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Interoperability Network Helps Launch NASA ProjectSeptember 3, 2009
At the 2008 Interoperability Network (IN), Luis Torres of The Steel Detailers, Inc. and Graham Forsyth of Vernon Tool came together to help resolve an issue that had been hindering fabrication of the NASA Mobile Launch Base - Launch Complex 39 project at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The project — detailed by The Steel Detailers, Inc. and fabricated by Cocoa Beach, Florida-based Met-Con, Inc. — serves as the mobile launch base for the next generation space shuttle and / or the Ares series rocket.
New Vernon Tool Download, Beta Testing Provide Basis For Collaboration
As part of its normal development cycle, Design Data was in the process of incorporating a Vernon Tool CNC download into its SDS/2 software. When The Steel Detailers called Design Data to discuss the project and determine the best way to export pipes from SDS/2 for fabrication, one of the solutions discussed was the new Vernon Tool download.
Luis agreed to serve as a beta tester for the download by using the new enhancement in a real-world application.
The process of streamlining the software led to Vernon Tool partnering at the IN event, which provided an opportunity for further collaboration between The Steel Detailers, Vernon Tool and Design Data.
Meeting at IN Paves Way to Solution
At IN, Luis, Graham Forsyth and Design Data programmers sat down to determine why CNC exports from SDS/2 into Vernon Tool's WinMPM operating system were not matching. After a software crash course at the conference, they were able to determine that the issue stemmed from WinMPM using the inside radius of the pipe to determine the length and end cuts, while Luis was using SDS/2's measure command to the outside diameter of the pipe. It was also discovered that if the pipe did not have SDS/2 system connections, the CNC download was not supported.
"As a direct result of IN, we were able to figure out what was happening," said Luis.
Following that collaboration, it was confirmed that SDS/2's CNC output was correct and it was providing the data required by WinMPM. Luis was then able to download the CNC data from SDS/2 into the Vernon Tool interface. For those pipes without SDS/2 system connections, Luis used WinMPM and manually inputted the needed information to determine the lengths, copes, saddles, angles, etc. needed to produce the required parts. After the CNC was checked and verified, the weld preps based on the required angles were put into the final CNC file and the Vernon Tool machine did all the required calculations to achieve a correct weld prep.
"Due to the combined efforts between Design Data, Vernon Tool, The Steel Detailers and Met-Con [the fabricator], we realized that the CNC worked flawlessly. Therefore, no pipe wraps were ever created for this project," said Luis.
Improved Interoperability Leads to Enhanced Software, Returning IN Partners
It's because of this project and the work between The Steel Detailers, Met-Con, Vernon Tool and Design Data that SDS/2's Vernon Tool download is where it is today.
And it's because of last year's success at IN that Vernon Tool is returning in 2009.
In addition to Vernon Tool and other returning partners from the inaugural IN, new partners have been added to the event.
>> Look for more articles on the NASA project in future issues of The Connector