Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to your questions for a better understanding on fabrication workflow automation.
Who is PypeServer?
We’re a US-based software company on a mission to make your pipe, hanger, plumbing, electrical, and other fabrication processes more efficient. Our software can control and enhance manual tools, linear positioners, automated saws, pipe profilers, robotic welders, and many others. We typically save our customers a minimum of 20% on labor and 5% on materials.
We don’t just control tools, we also offer plugins and integrations for your BIM or CAD software that makes it easy to get data from your models for fabrication. Finally, we have a Cloud infrastructure to get that data to your tools, monitor your fabrication progress, help your assemblers, and collaborate with others both inside and outside your firm.
Our philosophy is that modern productivity software shouldn’t just be for big companies with big budgets. Our products are affordable, powerful, and easy to use because we keep it simple by focusing on the most important functions people need and little else. We have over 200 satisfied customers and an excellent reputation for customer support.
My tools came with factory software, why should I upgrade them with Lyte or Enterprise?
In addition to running the machine, factory software typically lets you program a part or two and import a few CAD file formats. However, even if you’re using one of those file types it can be cumbersome, error-prone, and time-consuming to get your parts and spools into the machine, nest them, cut them accurately, label them, and track their status.
PypeServer’s solutions are designed to solve all these problems. Both Enterprise for pipe profilers and Lyte for straight cutting come with our free Connect plugins and free Cloud service that make it easy to select parts in your CAD and BIM models, send them to your machines for immediate fabrication, and track cutting progress in real time. We also fully integrate with Revit, GTP STRATUS, MSUITE FabPro, eVolve Mechanical, Trimble SysQue and Connect2Fab, BuildCentrix, Victaulic Tools for Revit, SDS2, Tekla, Codeware COMPRESS, AutoCAD, CADWorx, SolidWorks, SpoolCAD, Acorn/Spoolfab, and others. Our connections to STRATUS, MSUITE, Connect2Fab, and BuildCentrix are API-based and fully bidirectional. Of course, we also support the broadest range of flat file imports in the industry, including PCF/Isogen, PCD, PSVR, CSV, DSTV, STEP, and others.
In addition, both Lyte and Enterprise are intelligent. Enterprise will automatically create properly sized holes for o-lets as well as saddles and holes where pipes intersect, even accounting for non-90 mate angles, centerline offsets, and other challenging situations. When nesting, Enterprise automatically rotates saddles and miters to fit into each other and can nest pipe right up to the chuck or ground clamp to save lots of material with every stick of pipe. Both Enterprise and Lyte can use all your odd-length drops and Lyte can bundle stock so you can cut and label up to 10 hanger components or other thin items in a single operation.
Finally, both Enterprise and Lyte feature flexible and easy to use label printing for parts, drops, and joints. Create new label templates in minutes using our WYSIWYG drag-and-drop label editor, including text, QR codes, and images. Label data can include any of your CAD or BIM model parameters in addition to information generated in PypeServer’s own software.
How much money can I save with Lyte and Enterprise?
With Lyte for your manual tools, TigerStop, RazorGage, Scotchman, or RMT band saw, you’ll typically save a minimum of 20% on labor and 5% on materials at each station.
With Enterprise, it depends on how busy your shop is but there are three main sources of savings:
- elimination of pipe machine programming
- elimination or reduction of weld prep time
- more efficient use of pipe
If you use Enterprise to get spools directly from your CAD or BIM software, your can eliminate take-offs and your machine operator can save 3 to 5 minutes of programming time per part. Similarly, Enterprise’s improved cut quality can save your welders at least a minute per cut in fit-up time or 3 to 5 minutes per part. Assuming an average fully burdened labor rate of $30/hour and a total of 8 minutes saved per part, your shop will save $4 in labor per part. If you cut 250 parts per month, that amounts to about $1000 in labor savings per month. Busier shops and/or higher labor rates realize even greater savings.
Pipe material savings vary a lot depending on the size, type, and volume of pipe you cut. However, Enterprise’s highly optimized nesting algorithms and its ability to nest into your machine’s dead zone commonly result in material savings of 5% or more.
You can get a more accurate savings estimate with Enterprise by using our online ROI calculator:
What machines are compatible with Enterprise?
Enterprise is compatible with machines from Lincoln Electric (Vernon Tool), HGG, Machitech. pre-2020 Watts machines, and most recently Lone Star Cutting Solutions. If you’re purchasing a brand new Lincoln/Vernon, it will come standard with Enterprise. Enterprise is an added-cost option for other brands of machines.
If you’re interested in upgrading an existing machine with Enterprise, it’s relatively simple. Enterprise is compatible with most any machine from Machitech and Lone Star. It’s also compatible with both the current generation Lincoln/Vernon VMD machines (serial numbers 7000+) as well as the prior generation VP machines (serial numbers 6211-6999).
If you’re interested in upgrading a pre-2020 Watts machine with Enterprise, please contact PypeServer. Between our software and the mechanical and electronic upgrades available from our partners, we can bring your older Watts machine up to better-than-new performance for a fraction of the cost of a new machine.
How is Enterprise set up to work with my pipe machine?
Enterprise runs on a small, dedicated server computer that’s typically placed near your pipe profiling machine for use by your machine operator. Both the Enterprise computer and your pipe profiling machine are networked together. After selecting which parts are to be cut and nesting them, Enterprise will write a control file to the machine computer. The file is selected for processing, the torch is positioned, and the parts are then cut in a single operation.
By joining Enterprise to your company network, any authorized user in your design office or elsewhere on your network can run Enterprise remotely without having to go down to the shop floor. This is convenient if you want your designers to be responsible for pulling spools into Enterprise and/or nesting the parts before cutting.
Does Enterprise require internet access?
No. For maximum reliability Enterprise runs locally on its own computer and doesn’t require internet connectivity, not even for its extensive built-in help catalog of videos and documents.
We do recommend that you connect Enterprise to the internet, if available, for troubleshooting, software updates, license renewals, and Cloud access.
What's included with my annual fees?
The annual fees includes the following:
- software updates
- additional training and support as necessary, and
- support for all PypeServer-supplied computer hardware.
How do you support your customers?
PypeServer has dedicated customer support personal available Monday through Friday from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm Pacific time. We also provide an online support service that can be accessed at https://portal.pypeserver.com.
Do you offer additional training after the initial installation?
Yes. PypeServer will provide as much time as needed, within reason, to ensure your machine operators and VDC staff are proficient with our products. If you need to train new employees or otherwise need additional support, just let us know and we’ll provide it at no extra charge.
What if I want to change the options I license for PypeServer Enterprise?
No problem, you can change your options at any time. For example, it’s quite common for shops to bring in Enterprise and set it up to work with their CAD software prior to transitioning to a BIM system. Enterprise can be configured to operate with one or the other or both systems at the same time to support a more gradual transition. Licenses can be changed with just a phone call and any fee changes are pro-rated to your renewal date.
What products does PypeServer offer?
PypeServer currently offers four main software products:
- Enterprise software to control pipe profiling machines from Lincoln Electric (Vernon Tool), Lone Star Cutting Solutions, HGG, Machitech, and pre-2020 Watts models.
- Lyte software to control linear positioners and saws from TigerStop, Scotchman, RazorGage, Kentucky Gauge, and Revolution Machine Tools (RMT). We also have an even lower-cost version of Lyte for TigerStop’s SawGear Touch and any manual tool.
- Connect is our collection of plug-ins for Autodesk’s Revit, AutoCAD MEP, Fabrication CADmep, Plant 3D, and Inventor Tube & Pipe, as well as Allplan’s SDS2. PypeServer Connect makes it easy to fabricate directly from your design model, just select the parts you want to make and send them to your tools without the need for machine programming. All of our Connect plug-ins are free for anyone running PypeServer-driven tools and you can get them from the Autodesk App Store and the SDS2 Toolbox.
- Cloud is our online service for two-way data transfer between our Connect plug-ins and your PypeServer-driven tools. Cloud also lets you see job progress in real time, view spools in 3D, collaborate with others both inside and outside your organization, and monitor productivity metrics. Our Cloud web portal also gives you access to product support, training resources, and an online store for our products and renewals. Cloud is free for anyone running PypeServer-driven tools.
We also sell Microsoft Surface tablets in industrial housings that are pre-configured with Lyte, as well as Zebra label printers.
What is PypeServer Connect?
PypeServer Connect is the catch-all name for our plug-ins for Autodesk’s Revit, AutoCAD MEP, Fabrication CADmep, Plant 3D, and Inventor design software. We also offer a version of Connect for Allplan’s SDS2 software for structural design. All versions of Connect work similarly and make it very easy to select pipe spools, hangers, plumbing, and lots of other model content for fabrication and get it to your machines with all the information necessary to accurately cut and assemble.
Connect lets you map project properties to PypeServer properties so any property in your model can be printed on a part label or used in a QR code. Connect also has functions that overcome fabrication limitations in your modeling software, including the ability to convert weld, tee, and elbow fittings into fabricated pipe, modify bevel angles and root gaps based on end conditions, and round-up hanger rod and strut lengths so you bundle them for cutting. When you’re all done and ready to fabricate, Connect can send your cut lists directly to our Cloud or can save them locally as a PypeServer-native file.
The latest addition to the Connect family is the PypeServer Connect Cloudinator. The Cloudinator can send your legacy CAD output files in PCF, PCD, PSVR, CSV, and other formats and send them to our Cloud so you can enjoy all its benefits, outlined below. Between PypeServer Lyte for your manual tools and the Cloudinator for your CAD files, any shop can enjoy a modern, efficient workflow with a minimum of investment.
What are the benefits of using the PypeServer Cloud?
The benefits of the Cloud are many, including:
• instantaneous transmission of cut lists from your BIM or CAD model to your machines
• instantaneous transmission of cut status from your machines back to a web dashboard and to your BIM or CAD software, so you’ll always know what’s been fabricated in real time
• shop managers can send specific cut lists to specific machines, if desired
• tracks unique part IDs to ensure that nothing’s accidentally cut twice and your machines are always working with the most up-to-date design
• includes a full 3D assembly viewer from any phone, tablet, or web browser
• transmits joint information to automated welders directly from the BIM or CAD model using QR-coded end labels
• supports workgroups so in-house or third-party design and fabrication partners can easily send or receive designs for fabrication
• all machine activity can be tracked to monitor productivity and consumable usage over time
• isolates your machines from your company network, which greatly reduces their IT security risk
The concerns most commonly raised about using the Cloud are:
• internet access is required on the shop floor
• fabrication part data and production metrics are transmitted offsite
• fab shop operations are potentially vulnerable to Cloud outages
PypeServer addresses these concerns in several ways:
1. PypeServer recommends that critical internet connections use Ethernet rather than WiFi. Ethernet is much less vulnerable to interference from plasma cutting torches, welding torches, and large electrical equipment.
2. PypeServer isolates each customer’s accounts from each other with password security and within each account, different users can have different levels of access. Further, PypeServer encrypts all fabrication data that’s sent through its cloud service.
3. PypeServer’s Cloud system is built on top of Amazon Web Services for high reliability. For those rare occasions when the Cloud or shop internet service is potentially unavailable, all of our software is capable of using standard flat files.
Can I use Enterprise and Lyte with more than one CAD/BIM package at a time?
Yes. You can use multiple CAD or BIM tools and configure Enterprise and Lyte to accept data from all of them. PypeServer products are designed to easily adapt as you upgrade or change your design software over time (e.g. adding BIM software, changing Revit plug-ins, etc.) and scale up as your shop grows and adds new machines.
How much down time should I expect during Enterprise installation?
The downtime for your pipe profiling machine is limited to the time it takes to get it on your network, if it isn’t already, and to set up a shared network folder for Enterprise’s command files. These tasks will typically take your computer support person just a few minutes and they can be done prior to installing Enterprise whenever the pipe profiler isn’t active.
It takes about 30 minutes to physically assemble the Enterprise stand-up desk and computer. Once that’s done, the computer is connected to your network and given access to the pipe profiler’s shared network folder. These tasks don’t impose any downtime on the machine and even after everything is set up, the pipe profiler’s factory software will continue to function as a backup.
How much does PypeServer charge for its products and services?
Lyte for TigerStop, RazorGage, Kentucky Gauge, Scotchman, and other machines costs $150/month or $1500/year. Lyte for manual tools or the TigerStop SawGear Touch costs $100/month or $750/year.
Lyte can run directly on the Windows computer built-in to your TigerTouch module, TigerSaw, or RazorGage, in which case there’s no need to buy a separate computer. If you need a computer, most any Windows 10/11 laptop or Surface tablet will run Lyte well. PypeServer can also supply Surface Tablets pre-configured with Lyte, including all the hardware needed to mount it and connect it to your machine plus a one year license, for $2500-$3500, depending on configuration.
Enterprise is priced in two ways, depending on your preferences and needs.
Enterprise Option 1 is to purchase the hardware, software, and remote installation/training via an up-front charge that includes the first year of licensing for $15K-$25K, depending on configuration. After there first year, there’s an annual fee of approximately $4K for licensing, updates, and support.
Enterprise Option 2 is a lease plan at $10K per year for a minimum of 5 years.
The PypeServer Connect plugins are free for anyone using Lyte or Enterprise.
The PypeServer Cloud is also free for anyone using Lyte or Enterprise.
Pricing for our products can be found on the PypeServer Portal once you create an account.
What if I replace my Enterprise-equipped pipe profiler?
Because Enterprise runs with its own dedicated computer and communicates with your pipe profiler over the network, it’s simple and relatively inexpensive to transfer an existing Enterprise installation to a different machine.
How many sites are running PypeServer software?
PypeServer is installed at approximately 200 sites.