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A demonstration of fabrication estimating software for plate and sheet metal.

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Across the top is an option to choose between austenitic (the 18/8 series such as 304 or 316) or duplex stainless steel, or mild steel. Leave that for now, the formulae will default to austenitic stainless.


5 in Material cost, 15 in Margin and 50 in Labour rate.
You have set the defaults for the "worksheet"
a. in Component, 10 for Thick(ness), 500 for Width, 1000 for Length, 1 as the Number (off)
The weight and price of the material has been calculated, both for this component and the whole worksheet. Ignore the Override $/kg at this stage but see Note1 below*.


For this exercise, enter 1 for a simple mark and cut process.
(Note but ignore the override hrs just now)
This is a smart bit. A trifle complex like its name, but when mastered it will bring some of the power of computing to your quoting. The effect on suggested man hours depends somewhat on the "density" of the work pieces but as a starting point, for thicknesses between say 2.0mm and 25.0mm, a factor of 1 approximates to a basic, rectangular, mark and cut process. 10 is a complex shaped component requiring deforming, welding and reforming, a dome end for example. Therefore, halfway between, 5 is an average overall for say a tank, that includes the simple coil-based barrel and the more complex cone or dome ends.
Note that suggested hours have been calculated and added to the component price and the whole sheet, and that a job start-up time has been included in the total hours. This will be added to, as more components are defined, consequently the hours increase. The increase however, is less significant, once the job has been initiated...as you might expect. Note the increase when the second component has been defined.

Next line enter-  

b. as the Component, 1.6 for Thickness, 500 for width, 6250 for Length, 1 the Number and 1 for Complexity.
Have you noticed anything unexpected?
The material is the same at 40kgs and it is the same mark and cut process, yet the hours are double at 1.5
At 6¼ meters long, versus just 1 meter, this second component is a more difficult work-piece to handle. It will definitely need two men to manipulate and handle for a start.
This feature however, generates possibly exaggerated results when extended into an unusual range. For instance, if the thickness is 1.0mm and the length 10000mm the hours jump to 5¾. Some have argued that not to be unreasonable, because it would be a very difficult piece to handle without damaging. True, but a workshop that took on such work might be expected to have special equipment. It is just a quirk that formula create and Quote-Genii© users need to be aware of, if using it to venture a little outside the norm. And show me an estimator that wont override the suggested hours anyhow! Good estimators are made that way.
At least you will now have a consistent basis upon which to remain master of your own destiny.


The Number column is also used for length units such as 10 meters, feet or whatever. This is for materials like pipe etc so that if either the Thickness, Width or Length columns are left blank, the formula will use the quantity in the Number column and extend it at the $/unit rate in the next column if the $/unit rate has been entered. The other use of the $/kg or $/unit column is to override the default material cost when all the dimensions are entered, to accommodate components of different materials to the main bulk of the job. This may all sound confusing at first but it soon becomes clear with use. The main point is, if that column contains anything, the component on that line will be extended at that rate.

Other things worth noting are the reported mix of labour and materials in the price, as well as the works profit per man hour. Useful information if asked to trim your price to match someone who is still just using a dart board as a calculator.

Finally, for this exercise, take a note of the suggested hours for either component and change the Number off to 5 and then 10. They are not simple linear multiples, and neither would they be. Many years ago, a senior engineer in the firm, told me that the reason the very desirable (then) model Jaguar motor car was named Mark7 was because that was the number at which fabrication efficiency peaked.
I could never get that confirmed by the way. If you know whether it's true or not, would you email me please.

Not shown on this demonstrator is a background monitor that flashes a warning if the hours fall outside a set of expected parameters...if you didn't notice a dart completely missing the dartboard. You can of course ignore it...there may be good reason.

Feel free to email me for any further information. The address is also on the Home Page.

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