ZEN Industries' March 2014 e-Newsletter 

Robotic Total Stations in MEP Installations

snips magazine“Shooting Your Hangers” at the Speed of Light

In the spring of 2011, St. John’s Mercy Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Missouri was destroyed by a massive tornado. Rebuilding the nation’s sixth largest Catholic health care center presented many challenges, not the least of which was the hospital’s mechanical and plumbing systems, which included complex components for fuel storage, air supply and return, chilled and condensed water, HVAC, plumbing, and piping.

In order to fast-track the loss of such a valuable community resource, planners turned to the use of robotic Total Stations from Trimble.

Using traditional methods, men with ladders and coordination drawings might have spent weeks to months climbing all over the construction site to “shoot the hangers,” marking the positions where HVAC straps, plumbing & electrical hangers, and roofing 3d modeling zen industries meppenetrations were required. Not only would this have been time consuming at best, planners knew it could result in time wasting corrections during the installation phase.

For the St. John’s Mercy Regional Medical Center project, the construction team made use of three Trimble RTS773 units connected to Windows 7 Trimble field tablets as well as two Trimble RTS655 Total Stations linked with Nomad hand-held units.

With Trimble’s automated MEP layout solution, they were able to feed BIM coordination data directly to the Total Stations on-site, pinpointing penetrations and hanger positions with laser accuracy. Because Trimble’s Total Stations are amazingly fast, accurate, and can be operated by a single engineer, layout work proceeded exponentially faster than could have been expected from traditional methods.

Read more about the success of the St. John’s Mercy Regional Medical Center project in the January issue of SNIPS Magazine.

ZEN MEP’s Experience with Robotic Total Stations

ROBOTIC STATION In previous issues we’ve talked about Building Information Modeling (BIM). With BIM, virtually every pipe, conduit, duct, and hanger are digitized and rendered in 3D software.

In the past, no matter how high-tech the coordination drawings, up to 25% of the time installing ductwork on the construction site was taken up marking and placing hangers.

In our experience, using traditional methods, a team of two people can mark about 100 hanger positions per day (or 50 per man). With Trimble’s robotic Total Stations and specialized Field Tablets, ZEN’s digital coordination drawings and 3D BIM modeling can be fed directly to the equipment on-site.

After establishing two zero points, the Total Station uses lasers to precisely locate hanger points. One man can operate the robotic station and mark up to 350 hanger positions in one day. That's an 85% reduction in labor expense per hanger and is 3.5 times more efficient than the traditional method. 

As important, marked positions using the Total Station can be relied on for almost perfect accuracy, dramatically reducing problem solving delays during ductwork, plumbing, and electrical installation.

Realized cost and time savings like these are two of the most important returns on investment any technology can bring to the construction site.

Of course, cutting edge technology solutions like this don’t come cheap. $40K would be a typical investment for a single robotic Total Station and Field Tablet. That said, it is possible to rent this equipment at a reasonable daily rate. Companies like Martin Instruments provide affordable rentals in the $200/day range.

Interested in whether using a Trimble Robotic Total Station is worth it for your project? To satisfy your curiosity, Trimble has developed an online ROI calculator which you can fill with your own information or populate with sample data.

For more on our experiences at ZEN MEP, Contact us today.

Video and Case Studies

Watch the video of the Trimble Field Link for MEP

Trimble MEP has assembled an impressive collection of case studies to show how their Robotic Total Stations are improving layout accuracy and reducing costs worldwide. Follow the links below to learn more.

Want to learn more? Contact ZEN Industries today.

No matter how big or small your project:

No matter how demanding the project, ZEN Industries has the experience and expertise you need.  To learn more, Contact ZEN Industries today!

ZEN Industries provides all or part of your HVAC needs. HVAC ductwork manufactured according to your schedule, meeting 3rd Edition 2005 SMACNA standards. Contact Heather Rodehaver - Business Development Representative at 877-600-0274.

Success in our business is about service.

Success in our business is about service.  The quality of our HVAC duct work is of the highest caliber and our price competitive with the best in the industry. Nonetheless, quality and price are default items today in sheet metal fabrication. They give us access to the playing field. Service is where ZEN Industries Inc. gains its edge, and service means people - it's about our experienced personnel and the relationships we build with each and every customer.

Learn more at www.ZENIndustries.com or at www.ZENMEP.com

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