PypeServer’s Cloudinator brings the cloud to SpoolFab
May 7, 2024
Written by PypeServer

About SpoolFab

SpoolFab, formerly known as Acorn Pipe, is a leading isometric drawing and pipe spooling software package. Whether drawing from scratch directly within the software or visualizing imported IDF or PCF files, SpoolFab facilitates the rapid generation of piping isometric drawings. After the drawings are generated, SpoolFab can export the spools as PCD files that PypeServer’s Enterprise software can import for cutting with compatible pipe profilers.

In the early 2000’s, sending computer files to a pipe profiler was a state-of-the-art workflow and it’s still in use by many shops. However, in 2024 file-based workflows are not only outdated but risky from an IT standpoint. More modern cloud-based workflows offer numerous efficiency and IT security benefits.

SpoolFab itself isn’t cloud-enabled so PypeServer came up with a fast, easy, and no-cost way to cloud-enable SpoolFab.

Files Seem to Work Fine, So What’s the Problem?

There are two main problems with computer file-based workflows in today’s world.

The first problem is the lack of revision control and inability to get fabrication status and other information back from the pipe profiler as the file is processed, which are a byproduct of the one-way nature of file importing. In order to make sure you’re using the latest version of a part design, prevent accidental double cuts, update status, monitor productivity metrics, and get other modern workflow benefits you need two-way communication between the pipe profiler software and the design model.

The second problem is the IT security risk associated with getting the file to the machine. This is usually done either by putting it on a USB stick or sending it over the network to the pipe profiler computer. USB sticks are notorious vectors for malware and viruses, so many companies ban their use entirely. If instead the pipe profiler computer is put on the company network, the profiler itself becomes a risk because its computer often cannot run anti-virus software or be updated with operating system security patches without affecting its performance.

Both of these problems are solved by using PypeServer’s Cloud enhancement for SpoolFab.

PypeServer’s Cloudinator Brings the Cloud to SpoolFab

SpoolFab itself isn’t cloud-enabled and neither are the pipe profilers, but PypeServer bridges that gap with our Cloudinator application.

PypeServer’s Cloudinator is a lightweight Windows application that reads PCD, PCF, CSV, Excel, PSVR, and other files and uploads their information to PypeServer’s free Cloud Service. Once in the Cloud, material takeoffs and 3D views of the parts and spools are automatically generated so they can be visualized on any phone, tablet, or computer.

Even better, the Cloudinator can transfer the PDF drawings created by SpoolFab and other programs up to the Cloud too, automatically matching them with their corresponding spools, so you can have the familiar 2D drawings to go with the auto-generated 3D drawings. From there, users can effortlessly transfer cut lists to PypeServer-driven pipe profilers and tools using just an internet connection, thereby eliminating manual programming.

Working with the Cloudinator is easy: you can upload files just by dragging them into the Cloudinator window or you can have the application monitor particular directories and upload files automatically as they’re generated by SpoolFab or other programs. If you upload a later revision of a part or spool of one you’ve already uploaded, the PypeServer Cloud will automatically replace the older version.

From Cloud to Cut with PypeServer Enterprise and Lyte

On the receiving end of the Cloud is PypeServer’s Enterprise software for pipe profilers, which is compatible with Vernon Tool (Lincoln Electric), HGG, Lone Star Cutting Solutions, Machitech, and most Watts machines. With Enterprise and the Cloudinator, there’s no need for USB sticks or network file transfers. As the parts are processed by Enterprise, it updates the Cloud with fabrication status, productivity metrics, and other information that can be used to track and improve fabrication efficiency. Once a part status has been set to “cut”, you can’t accidentally send it to the machine again.

After cutting, a wide variety of data can be put on the part labels, including QR codes that link to PypeServer’s 3D Assembly Viewer, URLs for the isometric drawings, or anything else you want. PypeServer’s software also has the ability to produce joint labels that can send weld instructions to robotic welders from Novarc, Rotoweld, and NAP (formerly North Alabama Pipe, now part of ASC).

Whether connecting to automated machines through PypeServer Enterprise or manual workstations via PypeServer Lyte, the Cloudinator ensures seamless transmission of data.  For greater detail on exactly how the process works view our article on how the Cloudinator desktop app works with legacy files

PypeServer Makes it Easy to Get Started Without Shutting Down your Fab Shop or Breaking the Bank

PypeServer offers a seamless integration solution for fabrication shops looking to enhance their workflow without disrupting existing processes or breaking the bank. PypeServer’s Cloudinator ensures smooth data transfer of PCD and PCF files to the Cloud, enabling straightforward transmission of cut lists directly from SpoolFab designs to machines on the shop floor.

Connect with us for a product demo or to start a free trial of PypeServer Lyte, and see how a you can easily get started with a model-to-fabrication workflow in your shop!

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