Sihy Oy is a professional pipe manufacturer based in Naantali, Finland. The manufacturing of demanding industrial pipelines forms the core of Sihy’s operations, which is also supported by performing equipment installations and maintenance work. The customer base comprises major international industrial companies, particularly in the shipbuilding industry as well as the process and petrochemical industries.
The traditional work flow for translating a 3D computer model into pipe spools involves the piping design company creating piping isometric drawings which specify precise dimensions along with a comprehensive list of parts – lengths of pipe, flanges, tees, and other piping components. Using this drawing, a company such as Sihy has everything it needs to make the design a physical reality.
All the steps – cutting, bending, drilling, and preparing the pipe for welding – are defined in the drawing. But extracting this information from a drawing rather than using the data directly is time consuming and leads to errors.
Sihy Oy, a major pipe fabricator in Finland, wanted to move away from paper-based manual workflow to a data-centric, automated one. It wanted to automate data transfer from the 3D model all the way through to its workshop machines and to feed data to the various in-house systems for planning, tracking, and controlling production.
Its customer - the shipyard supplying the drawings - offered to produce the data in electronic format, via the Hexagon PPM PCF format, which is used by Isogen, the industry-leading software for automated piping isometric drawing production and supported by many different piping design systems. Hexagon PPM recently made the PCF format available for use by all software vendors, in a bid to improve industry workflows.
Research by Sihy showed that SmartPlant Spoolgen could process this electronic data automatically and generate the reports and other deliverables needed for its workshop and internal software systems.
Sihy wanted to introduce a data-centric workflow with both pipe cutting and bending production completed without viewing the drawing. All cutting and bending of the pipe should be performed with the numeric control instructions transferred to the machines automatically, so the machine data is generated before the operator needs it. The first viewing of the isometric drawing should be the pipe fitter (who layouts the pipe and attaches fittings in preparation for welding).
Work planning should be sped up so that management can always stay ahead of the workshop. When the pipe shop is busy, no extra man power is required in the work planning department due to the high level of automation.
Spoolgen has been used to automate the receipt and processing of PCF files to generate data files for the workshop machines and to populate workshop planning and tracking systems.
Spoolgen allows fabricators to make minor edits to the data and produce spool drawings. They are not able to edit the design but can add field welds or annotate drawings. Sihy mainly uses the batch processing capability of Spoolgen, which allows each seat of Spoolgen to be extremely productive.
They use Spoolgen to get hold of the 3D geometry of the pipes and transfer to their in-house data base application, Sihy Pipe Cloud. Sihy Pipe Cloud allows the work planner an overview of the current work to make efficient use of the machines by bundling similar pipes together. These bundles form work packs which are electronically transferred to shop floor and the warehouse for picking by using Sihy Pipe Cloud.
Spoolgen can produce an input file for the HGG plasma cutting machines. This is stored in the database to be ready when required. When the operator selects a pipe from the bundle, the instructions are pulled down to the computer driving the cutting machine automatically. The off-line preparation of the machine instructions means that no shop floor programming should be required.
A bending file is also produced by Spoolgen, which is transformed by the bending machine software into the program to drive the bending machine. Again this is supplied to the shop floor so the operator does not need to enter data manually.
“Spoolgen has saved up to 50 percent of the work planning effort. Work planning errors are greatly reduced. Now we are able to scale production up and down easily,” said Kari Hyvarinen, Sihy production manager. “Thanks to the partnership between Spoolgen and the in-house software, we are able to automate the machine tool off line programming, so no shop floor programming is required for our cutting and bending machines.”
Henri Hyvarinen, Sihy CEO, agreed: “Streamlining planning has freed up our management team to improve and grow the business in other areas.”