More efficient integrations with the Tekla PowerFab Open API

Automation of manual steps resulted in 80% time savings

Tekla PowerFab integrates with most machinery in the fabrication shop. The most efficient of these integrations automate communication between Tekla software and fabrication shop's software by utilizing the Tekla PowerFab Open API.

The PowerFab team at Trimble was recently able to compare a workflow with SigmaNest that does not use the PowerFab API with a new workflow made possible with the Tekla PowerFab Feedback tool developed by SigmaNest that uses the PowerFab API.

What the team found was the manual steps by the user for creating a nest in SigmaNest (including sending parts to SigmaNest, creating a nest, and sending results back to PowerFab) were reduced from 10 steps to 5 steps. The steps to update PowerFab once the plate has been cut were reduced from 5 steps to 1 step. So a total user-interaction improvement from 14 to 6 steps. Even better, the steps that are now automated were the more time-consuming steps, like saving and importing reports, resulting in conservative time-savings of 80%!  

Tekla PowerFab - SigmaNest workflow using the plugin developed using the Tekla EPM Open API.

At Haskell Corporation, you only have to press one button

Haskell Corporation was the first to adopt this new plugin. Neal Eaden, who works as a Project Manager / CNC Manager at Haskell Corporation, provided the following feedback:

"We use Tekla PowerFab to manage every single part that is issued to our CNC laser. This allows us to combine parts from many different jobs and orders and still be able to track production, heat documents, manage inventory, get accurate job costing, and track shipments. Prior to the use of Tekla’s API, we were sending and receiving every combining run, and every nest back and forth manually. This gets cumbersome quickly, for example, when you are issuing 12 different nests with different material types to the shop all at once.

There are a lot of moving parts and the integration between these two programs makes it easy!

With the use of Sigmanest’s API and Tekla PowerFab's API, we have created two plugins that do the following with just one button click:

  • Posts all g-code to the machine
  • Sends nest information and remnant information to Tekla PowerFab automatically
  • Updates each appropriate Tekla PowerFab production job with a link to the inventory  (extremely useful when multiple nests reflect multiple jobs in PowerFab)
  • Prints reports useful for the machine operator to run the parts

When the operator completes a nest, the inventory in PowerFab is taken from stock and any relevant remnants are returned to stock in real-time, automatically. Each appropriate Tekla PowerFab production job is then updated with their appropriate TFS production station, so we see real-time production status."