Cannistraro Relies on Automation to Build MEP Skids in Record Time
On large multiuse building projects, it can take weeks to build the mechanical-room skid on-site. Cannistraro wields great control over the building process by constructing skids off-site at its state-of-the-art facility and introduces even greater efficiency by automating pipe cutting. An added bonus is improved worker safety.
Kevin Thurston, MEP Coordinator, John Moriarty & Associates: This skid behind me is for the M1M2 project at Seaport. This is one of the largest projects in the Seaport area. It’s comprised of three condo towers, two floors of retail space, and three levels of underground parking.
Kelly McNeill; Fabrication Manager, Plumbing; Cannistraro: What makes this project unique is this mechanical-equipment skid was designed in five separate components to all be interlocking. So we have not just the water heaters on the skid, but we have the full mechanical room on the skid, including the overhead piping.
David Sullivan, Fabrication Coordinator, Cannistraro: I started the Seaport M1 skid as a conception and just roughed it out. I made a little bit and manipulated the blocks around to get it to where it fits. From there, it went into a final design and then to fabrication.
McNeill: So the new technology being used on this project is our T-Drill automatic cutter and our T-Drill S-54 machine that will automatically pull Ts and extrude fittings.
The most important part about the label portion of that machine is that you’re eliminating the handwriting that would have to exist. You’re able to cut a bunch of pipe and easily sort it afterwards.
We’re also using [Autodesk] BIM 360 Glue for the guys out on the shop floor to be able to reference the overall design and check measurements for quality control later on.
Thurston: For the prefab assembly, it takes about three to four hours to get it installed and set and ready to start finish-up work. Without prefab, an assembly like this behind me would take about four to six weeks to build on-site.
McNeill: When I started here at Cannistraro, it would take us two weeks to complete a heavy floor of distribution water piping. Now, we have the capability, with this equipment, to be able to cut and prep all this pipe before it gets assembled, within four days.
Michael Warford, Plumbing Fabrication Foreman, Cannistraro: I was actually the guy that was using all those machines probably over a year ago. So I’ve run all those machines, and I know the difference from doing it by hand and running that machine. I think years ago, we were always doing the same thing all the time, and now a lot of new stuff is coming up, so you’re kind of built on change.
Thurston: I see that people tend to get stuck in their old ways. There’s always things changing in every business, but in construction, specifically, the technology that’s being introduced each year will help you overall save time, and that ultimately saves cost.
McNeill: I’m definitely proudest of the team. Nothing makes me happier than to see everybody else smile, the accomplishment of getting such a large-scale project completed on time.