miters and more.

Beam, Channel, Plate, Angle
And Other Materials

The shapes are standard, but
the sizes vary considerably.
That presents a challenge for fabrication shops that want to supply large, complex projects Now, a single machine fully fabricates all these pieces.

The Evolution of Structural Steel Fabricating Machinery

The machines and tools used in structural steel fabrication have changed little over the past 20 years. With the introduction of robotic plasma cutting, this industry is moving ahead by quantum leaps almost overnight.

Advanced Beam Coping
Beam coping has long been considered the most difficult, error-prone job in the fab shop. No more. Full automated robotic beam coping is here. It's fast, accurate and boosts shop productivity by a factor of 5 or greater.

A Tekla Structures file can be read right into the machine control shown here  

Structural Steel Fabrication Productivity Improvement With Tekla, SDS/2 and StruCad

Software programs used for structural steel detailing that can export a .dstv file – Tekla Structures, SDS/2, StruCad and others – can be a great help to structural steel fabricators. How? Modern fabrication machinery can read the .dstv files and extract information used to instruct it where to place a certain feature, like a bolt hole on a structural beam, as well as the dimensions of that feature.

This saves time because the operator doesn't have to program in the locations and details of features to be cut, and it avoids human errors that might cause you to have to scrap a beam.  All-in-all, a pretty good use of BIM design information.

But pretty limited.  After all, fabricating structural beams typically involves more than drilling bolt holes. Using those same .dstv files to tell the fabricating machine where and how to make copes, miter cuts, weld prep bevel cuts, slots and notches would do far more to increase fabrication shop productivity.

The introduction of  the PythonX Structural Steel Fabrication System has made such extensive use of .dstv detail information possible. With PythonX, you download the Tekla Structures .dstv file to the machine control (from a CD, flash drive or over a network connection) and PythonX's on-board software determines the cutting sequence of ALL features while calculating the exact cutting path of the robotic arm that moves the plasma cutting torch around the beam.

These Features Made From .dstv File Info
  • Weld Prep Bevel Cuts
  • Scribe/Piece Marks
  • Complex Copes
  • Notches
  • Slots and Cutouts
  • Structural Bolt Holes
  • Cut-to-Length & Miter

One-Touch Automation Of Your Entire Fab Shop

Let's say you have multiple pieces of CNC fabrication equipment that can read Tekla or StruCad .dstv files. Your beam drill line, your coping robot and your plate line can all take advantage of their ability to translate detail files into machine instructions. BUT THEY EACH DO SO SEPARATELY!  That means you read the file into three different machine controls, three different times, because none of these 'traditional' machines can individually make all the cuts needed for the beam.

PythonX is completely unique in that it can produce all the needed features in a single pass! Each feature shown in the table on the right can be produced extremely quickly and accurately by PythonX. It reads the Tekla .dstv file once, and the structural beam, channel, HSS, angle or plate can be completely fabricated and ready for fitup, welding or painting. There's no need to move it to another machine and, no need to read the .dstv file a second or third time.

That's how PythonX, coupled with Tekla or SDS/2 detailing files, can "Squeeze the Cost Out of Structural Fabrication" like no other machine on the market.

next generation structural steel beam fabrication reads Teklsa dstv files

How One PythonX Replaces A Shop Full Of Traditional Fabrication Equipment

PythonX processes a much wider variety of structural shapes than any competing 'automated' fabricating machines like those of Peddinghaus, Ficep or others. From small 3"x3" angle to W36x300 beams 60 feet long, PythonX processes nearly 95% of the structural fabrication shop's typical material requirements.

PythonX can edge cut material up to 2" thick. It can pierce material up to 1.25". And while accuracy is often a challenge with traditional fabrication machines, it's never a problem with PythonX. Parts processed on PythonX maintain 1/32" (0.8 mm) tolerance over their length.

PythonX even compensates for mill spec problems because its torchhead probing feature precisely measures actual dimensions of the beam, feeding the information back to the computer to make adjustments to the cutting path for bent or imperfect shapes. That way, cambered, convex, concave or bent shapes can be compensated for so the completed workpiece meets dimensional specs.

But don't just take our word for it? We'd like to host a live demonstration of this truly remarkable structural fabrication technology in our showroom or an operating customer's site. Just contact us to set up an appointment, or to receive a free DVD showing you the system's full capability.

Burlington Automation Corp.   •   905-689-7771
63 Innovation Drive   •   Hamilton, Ontario  L9H 7L8   •   Canada